Bad windows/system32/config/system file

By jmsokol
Jan 31, 2005
  1. I have a Maxvision PC with XP Home that has become unbootable twice in the last year, both times from a power outage. The first time I didn't have time to diagnose it and try a recovery, so I did a format and started over since there's a second D drive for all my data. I put a UPS on the computer and purchased Norton Ghost, but was a bit afraid to try to make a ghost partition due to some bad things I had been reading on the subject. Of course, the system became unbootable once again last week during an aborted shutdown where I had to force the power supply off after waiting 20 minutes of lockup, but this time I see the system32\config\system file has been corrupted. Chkdsk only says there are unrecoverable errors. I went ahead and renamed the system file as bad and copied in a new file from \repair\system, but now all I get is an attempted start and continual reboot. Is there anything else I can do to recover? If I boot from the XP CD and attempt to refresh the OS it gives me a message that Windows is too corrupted to recover the system info and prompts me to do a whole new install. I'm trying to avoid a total re-groove again. Any suggestions?

    Once I get this up and running what's the best way to make a fully recoverable backup? I've heard that making a bootable CD-R and loading the "ghost" image onto a separate USB hard disc would be best. Does that sound feasable. Also, some other postings on this site recommend programs other than Norton to make a backup image, so what's out there?

    BTW: This is a MaxVision computer with totally separate drives for the boot and music info, but I'll carry anything with me to have a way to quickly recover from another crash like this. A USB hard drive and CD-R boot disc for backup seems the best way, but any other suggestions?
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Drive-Image used to be the best program for this, until Norton/Symantec got their dirty mitts onto it. Now I think it is Acronis True Image (
    Once installed and updated, take an image and store that on another HD in the same PC. These images are too large for one CD, but might fit on one DVD.
    External storage on Firewire or USB2 is also good.
    Then, as you progress, take new images, but always keep the first full-install if you want to start from scratch again.

    There is a program HDD Regenerator from, which might be able to fix your current HD-problem. I've used it successfully on one of my PCs.

    I have DriveImage 2002, which can also be started from a floppy. With that, I can take an image or restore an image independent of the operating system. Takes less than 10 minutes either way.
  3. Triton

    Triton TS Enthusiast Posts: 82

    "How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting";en-us;q307545

    After you make the repairs, if you do not have SP1 or SP2 installed, you should install hotfix 318159 "Damaged Registry repair and recovery in Windows XP"
    to prevent "repetitive occurrence of registry corruption"

    "If you experience a repetitive occurrence of registry corruption related issues, Microsoft recommends that you obtain and install the hotfix in the following article:
    318159 Damaged Registry repair and recovery in Windows XP"
    "This update is also included in Windows XP Service Pack 1."
  4. jmsokol

    jmsokol TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Scanning in progress

    I purchased a copy of HDD Regenerator this morning, and was able to build a bootable CD-R from another computer using Roxio. My C drive is currently being scanned on my corrupt computer, and should finish in a few hours. After that I'll see if XP can be started back up. Then I'll get a copy of True Image and burn a disc image on a little USB HDD. I can get a Western Digital 80 Gig HDD with USB connection for $80 US, which is very cost effective as a backup solution.

    Thanks for your help so far. I'll report back results once complete.

    Mike :giddy:
  5. jmsokol

    jmsokol TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Still no restart on XP. I can startup the computer from the XP installation CD, but when I attempt to do a reinstall of Windows, it just sits there telling me there's 39 minutes to go while changing advertisments. It never actually gets to the install process. I had upgraded this OS to SP2 online, and I'm wondering if trying to do the refresh with an original XP disc is the problem. Do I need to buy a new version of XP with SP2 already in order to do a reinstall rather than a fresh copy of Windows, or is there a workaround? If I do have to do a fresh install with my original disc, is there any way to recover my applications that were already installed? I have a second hard drive on the computer which could be used to copy the program directory, but I don't think XP will know they're installed without going through the installation process for each application again.

    Any other hints or suggestions?

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