Windows XP Registry Problem

Got the lovely message:

"The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate"

Of course I haven't backed the registry up.  That takes work.  Or made a system restore point.  That takes more work.  And I've never had to restore a registry before in my life.  See that's good IT work right there.

Have read the following article at and the questions are based on that.

Have booted into the recovery console and identified correct drive and folders.  Now for the questions.  

Can't make a directory using md or mkdir.  Don't really need to make a directory but someone might know why this is so for knowledge purposes.

Have verified that I have a repair registry (\WINDOWS\REPAIR\) when I created Windows XP so I can copy those across but noted that in \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\ I have *.bak files from 10 days ago.  Can I use these for my registry files rather than using the files from \WINDOWS\REPAIR\ ?  Two or three of the bak files seem to be the same as those with no bak.  The other bak files have wildly different sizes.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
So md /?  does not work?  or it works and you cannot make a directory because of some other problem?

I thought you could do a Windows Repair from the XP CD. Have you tried this?  Or has this stalled to where you are now?

Can I use these for my registry files rather than using the files from \WINDOWS\REPAIR\ ?  ..... other bak files have wildly different sizes.

I thought you had to use the files from Windows Repair.
Personally, I would use something like UBCD4Win --------

They both contain registry restore utilities and can boot a failed system to recover it.

UBCD4WIN needs a Windows XP cd with at least sp1 or sp2.

Ahhhhh... my bad. Forgot about that.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
No Problem. Happy to correct the post.  Thanks.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
If you never specifically went to Control Panel and disabled System Restore, there should be Restore Points totaling up to 10% of the drive (the default allocation.)

In that case you could do an Offline System Restore.

XP System Restore controls

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dbruntonAuthor Commented:
>>  So md /?  does not work?  or it works and you cannot make a directory because of some other problem?

md doesn't work.  Error message of Access not allowed or something else like that.  But I can still copy, delete, and rename which are the functions I need.  Just curious as to why I can't make directories.

For help in Recovery Console you type help.

>>  I thought you could do a Windows Repair from the XP CD. Have you tried this?  Or has this stalled to where you are now?

No, I'm up to the Windows Repair from the XP CD.  I can navigate to the drives and folders concerned but I can see I have bak files.  I can see the System, Sam, Security, Software and Default hives which have a current date.  But there are also System.bak, Sam.bak, Security.bak, Software.bak, Default.bak files from 10 days ago.  Two of these bak files are the same size as the standard hives.  The other three are different.

So I'm thinking my system has made a copy of the hive files (these are the bak files from 10 days ago).

So I'm curious as to whether I can use these instead of grabbing the files from the REPAIR folder.  Someone may have been down this way before.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
MD does not work indicates something more serious with your system because it is such a simple DOS shell command.

Is it a big deal to recover the data from the disk and rebuild the system?
dbruntonAuthor Commented:
>>  In that case you could do an Offline System Restore.

Will investigate.  Merci.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
>> Will investigate.  Merci.

Je vous en prie.  Anything for a steady customer.
you can use those bak files, if you rename them
i suggest first to make a copy of the originals - as they are, or move them into another directory

if you need to work with either version of windows - the best is DARTS (not free)

download :
dbruntonAuthor Commented:

Used the backup files I'd found to create proper hive files by removing the bak extenstion from them.  Stuffed up the SAM hive restore (don't delete SAM.bak file, delete the SAM file - me is stupid) but that didn't matter 'cause the system booted OK anyway.  Found an extra login icon (ASP.NET) on logon page but hid that using registry entry.

Tried System Restore after that to go back to an April date but System Restore said "Nope, not possible".

Ran chkdsk to fix minor disk errors.  Ran Windows update and it downloaded some items.

So now I have a working XP box again.  Apps seem to work.  Steam works, games can be played.

Points to DrKlahn as I learned a few things today.

Now to fire up ERUNT and backup the hive files.
well  - renaming the bak files is just what i said above
strange i got no credit
dbruntonAuthor Commented:

Your comment wasn't there when I posted.  I'd already done the job and finished all of the tidying up.

Had already downloaded an evaluation copy of DART as well but that's play for another day.
no problem  - but i posted it 4-5 minutes before yours
i can't jump in faster, since i'm in another time zone...
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