Using XP Home to repair XP Pro?

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FireWarr378

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My XP Pro just crashed after I tried to do a System Restore. Now, before Windows starts up, it says:

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

It then tells me to repair using the original CD ROM. I can't find my XP CD and XP Home is half the cost ($100 on Newegg) of Pro. Would I be able to use XP Home? They are mostly identical.
 
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No, Home won't work. They are very different and Pro has many differing options and files. Chances are that it would tell you that at boot time, but it's a bad method, anyway.

The method outlined by MS using that CD almost never works right, is cumbersome, and requires a good knowledge of command lines, and all that can depend on what options for the Recovery Console exist in the registry, most of which people have never changed. If not set right, many types of access are not possible. In short, forget it.

Use a different boot CD to make your repairs. The best thing to do is copy a recent registry file set from a restore point. Then the system will be almost up-to-date and all hardware will be installed. You can do it with UBCD4Win if you have another an XP CD that you can use on another machine to make it, or you can use Parted Magic or the "Old Timer" boot CD. Both give you a desktop and graphical interface to work from.

Download an iso image and burn to CD. Then boot your machine from the CD. You could also do it easily from another machine if your drive can be removed and attached to another machine without too much trouble.

How to Restore the Registry Hives From a System Restore Snapshot in Windows XP
How to automate the Microsoft suggestion above
Directions for Recovering Registry Hives From an XP Restore Point
 

FireWarr378

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Just making sure..download Parted Magic (I decided to use that one) and put it on a flashdrive and then download XP iso image and burn it onto a CD?

Where can I find the iso image? I don't know if simply searching Google is the best way to do so.

Also, the second article mentioned not to follow its procedure if the OS installed was an OEM. Would having an OEM not work with your procedure?
 
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If you downloaded Parted Magic, that is all you need. If you transferred it to USB according to the directions, and your machine will boot from USB, then you can use your stick to boot up now directly from the stick. No need for XP.
 

FireWarr378

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Thanks, Elvandil!

Your first link worked well. However, I did notice some things that were different and am wondering if I should be worried:

The guide had me use the file that was all the way from January. Since then, I have made another Windows account. All the data is still there but it no longer shows up on the Login screen nor User Accounts. Also, this fix caused System Restore to delete the other Restore points.
 
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The restore points that were created after the registry that you used will naturally no longer be registered with tyhe system.

If you got booted up at all, then the "fix" was a success because the machine just won't run without the system hive. Minor problems are to be expected. make a disk image so you can restore the entire system next time.

Free Disk Imaging Tools:

EASEUS Todo Backup
Runtime Shadow Copy
SelfImage (Open-source)
O&O DiskImage Express
Macrium Reflect
PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost) (Free alternative to Ghost with more features)
Paragon Drive Backup Express
Drive Image XML
G4U - Ghost For Unix (Platform-independent, floppy or CD)
DiscWizard (For Seagate or Maxtor drives - contains reduced version of Acronis)

Don't forget to make the boot CD whichever one you choose. If the machine will not boot the operating system, you can still boot from the CD and use its tools to restore the image you made on the external drive.
 
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