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Window will not load on start up: : "Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM".

Posted on 2010-11-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10


 I need your advice, if I may:  one users computer running windows xp pro 32bit sp3 mysteriously stop working, it is not booting windows on startup and given the error below.

When I start the computer, I get this message: "Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM".

The link below is the relevant "fix".
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307545 (but i really hate to go through this, i'd rather restore to stable previous state.

   I have instructed him to f8 in system bios and restore windows to previous state.   However he is not able to launch f8. He is able to get to f2 and f10 on his hp wx8600.

What are ur thoughts?  Advice?

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Question by:dhidalgo
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by:houssam_ballout
ID: 34104234
Try windows repair:
http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

also in the command prompt for repair , issue the following commands:

fixboot
fixmbr
chkdsk /p
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by:dhidalgo
ID: 34104477
Will try.  Note that I cannot boot windows.  So all works will need to be done in the system bios.  
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by:houssam_ballout
ID: 34104557
of course, you need to run XP boot CD
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by:coronoahcoro
ID: 34104751
Do you have Windows XP installation CD? You can try running Recovery Console first.
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by:dhidalgo
ID: 34104899
To run recovery console,  will this erase documents and programs?
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flubbster earned 250 total points
ID: 34105139
I'm a bit confused. You keep talking about BIOS. This is not a bios issue. You need to try safe mode boot. Keep pressing F8 as soon as you see anything appear on the screen (do a restart or cold boot). If you get the boot menu, select safe mode. If that works, then select system restore.

If you have an xp cd, then use it to boot to the recovery console. You will not lose any files unless you erase them intentionally. Oncer at the c:\ prompt, execute the following commands:

ren c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\system32\config\system.bak
copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system

NOTE: Sometimes the system file located in the repair folder has a .bak extension. this must be removed when copying it. If you get a file not found error during the copy process, then rename the file before copying, like so:

ren c:\windows\repair\system.bak c:\windows\repair\system

now try to copy it again as above. If successful, boot to safe mode and do a full system restore from there.
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by:coronoahcoro
ID: 34105533
"To run recovery console,  will this erase documents and programs?"

No

And flubbster instruction is really detailed. you should try that.
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by:noxcho
ID: 34106344
Get a copy of this Paragon Rescue Kit Free: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/rk-express/
Download the file - run it - let it burn the CD.
Boot XP machine from this CD - Normal Mode - File Transfer Wizard.
Get all you need copied out from this drive to USB drive.
Then run repair as instructed in your link.
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Assisted Solution

by:johnb6767
johnb6767 earned 250 total points
ID: 34107160
This is a method to manually restore the registry hives in question.....

I personally dont like using the hives from C:\Windows\Repair, as they can make the machine inaccessible for a login.... Its the reg backups from the first time the machine was booted.....

U can use the below to recover just the 1 hive, or all the major ones..... But the key, as stated above, is to get in well enough to do a full system restore.....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Either slave the hard drive into another PC, or use a USB adapter for it, or take a look at burning one of these below tools (UBCD4WIN is ready to burn once it is downloaded). It gives you a Windows Graphical environment to make these changes...

Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

UBCD4Win
http://www.ubcd4win.com

Boot to one of those utilites above, and go to the a43 Explorer utility. Navigate to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.

Rename the following files....DO NOT DELETE THEM....

Rename system to system.old
Rename software to software.old
Rename sam to sam.old
Rename security to security.old
Rename default to default.old

Go into the "System_Volume_Information" folder (if you get a "Access Denied", right click the folder and select the Security Tab, and once you highlight Everyone at the top, select "Full Control" in the bottom. )
Select the "Restore Folder"
Then you will see folders with RP50, RP51 etc... Look for the highest number, as it is the newest one. Go into that folder and copy the following files to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.

registry_machine_system
registry_machine_software
registry_machine_security
registry_machine_sam
registry_user_.default

Now, go back to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.

Remove the "registry_machine_" from the 5 files you just copied.

Restart the machine, and remove the bootable disc you were using....

If it boots successfully, go to "System Restore" in the Help menu, and do a full restore to a few days back.... This will ensure that all of the files are restored to the proper restore point, not just the registry files you fixed....

Of course, if you just want to go through this process with just the SYSTEM file, you can do it by itself if you want. If you still get the error, or a Blue Screen of Death upon the next boot, simply go back and redo the other 4 files....
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