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Windows could not start on a parallels desktop VM on a Mac (and I can't get windows repair to run)

Posted on 2012-12-22
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Last Modified: 2012-12-27
I am running Parallels Desktop 6 on my Mac Book Pro.  I have a windows xp vm that all of a sudden is giving me the following message upon start up:

windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
\windows\system32\config\system

You can attempt to repair this file by starting windows setup using the original setup cd-rom
select 'r' at the first screen to start repair

I have inserted the xp start up disk and get into the repair screen by hitting r.  It comes up to the following prompt: (screen shot #1)

1: C:\windows
which windows installation would you like to log onto (to cancel, press ENTER):  

It won't let me arrow up to highlight the 1 or let me type in a 1.  If you notice in the screenshot, towards the bottom of the screen it says:
to select non-default keyboard layout press ENTER now (5)

I have tried hitting enter, return, alt-enter a number of combinations but I can't get a keyboard layout to come up that would then hopefully allow me to enter in the number of the windows installation I want.  I googled this and it should allow me to select a layout.  I have hooked up a PC USB keyboard to teh Mac in hopes of it working better with the VM but it behaves the same.  I hit enter and then it cancels the repair and then blue screens with a registry error.

So I need some big time advice on what to try next?  i have spent numerous hours researching this but haven't found anything that works.  Any and all advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!
John
Screen-shot-2012-12-22-at-8.32.1.png
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Question by:laker_42
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LVL 117
ID: 38716352
it would appear either the registry or disk is corrupted.

can you start in Safe Mode, or Load Last Know Good Configuration?
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Author Comment

by:laker_42
ID: 38716355
I tried load last good configuration once and it didn't work.  I haven't been able to get the menu to select safe mode to come again.  Can't get f8 pressed fast enough before it goes to the original message I posted.  I didn't know if there was a trick to get parallels to bring up this menu or slow down the boot up window to allow me pressing f8.  Haven't found anything yet.

Since this is a registry error, would safe mode even work?
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Author Comment

by:laker_42
ID: 38716382
Just came across another option I am going to try.  Creating a new vm and then mounting the old vm file to the new vm as a second hard drive.  I should then be able to recover the files that I need.  I will give it a shot and see how it goes.  Would still welcome any other options.

Thanks!
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Accepted Solution

by:
laker_42 earned 0 total points
ID: 38716474
Was just able to fix this.  Followed these steps to fix:

1.  Created new VM
2.  Added old HDD as hard drive #2.
3. copy e:\windows\repair\system e:\windows\system32\config\system
copy e:\windows\repair\software e:\windows\system32\config\software
copy e:\windows\repair\sam e:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy e:\windows\repair\security e:\windows\system32\config\security
copy e:\windows\repair\default e:\windows\system32\config\default
4.  Shut down the new VM
5.  Restarted the old VM and voila, it started up!!!

Man am I breathing easier now!  Hopefully this may help someone else in the future.
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Author Closing Comment

by:laker_42
ID: 38723211
I was finally able to figure out how to solve this issue after way too many hours spent on this.
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