Packard Bell Laptop, "Missing operating system"

By dom21 ยท 28 replies
Mar 31, 2005
  1. Hi Guys,
    My laptop initially failed earlie on this evening, saying the following

    windows\system32\config\system file corrupt

    I dont have the XP cd's for this laptop, I was looking around in DOS to see what i could do. I decided to open the autoexec.BAT file just to have a lil look. It was at this point that my lap top flickered and reset.
    Now with the message saying the following

    "Missing operating system"

    This laptop does not have a floppy drive!
    Am I correct in thinking that I will need to create a Win XP bootable CD.
    If so how do I achieve this and what files will needed to be put on this?

    N.B my working machine is running windows 2K Pro

    Many thanks
  2. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

  3. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    I've had to recover the registry as MS does in recovery console. It does work, assuming the "backup" is good.

    However, in my own current problem, this happened "saying SYSTEM is missing", but when you go into Recovery Console, choose "1" for the install, but then it BSODs saying "REGISTRY_ERROR ... STOP: 0X00000051" and can't even GET to the Recovery Console. Hopefully this doesn't happen to you.

    As for bootup. If it's an OEM drive, the necessary XP bootup files may be present already, you may have to press some key to get there, such as F10 or something. Otherwise, you'll have to have someone copy an XP CD for you. Doesn't matter if it's Pro or Home or what SP it has. They'll all get you to the console.
    Then follow the MS instructions.

    Unless you have a Windows emergency recovery disk, this will be your only option.

    good luck
  4. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cheers Guys

    Thanks for your help,

    Mine is an OEM install, I tried the F10 key but no response infact i tried all the Function keys 1-12 atill no response. Could it be a combination of keys? Or does the lack of response lead to further problems.

    I do have a recovery disk, but it will delete all my files and programs, which I would like to avoid as I have work related documents stored on it.

    It looks like my next option is to get a copy of XP and boot from them or is it possible to download the required files copy them to a CD and boot from this.

    Thanks for your help so far. :giddy:

  5. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Yes you can create an XP boot disk, but as far as I know, it's only for floppies!!
    But I'm not sure if those have Recovery Console on them anyway.

    Best bet is to get a CD. And don't worry to much about "legality" of copying a disk. While I'm sure you shouldn't do it, remember it's the license you are buying, not a CD. The CD just has setup files on it, nothing special there. But never loose that 25 digit key!
  6. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Vigilante,
    I will try to obtain an XP CD to boot from, I guess there are a number of sources!! :stickout:

    From reading on this forum I belive the relavent files should be stored on the laptop, obviously I cant get to them using the F10 key. Threrefore the XP CD seems to be my next option.

    I'll keep you posted on my progress

    Many thanks

  7. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

  8. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your suggestion, I did look at this page, but on further reading it did state, that this method should not be used for OEM installs.

    Either method I still need to get my hands on a Win XP CD, as i dont have my own copy.

    How come I cannot access the recovery consle using F10 etc, is there a method of accesing the recovery console from the "missing operating system" message as it seems I cannot gain any control from this point.

    Also when I try to use the Packard Bell recovery disk on boot up, i get the following message;

    Invalid media type reading drive C
    Abort Retry Fail

    If I hit abort the system then loads up the Packard Bell recovery program, which I think will do a clean install and definatley states will delete my programs and personal data. This is not what I want to do so if I exit this i can get back to the DOS prompt and swap between drives C:\ E:\ etc



  9. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

    Well sometimes P_Bell places the os on a ISO somewhere on the HDD this is true with older systems . Your best bet would probbly getting a Full version of the os itself did you loose the cd or they just never gave you one?
  10. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi No I didnt get the XP CD with the laptop at all, just the recovery disk.

    I have a friend who is bringing an XP CD around today, I will let you know how i go on.


  11. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I hae manged to boot from a windows XP CD, When I go through the recovery method shown in the following thread

    However do not have the option to repair my c:\ installation I can only either delete it or formaty over it.

    I believe this is because it is to damaged to repair??

    Can I run scandisk etc from the repair console to enable me to carry out the method shown in the above post.


  12. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

    Boot to the XP CD and select R (Recovery Console)

    At the command prompt type:

    ren c:\windows\system32\config\system system.old
    copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config


    if you cannot acess the repair I believe the last choice will be a clean install Refomatt
  13. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you very much for the info, I appreciate it.

    I will lwt you know on the outcome,

    Many Thanks Dom
  14. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I typed the first command that you wrote, but access was denied.

