Can I restore c:\windows\system32\config\system

Posted on 2011-04-23
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Upon boot I am getting the error - "system32\config\system is missing or corrupt." I have tried the repair instructions from,, and  I can copy and delete all files except the c:\windows\system32\config\system file. I get a file not found error. Is there a way to restore this file so I can complete this repair?

Thank you!

Question by:RobertEhinger
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    by:Tony Giangreco

    Author Comment

    If you notice, in my initial post I already tried that solution. I can copy and delete everything except the c:\windows\system32\config\system. I get an error that the file cannot be found.
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    by:Tony Giangreco
    If the manual process they outlined does not work, the next process is a reinstall of Windows.
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    The easiest way to fix it is to create a USBC4Win disk. If you do that, you just boot from it and run a built in utility to fix the problem automatically.

    Boot the UBCD4Win disk then click Start>Programs>Registry Tools>Restore to start the utility.

    You can get what you need to make a UBCD4Win disk here.
    LVL 30

    Accepted Solution

    The reason you are getting a "file not found" error is because in MOST cases, the system hive in the repair folder has a .bak extension on it. Rename it to remove the extension to just system, or when you copy it, use the following syntax:

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

    You just remove the .bak extension.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    if you had system restore enabled, you can restore the registry from the snapshts as well..
    try the step by step instructions here.

    I am pasting it here as well.

    C:\WINDOWS] cd \
    C:\] attrib -h-s "system volume information"
    C:\] Cd "system volume information"
    C:\system volume information] cd _resto~1
    ..._resto~1] dir --- this should list several rp folders [short for restore points] just select second to the last or any of your choice other the the last rp folder
    ..._resto~1] cd rp#
    ...rp#]  cd snapshot
    ...snapshot] dir --- the 5 hive files are shown in this format:
    Syntax [Command filename location]
    ...snapshot] copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software
    ...snapshot] copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
    ...snapshot] copy _registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security
    ...snapshot] copy _registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
    ...snapshot] copy _registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default
    ...snapshot] exit
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    can you selct another restore point?
    it should be available then

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