Help!!! \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

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tce

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Hello,

I was using my laptop last night until it ran out of battery and went into hibernate mode. When I tried to turn on my computer this morning, it didn't work and instead this appeared on top of the black screen.

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 am completely cluesless right now. I don't know whether to reinstall the operating system or not. Is there a way to not lose all the files or an easy way to get it back to work? Thanks so much in advance.
 
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Yes those are instructions for a "repair" reinstall -- it will not normally cause loss of data -- but all Windows updates will have to be reinstalled. The instructions are somewhat misleading, in that you may end up in the recovery console if you press 'r' at the wrong place.

It requires an XP CD for the installed operating system.

Clearer instructions available here:

http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

There is another method of addressing this problem -- but it is somewhat tricky and DOES involve using the recovery console; you might be better off with the reinstall if you are not confident of your experience level.
 
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tce said:
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.
That's a registry hive file. Sometimes the repair/reinstall routine won't recognize the operating system as XP if the system hive is corrupt (it does recognize that it is an operating system, though) and instead of offering to repair an existing XP installation, you'll get a caution about installing two operating systems in the same partition.

If you get that warning, I would suggest that you abort the installation, because you'll be making a bigger can of worms.
 

tce

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Thank you for your advices. I haven't tried Rollin'Rog's suggestion yet. It seems a little complicated. But to bbearren, what do you suggest I do since you said doing repair/reinstall option might show a warning? I have never done this kind of thing before and I am afraid that I might ruin the hard drive since I am new to this.
 
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If you want to review the other method here is more step by step advice. I'm afraid the one Rich-M posted is not the right one for your situation. I think this is the one he had in mind:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q307545

Be advised if you follow it and it fails, you WILL lose programs on a reinstall unless you copy BACK the hive files you saved before proceeding.

USING THE RECOVERY CONSOLE TO ACCESS SYSTEM RESTORE


If you do not have an XP CD download cmdcon.cab from Elvandil's post here: http://forums.techguy.org:80/t395729&highlight=recovery+console.html

Unzip and burn the cmdcon.iso file to CD. With Nero or Roxio you should only need to "open" the file and it will start the burner's ISO burning program.

DeepBurner can also be used to burn ISO files, I recommend the “portable” version:

http://www.deepburner.com/?r=download


Once that is done, you need to boot with either that or the Home XP CD to the Recovery Console. You may need to ensure that the CD drive is the first boot drive in the BIOS setup if it just boots to the same screen. Setup is accessed by looking for the key to press on the first data you see on the screen -- often F2

Directions are given here:

http://attachments.techguy.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=62075

There are several things to note about this operation.

1 > it is not a "reinstall" of Windows, but a method of accessing System Restore.

2 > all command lines are one line with appropriate spacing -- the doc file does not always reflect this.

3 > you must complete all 3 parts for it to be a proper restore.

4 > in the first part of this document you are given the command:

copy C:\windows\repair\system C:\windows\system32\config\system

you may get a "file not found" when running this command. If you do, substitute this command instead:

copy C:\windows\repair\system.bak C:\windows\system32\config\system
 
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No problem, the right one always gets lost in my bookmarks and I have trouble finding it as well.
 
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tce said:
Thank you for your advices. I haven't tried Rollin'Rog's suggestion yet. It seems a little complicated. But to bbearren, what do you suggest I do since you said doing repair/reinstall option might show a warning? I have never done this kind of thing before and I am afraid that I might ruin the hard drive since I am new to this.
Follow Rollin' Rog's advice. It's a good idea to print out the instructions before you start, and put a checkmark by each line as you complete it, and you'll be fine. Using Command Line interface can be intimidating if you're not very familiar with it, but those instructions will get you back up and running if you follow them carefully.

Remember that you must complete all the steps in order to do a complete restore.
 

tce

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Joined
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Thank you all for your advices. I don't have a lot of time to fix it right now cuz I need to study. But I'll try to fix it later. Thanks again.
 

tce

Thread Starter
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Feb 6, 2007
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19
My laptop is SO WEIRD. I followed Rollin' Rog's advice and I was booting the CD drive and when I got to the step where it asked me to enter the number of the operating system and administrator's password, I entered 1 and my password. it said the password is invalid, so I tried 3 times and it failed. And then it said press enter to restart the laptop, so I hit enter, and it took me back to my windows, and finally I was able to access it. Phewwwww! Thanks everyone for all your help! hopefully I won't have these kinds of problems in the future!
 
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AS Rollin' Rog said, the password being asked for is the password for the default Administrator account.
 
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