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Solved: file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by spyslayer, Jul 26, 2011.

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  1. spyslayer

    spyslayer Thread Starter

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    Hello,

    I've come across this problem with my computer (dell desktop):

    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

    I've tried everything I've found recommended, but I can't seem to get it to work. The only steps that seems to work for me were from this site:

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307545

    Under "Step 1", part 5 it directs me to copy and delete a list of files. I've completed as far as deleting all the files. When I get to the task of copying the "repair" files, I get the following response:

    "The system cannot find the file specified."

    I suspect I don't have such files in C drive, and i and also tried to no avail "copy c:\wndows\repair\system.bak c:\windows\system32\config\system"

    moreover, I am also not able to get into safe mode.

    bad news for me so that I have not backup about 6 months of data and files which I still need to use. I m starting to suspected my hard disk is seriously corrupted.

    While I can easily follow explicit directions, I'm no rocket scientist when it comes to PC's. pl explain in layman terms. thanks!

    Expert advice is greatly appreciated!

    cheers
    Stephen
     
  2. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    Use this command at the command prompt (after booting from the XP disc) to use System Restore. Take it back to a date before the problem started.
    C:\windows\system32\restore\rstrui.exe and press Enter.

    The guide you have tried should work, but as you suspect, it seems likely that the "repair" folder is missing or damaged.

    The alternative is to run a Repair Install http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
     
  3. spyslayer

    spyslayer Thread Starter

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    I tried this microsoft guide and when I get to the task of copying the "repair" files, I get the following response:

    "The system cannot find the file specified."

    and so I also tried "copy c:\wndows\repair\system.bak c:\windows\system32\config\system"

    I get same response:
    "The system cannot find the file specified."


    Then I tried to run a Repair Install, but after I accepted the License Agreement, i ve the following:

    * to set up windows XP....press ENTER

    * to create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press C

    *To delete the selcted partition, press D

    do u think my hard disk is death? any other way to salvage my data? thks for your time and patience.
     
  4. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    Sorry, you caught my last post before I edited it after realising the microsoft link I gave was the one you had already used. I had saved it with the wrong reference in my canned responses.

    Try the system restore command in my edited post.

    To use the Repair Install you need to select "to set up Windows XP press Enter" you will then get the choice to Repair it.

    Follow this guide, it is better than the previous one I gave.
    http://pcsupport.about.com/od/operatingsystems/ss/instxprepair1.htm
     
  5. spyslayer

    spyslayer Thread Starter

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    I tried:
    C:\windows\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

    response: The command is not recognised


    Then I tried to run a Repair Install based on http://pcsupport.about.com/od/operat...prepair1_6.htm, but after I accepted the License Agreement, I wasn't given a choice to repair it, instead i ve the following:

    * to set up windows XP....press ENTER

    * to create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press C

    * To delete the selcted partition, press D


    any other advice to system restore?
     
  6. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    System restore may be disabled or there are no restore points.
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Your not following the instructions. As I said in my last post:

    "To use the Repair Install you need to select "to set up Windows XP press Enter" you will then get the choice to Repair it".
     
  7. spyslayer

    spyslayer Thread Starter

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    So I got as far as accepting the agreement (F8), and instead of getting to the screen to repair damage, I was presented a screen that said this:

    The following list shows the existing partitioned and unpartitioned space on this computer:

    * to set up windows XP on the selected item, press ENTER

    * to create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press C

    * To delete the selected partition, press D

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    152587 MB Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 on atapi [MBR]

    -: Partition1 [FAT] 47 MB (27MB free)

    C: Partition 2 [Local Disk] [NTFS] 152547 MB (92167MB free)

    unpartitioned space 8 mb
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I selected C and "to set up Windows XP press Enter" , and it took me to another screen with this dire warning:

    You chose to install Windows XP on a partition that contains another operating system. Installing Windows XP on this partition might cause the other operating system to function improperly. CAUTION: Installing multiple operating systems on a single partition is not recommended.

    I quit the install because i believed this is a clean installation. What should I do now?
     
  8. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    Two questions.

    Did you boot the PC from the disc?

    Is it a genuine Microsoft Windows XP disc?
     
  9. spyslayer

    spyslayer Thread Starter

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    yes.

    yes.
     
  10. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    Try this and then try the Repair Install again.

    1. Boot with XP CD.
    2. Press R to load the Recovery Console.
    3. Type bootcfg at the command prompt and hit the Enter key.
    4. Then type exit, hit Enter and then reboot.
     
  11. spyslayer

    spyslayer Thread Starter

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    I tried a repair install after "bootcfg" , but I got as far as accepting the agreement (F8), and instead of getting to the screen to repair damage, again I was presented a screen that said this:

    The following list shows the existing partitioned and unpartitioned space on this computer:

    * to set up windows XP on the selected item, press ENTER

    * to create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press C

    * To delete the selected partition, press D


    by the way, My Windows XP disc is SP2, and I have updated to SP3 a few years ago. do u think it may have an effect on the repair install?



    What should I do now?
     
  12. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    To run a Repair Install you have to use a genuine windows xp disc that has the same service pack or higher to make it work.

    You would need to uninstall SP3 before using that disc. But, as you cannot boot the PC you cannot do that.

    As the bootcfg command did not work I am now convinced that the setup is not recognising the installed operating system. It will not be the different SP that is stopping it, I just helped someone who had used the same disc on an SP3 install and it totally trashed the installation.

    Try this guide which should completely rebuild the boot record. If the repair routine still won't recognise the installed OS after doing this then read on. http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000648.htm

    I would suggest you run the diagnostics from the manufacturer to test the hard drive before going any further as I now suspect it may be faulty. Follow this guide.

     
  13. spyslayer

    spyslayer Thread Starter

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    I tried using bootcfg /rebuild and it displays:

    "Error: Failed to successfully scan disk for Windows Installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system......"
    ....and I m now not able to goto recovery console....

    then, I tried seagate seatools for DOS, I selected the Long Test and the result is "FAILED" and repair is unsuccessful....


    What should I do now?
     
  14. johnebadbak

    johnebadbak

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    what you need is a rescue disk so you can access the hdd..
    http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page click the download menu on theL/H side of the window
    get this one as it will boot you machine so you can access the file system on the hdd. If the system folder is missing it may have accidently been moved and drag and dropped in another folder.If so then copy it back to its position on the directory tree.As you have info from microsoft then you can use the rescue disk to copy the files
     
  15. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    That rescue disc may be worth a try, not something I have ever used.

    Getting a FAILED result with Seatools is a fairly conclusive indication that you hard drive has failed and should be replaced. The only other thing you could try is a format and clean install of XP and then see how it goes but I would be surprised if it recovers after failing the seatools test.

    For about €10 you can buy a USB hard drive adapter which will make it possible to hook the hard drive up to another PC so you can save all your important files. Then you could format the drive and run the diagnostics again just to be sure it really has failed.
     
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