Copying Windows System Files

By JET673_311
Jul 16, 2006
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  1. My friends computer was recently infected with a number of virus'. He ended up deleting key windows files and numerous others are corrupt. Well long story short, it won't boot up in safe mode so i hooked it's hard drive up to my computer, but i can't copy those Windows files from my computer to his because there "in use". Any Ideas would be helpful...
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso Newcomer, in training Posts: 25,948   +19

    If your friend is using Windows 2000 or xp, he should run a Windows repair as per this thread HERE.

    In order to do this, your friend will need his Windows disk and his hard drive putting back into his machine.

    Regards Howard :)
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    If you have physically removed his drive and connected it to your computer, those files shoudn't be "in use"... That is, unless you're copying the System Volume Information folder. It's located in the root of every drive and cannot be copied (Well, not by conventional means...)

    The other possibility is you are getting another error message. Perhaps you don't have permission - Access Denied? There's a thread that deals with taking ownership of files as well. This will fix your issue if permissions are your problem http://www.techspot.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8914&highlight=ownership
  4. alidabiri

    alidabiri Newcomer, in training Posts: 540

    to successfully do this, you need to connect the "other" hdd to your pc as a slave drive on the primary IDE or master/slave on the secondary IDE.
    you should check the jumper settings to make sure it's right. the jumper settings are usually on the front of back of the drive. a slave drive is connected to the middle of the IDE cable. the master is on the end of the cable.
    once you connect the hdd, you would have access to the full drive, but as rick and howard noted, there are file ownership and security things you have to resolve, as nentioned.
  5. mickzer

    mickzer Newcomer, in training Posts: 101

    Hi all,

    Just a small question:

    Is it wise to hook up a drive that was (and may very well still be) infected with viruses, to a good working one?
    Just curious,as I see this recommended regularly.

    mickzer.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    Viruses cannot infect a computer until they are run. There are sneaky ways they can do this (like embed themselves into the MBR on a boot drive).

    But there's no way for a virus to infect your computer without being run. So just be careful - don't run anything except a virus scanner on it - and if there's nothing important, repartition and format the drive for use.
  7. JET673_311

    JET673_311 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 20

    See my friend lost his Windows disk... so i used my disk and ran Check Disk on it, hoping it would replace or fix the corrupt files. It fixed a few errors but not the problem. When I try to boot the infected computer it says it cannot start because of a missing file /WINDOWS/SYSTEM32/CONFIG/SYSTEM. So i figured i could replace that file with the one from my computer, but i can't because as long as i have my computer on that file is in use... Any hope of saving it so should i just breakdown and format and reinstall windows using my CD?
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    That file is part of your Windows registry... It's Windows database of configurations, devices and more. Once that has a hiccup, you're Win install is often toast.

    A copy is kept in C:\WINDOWS\repair, which should not be 'in use'. Try to copy it and see what happens. I'm skeptical that it would work, but I think it is worth trying just to see what happens...

    You might want to look into WHY that file is corrupted or missing. Memory and hard drive issues are common hardware problems which can create the same results... You may want to consider those possibilities as well.
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