Error message XP_PRO/SYSTEM32/CONFIG/SYSTEM on Windows startup

By PCPete ยท 6 replies
Jan 27, 2009
  1. I ran a regedit program and a defrag in an attempt to speed up performance. Box ran fine until I shut down. On the start up of computer i get the following message:

    "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: XP_PRO/SYSTEM32/CONFIG/SYSTEM".
    Now it won't load windows. I'm assuming I corrupted the register when I ran the edit program.
    I've read all the posts I can find on this site and have attempted to restart using the Recovery Console by restoring to a known good point. I was able to identify the last good RP, but when I type in: copy _registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default and hit enter it tells me it can't find the file.

    I'm running dual boot, both XP Home and XP Pro w/SP3.

    Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,131   +982

    one (or more) of the registry files is corrupted

    see this for recovery:

    my TIP:


    hum; have you ever try this option? the \repair directory is minimal and
    the registry files there are NEVER updated from an install; ergo
    anything you've installed will be lost in the sense that the necessary
    registry entries will be missing even though all the files are still
    present ;(

    here's one kb article


    the procedure referencing the \repair folder is only STEP-1 of a THREE
    step process documented here:

    following all three steps is fruitful (ie it works well) as I can attest
    from my need to recover a corrupt registry

  3. PCPete

    PCPete TS Rookie Topic Starter

    RE: KB/307545
    When I try to boot from the recovery console on the XP PRO CD I receive a C:\XP_PRO> command prompt rather then the usual C:\>. I suspect this is due to my machine being dual boot.
    When I enter the copy "c:\ windows....etc" command the system tells me "The system cannot find the file specified."
    If I change the C:\XP_PRO prompt to C:\ and type in the same command I receive the same message.

    Any thoughts on where to go from here?
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,131   +982

    get the cmd prompt and enter
    which will give you the gui interface to RESTORE
  5. PCPete

    PCPete TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I tried both the C:\XP_PRO> command prompt and C:\>, both resulted in the message "The command is not recognized".

    Going back to the earlier message "The system cannot find the file specified", working from
    the Recovery Console cmd prompt, how can I determine what the true path is to the various XP PRO files I need to restore inorder to boot into Windows?
  6. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    I had a similar problem with the 'system file' which i just couldn't fix, so i reformatted.
    Not much help i suppose, suffice to say that not all suggestion work 100% of the time as i tried quite a few of them.
    I'm curious though, why on earth would you dual boot with 2 versions of XP????
    Kind of asking for complications do you not think?
  7. PCPete

    PCPete TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The box came with XP Home. I upgraded to PRO about 5 years ago and it's never given me a problem until now. I ordered a new HD (I suspect the old one is on it's last legs which may be part of the problem) this morning and will do a clean install when it arrives. I'd BAK'd my files the first of the year and I'll be able to pull my other files off the old drive. Thanks for your interest.
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