Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt windows\system

Ok, I have an older Windows 2003 server that was caught in a power outage and now won't boot.  It is just a member server and holds mainly a SQL database for Dynamics GP (I do have backups, but I would like to make a go of not having to restore it).  

I have the windows cd that I can boot from, but the cd doesn't have drivers for my RAID card.  When I push f6, it wan'ts a floppy (which the system does not have).  I do have a USB floppy, and before I go out and actually buy floppies, will this work as the "A" drive?

Then I pretty much want to boot in the windows cd, press f6, load my driver, then run the normal steps off the Recovery console to recover my system hive.

Any one try this before or is there a better way to do this?
dell SC 1430
LVL 9
tsaicoAsked:
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John-Charles-HerzbergCommented:
This might help.

http://weblogs.asp.net/jkey/archive/2005/08/28/installing-windows-on-a-sata-drive-without-the-bloody-f6-floppy.aspx

Installing Windows on a SATA drive without the bloody F6 floppy

..or "How to do a Slipstream Install of Windows"

Today I bought a tiny Shuttle server to get myself up to speed on VSTS. The mainboard supported SATA, so I picked up a 200 GB SATA Maxtor to go with it ($99 after rebate!). But no floppy. I refuse. If Vista-era Windows doesn't support non-floppy F6 installs I will switch to whatever the anti-M$FT Windoze dopes are using.

The only reliable way I could find to get the SATA drivers installed without a floppy was to do a slipstream install. I've installed Windows millions of times (seriously), but I've never done a slipstream. Finding the right information took far too long, so bookmark this page. Here's the information you need:

Slipstreaming VIA Serial ATA drivers

Creating a bootable Windows CD with Nero (The first and second screenshots were most valuable. I didn't bother with the rest.)

Good luck!

Update: I should proof-read before posting. I didn't say how or why slipstreaming helped. Tthe drivers from the F6 floppy are slipstreamed into the Windows install CD and the drives are automagically recognized during setup.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Personally, i found it ultimately cost me and my company less money to get a stupid floppy drive from a junked PC and pick up some floppies at a grocery store (I find it hard to believe you don't have some old floppies somewhere in a junk drawer or inside some shrink wrapped media) ... then it was to slipstream.

Slipstream is great, but with drivers i found that sometimes you don't get the right files and then you have thrown away a few hours or even a day messing with it.

They fixed the driver issue in Win7, so you can use a USB stick.  Until then, just get yourself a plain-jane floppy if you want a sure thing.

P.S. I can't speak for whether or not a USB floppy will work, but I know it did NOT work on a older Dell 1U server of mine, so I ended up having to plug in a floppy controller, taping down a microswitch so it would boot,  and running a frankencable so I could get the O/S installed.

I had a no-name clone work with a USB floppy drive on Vista, so best I can say is that the only guarantee is a non-USB attached floppy.
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tsaicoAuthor Commented:
Well, just learned you can use a USB floppy on a Dell PowerEdge SC1430.  I was able to load the RAID drivers during the Windows CD boot and found the Windows Installation to begin my repair.

As a side note, I had called around to local Staples, Best buys, Office Max, mom and pop computer stores, no one had floppy media.  I looked all over, nothing.  Then as a hail mary, remembering the comment on the grocer, I looked there and nothing, but the local Rite-Aid had them.  I had a bunch, but never used them in 5 or more years, and tossed them out last spring...  So dlethe gets the majority of the points...
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Thanx -- if you are an old-timer like me, you probably have a bunch of those old AOL 100-hour floppies in the attic;  or if you are really old like me, you can show your kids an 8" floppy and watch them tell you it is fake, no such thing.
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Windows Server 2003

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