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unable to start windows windows folder is empty

I am in a process of building an old box with windows XP.  Upon reboot, I got the message "Unable to start, missing file blabla\system32\ntoskrnl.exe.

I used a WinPE CD and was able to verify the C:\windows folder.  At first the folder was empty (???) the I looked at the property and found that all files where there but with a "read only" attribut.  I removed the attribut but when I rebooted normaly the problem dide not go away.

What should I do?
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Alain_Henri
Asked:
Alain_Henri
3 Solutions
 
MikeIT ProfessionalCommented:
Can you do a windows repair installation?
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residentsCommented:
If you have a Windows XP CD you could boot to that, press 'R' for the recovery console and when that comes up (login if there is a password with the administrators password) and try doing 'chkdsk /r' This will run a full check disk on the hard drive, once that is finished reboot and try to load windows. If that does not work you may need to boot off the CD again, this time press enter to install and then choose R to repair an installation of windows and proceed to repair install.

If you are feeling bold, skip the repair install, go back to the recovery console and try this:

First know the drive letter of your CD/DVD drive, let's pretend its D:

At the recovery console prompt type 'expand D:\i386\ntoskrnl.ex_  C:\windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe

This should expand a new copy off the CD into place of the current one listed there. This may get your back up and running. If not I would resort to a repair installation.
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residentsCommented:
Another thing to keep in mind, this could be (but is not always) an indication of a failing hard drive.
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houssam_balloutCommented:

Did you try the windows repair:
http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
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Alain_HenriAuthor Commented:
I am doing a chkdsk right now.  I wait for the result and let you know.

Thanks for the help.
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Alain_HenriAuthor Commented:
The chkdsk has completed successfully and the system rebooted with only minor problem.  Then the system did not reboot, I was able to start in SAFE mode.  When rebooted it failed again.  I think I will try the "repair" solution to see if it make any difference.

I believe that I will buy a new hdd just in case.

Thanks for the help again.  As usual you are always there when it counts.  Let you know the outcome.
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Alain_HenriAuthor Commented:
You are always there for us, thanks again.
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