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Windows won't run- Help!

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Brobert2, Sep 16, 2004.

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  1. Brobert2

    Brobert2 Thread Starter

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    I have a Dell Dimension 8200 using Windows XP. The computer I am writing this on is obviously not the computer I am having the problem with.

    Yesterday, when I tried to turn on my computer, I got a blue screen with this error message:

    Stop: c0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate

    I went on Dell's support website and found this page concerning my problem:

    Dell Support

    I followed the instructions exactly up to step 2 of "Back Up Corrupted Registry and Create Default Registry". Everything went fine until I had to type in this line:

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

    When I typed it in, the computer said something to the effect of file not found. Now when I try to turn on my computer (in normal mode or any of the 3 safe modes), I get this error message:

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

    Dell's instructions (on the page above) don't work. I haven't tried anything drastic like formatting the drive or re-installing Windows yet because there is about 3 years of stuff (without any backup, stupid me) on the computer I would like to keep. If there is any way I can copy these files (mostly msword, notepad files and pictures) on to a floppy or an RW CD, I would like to know. I would prefer not having to open the CPU (I heard something about slaving hard drives, which I know nothing about nor do I want to try). The files aren't that important, but I would really like to save them. So, my question is two-fold:

    1) How do I get my computer to load Windows and run properly?
    2) Is there any way I can copy my files before they are destroyed?

    Thank you very much for your time and help.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Yes, you can copy any of the files that will fit onto a floppy. Not much you can do with the larger ones unless you had some third-party burner program that will run from floppy or bootable CD. Unless you have a parallel port Zip drive since there are DOS drivers for those.

    It looks like you may now have problems with 2 registry hives instead of just one. You could have skipped that entire "system" section since it was only the "software" hive that you needed to repair.

    Here are the Microsoft directions. They may be essentially the same. But you need only execute those commands that relate to the software or system hives since they are the only ones that appear damaged. If you succeeded in replacing the software hive, you need only do the system one now.

    If you prefer, you can execute all the commands as they are written. In that case, if another hive was also damaged, you would not have to repeat the entire procedure again for that one.

    How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting

    If this all leads nowhere, we will then try to recover files.

    I hope you will at least consider placing that drive in another computer. It is not a difficult procedure and it would insure that you could recover all your files. Then the drive could be formatted and XP freshly installed after it was returned to the original machine.
     
  3. Saga Lout

    Saga Lout

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    Anxious as ever to learn, I clicked up the link Elvandi provided and got as far as the bit that says "do not run this procedure on an OEM installation" or similar. I wouldn't take issue with an MVP but I'd like to know whether it's safe to disregard such a specific comment in a KB article.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    No, it's certainly not a statement that should be disregarded. At this point, there are few choices left, and I suspect that the Dell article may have been similar or identical in content.

    A full recovery would be a nice side-effect if the procedure works in its entirety. But, failing that, I think the original poster has implied the desire to at least get booted up well enough to recover files, and that is the goal as I see it now.
     
  5. Brobert2

    Brobert2 Thread Starter

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    The Dell instructions are taken from that Microsoft instructions page. When I tried to do that one again yesterday, I hit a snag when I typed in this line:

    copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak

    The computer says the file isn't found. The first time I followed that fix it did find and copy that file, but the snag came when I tried to do the repair part of it (after you delete the 5 files). Now it comes when I try to copy it.

    Would re-installing Windows or reformatting the drive fix the problem (even though that would delete my files)?

    As for copying my files, I need to find them first. I had some word/picture files in "My Documents", and some are in a folder on my Desktop. I know the "dir" command shows files, but it only shows files in my drive. I can't save my documents and pictures if I can't figure out their location to copy them. How can I make it show a list of folders and files on My Documents and my Desktop? I don't care about any big files, just word files and pictures. I can always re-install anything else.

    Right now, I would just be happy if I can recover my word, notepad and picture files. Everything else can be brought back. I don't mind wiping the drive if I can save those things.
     
  6. Saga Lout

    Saga Lout

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    When you copy your files in the DOS menu, the names will be subtly changed. My Documents folder will be something like My Documen~1 and that is the format you must use when you copy. Use the command CD\My Documen~1 to get into that directory and then establish how many of the individual files you can cram on to a 1.44Mb floppy. Then the command will be copy c:\My Documen~1\fred.doc a:\fred.doc and that will transfer the file. This is going to be a lengthy exercise.

    You may consider instead, buying a new hard drive, taking out the old one and installing a clean copy of your OS. Once that is updated with SP2 and any other critical updates, take out the jumper from the old drive and plug it in to the second connector on the ribbon cable to make it a slave to your new hard drive. Copying from one to the other will be much easier and you can then format that old drive and use it as spare storage space and somewhere to back up files.
     
  7. Brobert2

    Brobert2 Thread Starter

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    The only reason I can't fix it is because the damn system file is missing from the computer. I don't understand why the computer can't simply copy that file from the Windows XP CD. Oh well, guess that's why I'm not a self-made billionaire. I'm not going to go through all that hard drive crap because the files are just things I want, not things I need. It's not worth all the money and trouble to save.

    I am just going to re-install Windows XP. This should fix the problem, right? Will any other problems arise as a result of me doing this?
     
  8. Saga Lout

    Saga Lout

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    The files you need are part of the Registry which is an ever-changing set-up so it isn't as simple as expanding a file off the CD, I'm afraid. If you're resigned to losing your files you may as well start with a clean formatted disk and reinstall on that so there's no danger of any of the original Registry surviving.
     
  9. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Certainly reinstalling XP will no doubt soilve your problem. It's a long shot because I don't think it will start with a corrupted registry, but you could at least try a repair installation. If you can get into Windows, you could at least save your files before reformatting.

    You can make a boot floppy with this program:

    http://users.adelphia.net/~abraxas/dl/NTFSREAD.zip

    This will give you read access to your NTFS volumes so that you can copy files onto floppies.

    As Saga Lout has pointed out, your registry is unlike any other on the face of the Earth and can't be replaced by copying from the XP CD.
    ----------------------------------------
    If you want to try a repair, follow these directions. But, after you agree to the license, setup will look for XP installations to repair. If it doesn't find any, your registry is too damaged for a repair and you may as well quit there unless you have given up trying to save your files.

    All you do is boot from the CD. When it asks if you want to repair and to press "R", don't. Continue with the installation just like you were installing for the first time.

    You will then get a license agreement and it will ask you to press F8 to agree. Right after that screen, you will see a list of Windows installations that setup found. It will ask if you want to repair it. Read the directions on that page!!!

    Then, you will actually press "R" this time and XP will re-install.

    When done, you will be back to your familiar desktop with everything looking just like it did before. But all your Windows Updates are gone and you will need to get those again.

    If you have any problems booting from CD, set the CD to boot earlier then the hard drive in BIOS setup, or come back for more help.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    You may want to get a disk imaging program and other backup solutions after this so that this never happens again.
     
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