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Missing System32, Won't boot, Repair Console doesn't see drive

Posted on 2011-02-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,
I have a Dell XPS M1330 running XP pro SP3. It will not longer boot. It starts and goes to a black screen saying Windows cannot start because WINDOWS/SYSTEM32/CONFIG/SYSTEM  is missing or corrupt. I have tried the repair console and it doesn't see the drive even though it is in the Bios and it reads fine as an external drive hooked up to another PC. Is it possible to get this drive to boot any longer without destroying the data that is on the drive?
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Question by:Hevyman
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by:AriMc
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It's possible through a long procedure:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

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JPetersen92020 earned 500 total points
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Very possible. The only thing is why has the drive done this? Most likely the drive is done for. Run a few tests on it with some simple tools available online for free. Then, better than trying to get the OS to start again on that drive, you should get a new drive and swap it out. While the drive is out you can get yourself a cable that converts the IDE/SATA to USB for about 15$ US. That is as long as the drive isnt completely done for. I get a lot at geeks.com. With this cable you can hook up the drive and get the data from it. A new drive will help the machine run like new (as long as you have restore discs). Restoring is easy with the discs. Put it in the CD drive and when rebooting either press F2 to go to setup and set the first boot priority to CD/DVD, or just press F9 or F12 (cant remember exactly) to go to the boot menu.

Hope this helps.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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Reason your Recovery Console doesn't see the drive is because XP doesn't have the driver for the controller it is hooked up to.  

http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=19599&keyword=965&lang=eng

You will need to download the driver, and load the driver from floppy at the F6 prompt after booting to the Windows CD.  Since you probably don't have a floppy drive on your 1330, use nLiteOS.com to integrate the driver into your installation files and create a new CD to boot from.  Then you can proceed with repairs from Recovery Console.
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by:Hevyman
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AirMc- I can't get the recovery console to start at all so that won't work.
JPetersen- Do you know of any of those tools that I can use?
Poweredge- I found the link on the nLiteOS.com website. How do I integrate the driver into your installation files and create a new CD to boot from?
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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Run nLite ... it is very self-explanatory.  It will prompt you for your XP disk so it can copy the files from the disk to a folder, then when you tell it you want to add a driver, it will ask for this driver.  Choose "multiple driver files", select all of them that it presents you with, then choose TextMode.  When it is done, it will ask you if you want to burn the new image to a CD.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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There are also some good step by step instructions on nLite's site - if nLite is not self-explanatory enough.
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by:edbedb
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It's much easier to create a USBC4Win disc. If you do that, you just boot from it and run a built in utility to fix the problem automatically.

You can get what you need to make a UBCD4Win disk here.
http://www.ubcd4win.com/downloads.htm
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by:sjklein42
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Check the CMOS battery.  Sounds like the SATA BIOS settings got reset.
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by:willcomp
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I agree with edbedb that a UBCD4Win CD is the preferred approach. It has a registry repair tool but I have seen the tool remove all the restore points. It usually works, but, when it doesn't, you may be out of luck.

The problem is a corrupt System hive in the Registry. You can replace only the System hive using thes instructions:

Boot from a UBCD4Win CD and use the a43 file manager for manipulating files. Here are the basic steps:

1. rename c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM to c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.bak

2. Navigate to the System Volume Information folder.

This folder contains one or more _restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".

There may be one or more folders starting with "RPx under this folder. These are restore points.

3. Open one of these folders to locate a Snapshot subfolder. The following path is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:  C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot

4. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following file to the c:\windows\system32\config folder
 _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM

5. Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM

6. Exit UBCD4Win and reboot.
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by:JPetersen92020
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Here is the tool (free) from seagate called seatools. Run a diag on your drive to be sure it'll hold on.

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seatools
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by:Hevyman
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bad hard drive
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