Last week, my Dell Inspiron 530, which has been working flawlessly since 2009, displayed the message "c:\windows\system32\config\system file is corrupt or missing."
After browsing the 'Net for information, I located my original Dell Operating System Disc (labeled Reinstallation CD, SP3) and was able to re-load the operating system completely and successfully, and even without affecting all my files!
The problem is that not being a full-blown technical wiz, I managed to install a DUPLICATE operating system. One is apparently the original on the C: drive and the other looks to be located on the H: drive, which must be a virtual (partition?) drive.
When I start the computer, a black and white screen appears asking me to select which of the 2 XP systems I want to run. If I select the first one listed, it starts up fine, but my desktop is blank--no shortcuts to my programs and files.
If I select the second one listed, I get the config error message and nada. It looks to me that the second one is the original, still containing the problem, and the first is the one I just newly installed.
Seems to me I don't need to have two systems on the same computer. But I am not sure what to do at this point to rectify the situation. What I'd like to do is to have one operating system that will use the desktop I previously had, along with all the programs.
I'm not sure what to do, can't find consistent information online and I am spooked at the thought of winging it on my own now and possibly screwing things up a lot!
Thanks for your time and attention. Can you help me get this straightened out?