Interesting problem with missing or corrupt windows\win32\config\system

By Kallamoon ยท 7 replies
Apr 15, 2009
  1. My boyfriend, two states away, called me with this one.

    I'd personally never seen it before, and told him to hold on. I found a multitude of solutions.

    I told him to first reboot and spam the F8 key until he got the Boot menu. I had him try to boot from the last known good configuration, and it brought him back to the error message. I told him to reboot and do the F8 thing again.
    Tried Safe Mode, tried Normal Boot, tired Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

    Every single option just fed him back to the error message.

    I told him to get his Windows XP installation disc.... which he does not have. He lent it to his father, who is not in the country right now.

    I tried to have him change his BIOS to have the CD ROM drive be the first priority to boot, and to put in his old Warcraft disc to run the game, then quit to command prompt.

    It would not boot from the CD, and just brought him back to the error message.

    I had him pull his RAM and put in a different one.

    Error message.

    Usually this would not be an issue, but he has a term paper due tomorrow (which is one reason he called me, he's in full-blown panic mode since this paper is 45% of his grade for the semester), and all of his previous draft work, his research data, everything, is on this computer, and he does not have it in another location to work with. Thus, he can't wait for his father to return.

    He is not computer knowledgeable; so I'm working with someone who can run the programs installed, knows enough that when I had him open the box, he could pull the right parts, but beyond that, I have to walk him through in baby steps.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to solve this one? I'm way out of my depth. If I could just get him to a command prompt, I may be able to help him, but.. nothing at all is working.
  2. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Guru Posts: 560


    missing a few vital points here...

    1, what exactly is the problem? you've said there is a problem but what?

    2, What is the error message. You put a title as if there should be one...but what is it?

    I would guide you through how to get the info using a live disk but seeing as though you cant boot then its not alot of good.
  3. Kallamoon

    Kallamoon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry if I wasn't clear.

    1. The problem is the system won't boot Windows, and does nothing but produce an error message no matter what kind of recovery we try.
    2. The error message is "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt C:\windows\system32\config\system"
  4. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Guru Posts: 560

    That's no problem i just didn't want to link you to a load of useless sites that's all :)

    There is a Microsoft support Page for this problem. However it cannot be solved until you get your Windows disk back.

    I would keep trying to boot from CD. This error would not stop that.

    Here's an article on how to boot from CD just as a reference for him and to make sure the process is being carried out.
    BOOT from CD

    Then if you/he can follow this guide. It will allow you to make a Linux bootable disk which will at least let him get his project of his PC.
    Booting with Knoppix

    This will also give you access to a command prompt through which a repair could possibly take place but no guarantees there.

    I understand these could be useless suggestions but really you are stuck for repair options until you can get the disk and begin to follow the Microsoft guide above.
  5. Kallamoon

    Kallamoon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    We only were able to get the Linux bootable CD to work, but the main thing is it worked! He should be turning his term paper in within the next half hour.

    We DID find that part of the hard drive is corrupted (Just OS functions/partition, none of his personal file partition).

    Thank you again for your help!
  6. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Guru Posts: 560

    Ah that's good news, another deadline saved :grinthumb

    I'm guessing your going to go ahead and do a reformat now? Well when you get the OS disk back
  7. Kallamoon

    Kallamoon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Indeed we are... or rather.. /I/ am. I am actually going to go out there and make sure he has what he needs to function; he sent me photos of the innards of his box, and it was all I could do to -not- drive out there immediately.

    He doesn't have nearly enough of a cooling system for the dual core he's running, and I'm willing to bet that part of the reason his hard drive died after 6 months was due to the box overheating. It's only a matter of time before the rest of the system follows.

    Though I'm also going to make sure he has that disc on hand at all times. That Linux disc was a true lifesaver, and I'm going to also make one; I know I'm walking on thin ice with my current Master drive in my main box, but haven't gotten a replacement.

    Does that bootable CD work on a mac/ibook by chance? We have both in my apartment, and, well. You can never have too many "ocrap" options!
  8. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Guru Posts: 560

    The thing to remeber with Knoppix is that you are only looking at the hardware requirments now. It doesnt matter what operating system you have as long as there is a CD drive so Yes it should work with a MAC and iBook the key word there being should... Its just an insert and test thing and not having a MAC myself im not to sure as to its overall compatibility ut im sure youl be fine.
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