Windows XP missing or corrupt file- \windows\system32\config\system

By truefire87c
Apr 1, 2010
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  1. I turn on my computer, and get a message

    Then it reboots when i press any key.

    Here's what I've tried, and why it doesn't work:

    Safe Mode: Stops at the corrupt/missing file for a few minutes than displays said message.

    Last Known Good Configuration: I get the missing or corrupt screen.

    Anything using recovery console: When I load up the recovery console, It asks me to choose an installation of windows to log into. I only have 1, so I type '1' and press enter, and the recovery console freezes.

    Repair and Reformat: Neither of these work, because after pressing F8 to agree to the terms, The computer freezes while searching for existing installations of Windows


    Is there any other way that I can solve this? I'd prefer to just fix it if possible, but if not, I'd atleast like to be able to salvage my data (then reformat, or if that's not possible, transfer to another hard drive). I have many hundreds of hours of work on this hard drive that I really don't want to lose.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    Can you slave the hard drive in another computer to retrieve your personal data? It sounds like it could be memory related or the file structure on the hard disk is damaged. Without access to repair console or other bootable tools it's gonna be hard to fix. Usually you can run chkdsk to fix registry problems but in your case I would recommend getting what you can off of the drive before it fails. That would be most unfortunate.

    Having said that... always make frequent backups ;)
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,386   +205

    Do you have a Windows XP CD to use? If so, have you tried to follow the error message's directions? All you have to do is change your boot order (CD drive first), insert the Windows CD, exit and save from the BIOS or boot menu, wait for the prompt and press "r" like it says. At that point it takes a few seconds and it's done. At least that's what I did when I got that message a few days ago on one of my PCs.
  4. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    Yea it's useful to bring up that there could be a bit of a hang once you select which Windows OS to log in to, especially on systems with slow disk drives or RAM.
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