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"windows could not start because the following file is missing"

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by april77777, Apr 23, 2010.

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  1. april77777

    april77777 Thread Starter

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    Hi! I was recently given a compaq sr1330nx desktop computer that didn't work. After putting in a different power supply it started right up. It hadn't been used in over a year and I downloaded the 62 high priority updates needed and installed them. The next morning when I started it up it was very slow and unresponsive. I ran the error check utility and defragmented the hard drive. Still very slow and inconsistent. Then is when I probably screwed up and reset the 2 jumpers on the motherboard and went into the bios and checked "reset configuration". Now all I can get is a line of white bars across the bottom of a black screen and the message "windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: C:\windows\system32\config\system. You can attemt to repair this file by starting windows setup using the original setup cd-rom. select 'r' at the first screen to start repair."
    The person who gave the computer to me set it did not come with a cd, it has a backup partition on the hard drive. She also asked me to try to save her many data files if possible. I've searched with google and have not been able to come up with a solution. There are many sites saying they have free boot cd's that are guaranteed to work, but then find out they want $49 or some other large amount for something that I have no idea whether it'll work or not.
    I tried the system restore utility, but no restore points are shown. I haven't tried the recovery utility yet as I'm still hoping to save the data files.
    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. TekTime

    TekTime

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    Is it possible to borrow an XP installation disk from someone? If so you can perform a "repair install", which will retain the profile(s), software, setting, files etc.

    Another option is to backup the data files on an external medium (DVD, hard drive) and then use the recovery utility, as it will wipe out all of the data and restore the PC back to "factory condition."
     
  3. april77777

    april77777 Thread Starter

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    Thanks for your reply, Jarvis. I tried an xp installation disk from another computer and was told that it would not work, the disk for that specific model was needed. If there was a way to back up the data files without being able to boot the computer I'd do it, but I don't know how to get to the data in this situation.
     
  4. TekTime

    TekTime

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    You are welcome.

    You can save the data on the drive by purchasing a "USB drive enclosure." You would need to physically removed the hard drive from the computer and attach it to the USB drive enclosure. Next, you boot into Windows on the working computer and copy/paste the files on the (USB) drive into the directory of your choice. These enclosures can be purchased for $12-$40.00 or so.

    The most difficult part is removing the hard drive, but it's actually a pretty straight forward process..just be cautious and try to work on an anti-static surface (wood table, hard wood floors, no carpet etc)

    Hopefully this helps.
     
  5. april77777

    april77777 Thread Starter

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    Thanks again Jarvis, I found a download called ERD commander that has boot and other utilities on it. It shows my c drive to be empty. The recovery partition is still there but the computer won't go into recovery mode. My conclusion- the hd is dead. Without a set of recovery disks I'm relegating this computer to my growing pile of obsolete junk. Thanks anyway.
     
  6. TekTime

    TekTime

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    Sorry to hear that the data is gone. I don't think that the drive is physically dead though..of course I could be wrong. Have you tried a drive testing utility? Usually drives that fail have physical symptoms such as various types of noise, or bad sector readings when tested.

    You could try to use a data recovery program and, ("slaving" the drive) try to recover the data.
    That would be a less expensive option to the data recovery shop -which I assume you aren't trying to do at this moment! At any rate, data recovery software is worth a shot IF the data is critical...
     
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