Windows failing to boot due to corrupted system 32 file

By CNelson
Aug 10, 2007
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  1. Howdy, I'm a new comer here, mainly because I've never had something like this happen to me before.

    My computer starts up and then goes to the POST screen, at which point it says "Boot from CD:_" and then to "Press any key to boot from CD...." Now obviously pressing keys isn't helping me, or else I wouldn't be here.

    It then goes to a pure black screen for about 30 seconds. Next, multiple, white progress bars pop up. After about 5 or so minutes of that it says, "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
    \Windows\System32\Config\System

    You can attempt to repair this by putting in the CD blah blah blah"

    Now that is fine and dandy and all, but I can't get it to boot from the Windows XP Pro (upgrade) CD! Any other suggestions that you guys could give? I've told it to boot from the CDROM first, but it just doesn't want to.



    (Just as a side note, what causes this to happen? I was just talking on aol instant messenger, when my computer started going very very slow and unresponsive. So I tried to restart my computer and it just went completely unresponsive. I ended up just clicking the restart button, and then got into this whole mess. HILF MIR BITTE!!!)

    edit: I saw this thread but it didn't say anything about how or why my computer wouldn't want to boot up from the CDROM.
  2. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    I think that falls under the category of a System32 Executable file. To restore such an executable tp the C:\Windows\System32 folder is tricky when you apparently cannot boot up.

    There are ways to reset your computer to get an upgrade disc to boot up, but most upgrade windows discs will not run in Repair mode.


    There are lots of tricks when you can boot up, staring with:
    From your hard drive: Click Start, Run, then type CMD and press enter

    But I think your only chance, since it is the critical System32, is to cold boot to a full Windows XP disk, then run it in R or Repair mode.

    You cannot do this with most recovery discs or OEM Windows discs, but it may work with a full Windows disc, if you have or can borrow one.

    However, go into your BIOS to be sure your BIOS has the correct drive set as bootable or first boot.

    This is one of the major disadvantages of using an upgrade disc, however, in most cases.

    You have another problem, however, which is to determine why this happened. Do you have a hard drive failing. Is the optical drive bad. Knowning the cause is perhaps part of the solution.
  3. CNelson

    CNelson Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Luckily enough, I just checked with my neighbor, and he has a full windows XP pro cd. The only problem now is that he isn't exactly sure where he left it. I'm absolutely certain that I have it in the right order though. One quick question though, would the boot floppies be of any use to me? I have some important files and junk on my computer, so I don't want to just be bumbling along and realize, "Oh shoot... I just really screwed myself over." I hope you can understand my cautiousness.

    As to the second problem. To be quite honest, I'm not sure. However, recently I have been playing games on the internet or trying to do a couple tasks on the computer, and it would freeze up on me. Not sure if these 2(3?) problems are related, but i figure the more info I throw out there, the more it might help you guys.

    But first lemme run over and see if I can find that XP cd. (I thought my problem might have been because it was an upgrade cd, everyone else's process seemed to just go so much smoother and there wasn't any reason why my computer couldn't do the same -_-)

    Edit: ARG! He has not 1, but 2, upgrade cds. One of em even said it would only work on a Dell... I'll ask around more, but it doesn't look too good for the regular XP pro
  4. CNelson

    CNelson Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thank you for the offer! But I think I will ask around here, and hope someone will have one.

    If not I don't know what is gonna happen.

    Will this work? Or bring me to something that I can use to fix it?
  5. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    No I don't think the boot floppies have any value unless his Windows disc doesn't boot. Generally, upgrade discs will never work to perform the task you need. The Dell disc will not startup up if it does not detect the "tattoo" on the EEPROM on the Dell motherboard.