    I then tried to run chkdsk and the following message appears;

    The volume appears to contain one or moreunrecoverable problems

    Iam guessing that the hdd is corrupted to a point where it is unrepairable and I will need to reinstall/format my system. This can be achieved with the use of the packard bell recovery disk. Although I did want to avoid this, due to losing personal document.

    Please advise

    Help please!!!!!!

    Dom :knock:
  15. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    You want to run CHKDSK again, only this time add the "/r /f " switches to it. So type "chkdsk /f /r " and see if that does any better.

    Also, when you enter Recovery Console, does it ask you which installation to "log in" to? Do you see a line such as:

    "1. Windows XP"

    Or something like that. And you have to press "1" and <enter> to get in? OR, when going into Recovery Console, does it just go right to a prompt and not have you select anything?
    This is significant depending on which one it is.

    P.S. Glad you found a disk. Just another reason why custom built systems are better than OEMs.

  16. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    And also I might mention, if the drive really does have unrecoverable sectors on it, a simple format/reload won't fix those. If it is physical damage, it may be time for a new drive.
  17. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Vigilante,
    I will run the chkdsk as you say tommorow as its 12:30am here in the UK.

    As regards to logging in on the recovery console, it does not require me to do this as it simply goes straight to the c:\ prompt.

    Which kinda confused me, what does this mean?

    Thanks for your help

  18. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,094

    This implies that you have more than one partition. If this is true and there is enough room on another partition, then go ahead and load a second copy of windows there,you do not have to format .You will then be able to access those files you need ,maybe fix your first install, and/or then format the whole drive and install afresh.
  19. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    If the Recovery Console just goes strait to a prompt and doesn't ask you to log in, it means that Windows cannot find a proper installation. Meaning, as far as your XP CD is concerned, Windows isn't even loaded. Which in turn means that there is certainly damage on your hard drive. Whether that by physical or just data corruption.

    After running chkdsk /r /f, assuming it goes all the way through. Restart by typing "exit" and go right back into Recovery Console again. If it still doesn't ask you to log in to an installation, there may be some more commands we can run. But in that case, you may have to try a backup/reload. Or a repair install, if your CD can see an installation to begin with.
  20. gargar

    gargar TS Rookie

    call microsoft, they will help ya out
  21. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Guys,
    Some good sugestions cheers,
    Vigilante I have just tried to run chkdsk /r/f but I still get the same message

    "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable errors" !!

    Is there anything else we can try or is my hdd done for? :(

    Another suggestion was to load do a fresh install of XP, pull off the data I want to keep, then to a format and re-install is this possible with the hdd as it is?


  22. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,094

    If you read my post carefully , it states that "If you have more than 1 partition... and if there is enough free space (room) , you can load a new copy there."
    When you boot to the XP install , go to the screen that asks where to install ,it will tell you what partitions are on the machine ,their sizes and availible space. Windows will not attempt to install if there is not enough room.
    You are probably having trouble because Portables usually have a boot program that is particular to the Brand.These programs can only be obtained directly from the manufacturer( Download ).If the program is corrupted ,you have to reload(flash usually) a file from them.You should spend some time at their Website finding all files /instructions in order to reload this machine.
    You stated that you have no Floppy;you can download CD bootdisks from Also you can customize these files with utilities and files you need to update,Fdisk,Format Chckdsk , Etc.All you need is a computer connected to the webwith a CD RW.
  23. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Like Liquidlen said, if you have enough room on the other partition, you could try loading Windows there. Just hope that partition doesn't have unrecoverable errors too.

    In my experience, despite who makes the computer or how they partition it or what boot loaders are on there. If it says unrecoverable errors, it usually means physical damage.
    Chances are good, even if you try to format the partition, it will fail on those bad spots.

    Try what you can, but be carefull, I would suggest taking it to a repair shop at this point. Getting your data off from a laptop hard drive would require a special adapter. And maybe special software too to avoid the bad sectors. Then think about replacing the drive.
    If it were mine, I would be looking for a new drive.
  24. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,094

    FYI, I missed your last question.
    If you are able to load a second copy try to immediately copy your files to some media or a USB drive ,etc. Vigilante may be correct.Try to fix the drive after the getting your files.I think you have a good chance to get your files because boot problems generally won't affect data files,but you won't know at any rate until you try.
  25. dom21

    dom21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your help Guys,
    I will try that method tommoz, The laptop is about 2.5 years old and is still under an extended warranty until the 10/05.

    I will try to pull my impoertant data off then hopefully get the issue sorted under warranty.

    I'll keep u posted


    Dom :grinthumb
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