XP not booting, windows/system32/config/system missing or corrupt

  1. Hi my computer was working fine last night, but then when I tried to boot it this morning I got:
    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt windows system32 config system.
    Safe mode doesn't work, last known good configuration doesn't work, and I tried to do a repair install but it didn't seem to see my previous installation of windows.
    I haven't made any changes to anything AFAIK.

    I read this but it seems that you need to use safe mode.
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
    Thanks for your help.
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    Hard drive failure?
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,026   +221

    Ouch - - sounds like HD failure to me too
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,257   +110

    If I hadn't just reformatted a few months ago I'd be happy to replace it with an SSD :(
    Is there anything I can do to confirm? Should I try to reinstall windows?
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,026   +221

    Hmm; You need to boot something that will allow you to inspect the condition of the Partition.
    My Win/7 Disk Management (via the CP->Admin Tools->Computer Management) reports
    the boot partition as
    • Health
    • boot
    • page file
    • Primary Partition
    the Recovery partition as
    • Healthy
    • System
    • Active
    • Primary

    Crashed partitions show up as Unknown, RAW, or nothing at all. In this case, you could perform a Clean Install
    which should prompt to format the device. If you can get a tool for formatting BEFORE you start the install,
    perform a low-level format (ie not the Quick Format) - - you want every block on the HD to be rewritten.

    Once you take this path, ASAP, get a cmd prompt and enter CHKDSK c: /F /R which will verify every file
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    Yes you can try a re-install. This should confirm that the hard drive is bad. What is the hard drive's make and model?
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,257   +110

    Hmm, what's the easiest way of doing this? When I booted into the windows installer it showed the partitioning exactly as it should be, a primary partition and some unallocated space that I was planning to install linux on.

    I think I lost my flash drive though and I have a bootable windows XP on that probably would work.
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

  9. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,257   +110

    It's a WD Caviar 500GB, can't remember what color. It's been around four or five years of pretty light use.
    In case it wasn't clear before, the WD hdd is partitioned into a 400GB NTFS partition and ~80GB of unpartitioned space.

    Sorry I've been a little busy, I did try installing windows and using the unpartitioned space as a new partition but it said that that partition wasn't suitable for a windows (xp) install.
    AFAIK XP should be able to create a new NTFS partition using the unpartitioned space and install on it so this is bad.

    I would like to try and access the HDD first and get some files off before reformatting and trying another install, so I will move some files around on another working PATA hdd I have and try to install windows there. For some reason my linux disks did not work.

    Thanks for the help.


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