    You need a full version of Windows Home or Professionalo. Not a recovery disc. Not an OEM set. Not an upgrade disc. Not an Academic version. You probably will not need the windows product ID, but depending on which of the 17 Windows disc sets it is, you just might.
    An OEM verision of Windows costs as low as $64, but it will not work for this task. A full version of Windows XP starts at $134, but hard to find these days for under $185. List price was $399.
  6. CNelson

    CNelson Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Well then... here is to hoping that I can find a friend with one.

    edit: Would I be able to use a full Windows XP Media Center cd?
  7. CNelson

    CNelson Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    My hunt for a normal cd isn't working out too well so far, but my brother suggested installing Linux and then backing up the important files. What are your guys' thoughts on that?
  8. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Certainly do-able, but if you want to go to Linux, you must remember that Linux is not easier than Windows... just an astonishingly less expensive system that works about as well as Windows. Start reading.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,342   +297

    \Windows\System32\Config\System is one of the REGISTRY FILES!
    you need to recover using one of the restore points.
  10. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    But, alas, so many have no restore point... so the long way round is the shortest way home.
    Microsoft has a great deal of helpful knowledgebase articles on this subject available with a search at the Microsoft site. One is an inplace install as "Upgrade" The information in this article applies only to computers with Windows XP preinstalled by a computer manufacturer. But there are others if you look around.
    Particularly helpful when you find you have lost data that is stored in the All Users folder and default program templates and settings that are stored in the Default User folder after you reinstall, repair, or upgrade Windows XP. You may be missing Start menu shortcuts, items in the Startup group, and documents, pictures, or music files that are stored in the Shared Documents folder.
    This problem can occur after you perform any of the following actions on a computer that has Windows XP preinstalled by a computer manufacturer (also known as an Original Equipment Manufacturer, or OEM) when you:

    reinstall Windows XP in the same folder by clicking Upgrade (Recommended) after you run Winnt32.exe, or by clicking the Install Windows XP link on the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP" screen that appears when you insert the Windows XP CD-ROM. This is also known as performing an in-place upgrade or an in-place installation.

    repair Windows XP by starting your computer from the Windows XP CD-ROM, pressing ENTER to set up Windows XP, and then pressing R to repair the selected installation.

    upgrade the Windows XP Home Edition installation that was preinstalled by your computer manufacturer to the retail version of Windows XP Professional.

    The articles are long, but quite useful. It was only due to recent problems posted here that prompted me to take a look.

    Search for restoring System32 files or repairing System32 files.
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,342   +297

    hum; have you ever experienced this kind of 'fix'? If so, then (imo) you've got little at risk or of much importance.

    all programs get uninstalled and you get to reinstall them

    all hotfixes need to be downloaded and reapplied

    all users loose their internal identities and when they are recreated,
    get new profile areas; eg: \documents and settings\thislocationchanges

    yes it works -- painfully
    the restore points retain all software,
    users keep their profiles
    and all the updates are still intact.

    the sole issue is how far back do you choose to restore?
    ans: pick every 3rd day until your system is stable again.
     
  12. CNelson

    CNelson Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Ummmm... uh oh. So I finally got Bart's PE to work, and now when I try to do anything with the c: drive it says that it might be corrupted. I can't create anything, delete anything, or copy anything. Does this mean I am screwed? What might be the problems/how I can check for problems?
  13. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    What is "Bart's PE?"
    What are you selecting when you get the message that it might be corrupted? Is this at startup or when other choices are made?
    Do you have install discs with this whatever it is?

    The problem could be absolutely anything. You need to tell us more about the device, the operating system, the age, and how it has been used.
    Sometimes, a corrupted system can have its OS reinstalled and will then work fine fine...
    A "corrupted" "Bart's PE" could be defective memory, defective video graphics, infestation of malware, bad system board, bad cable, bad power switch, or bad main drive.
    Please tell us more so we can get our mind wrapped around it.
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,342   +297

    NOT NECESSARILY. those actions require write access to the drive
    and Linux CDs will typically mount the HD as READ-ONLY.

    can you see file names? if so, the hd is likely to be fine.

    see this http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic76094.html for mounting the
    HD in write mode
  15. CNelson

    CNelson Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    YES! I fixed it. I got into Bart's PE and ran check disk. Took the entire night, but it finally got it to work

    Thank you guys, very much.

    THIS is Bart's PE builder

    and it was saying the entire C: drive was corrupted, not anymore though!
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