Unique twist to my system32\config\system problem

By markj · 7 replies
Jul 1, 2008
  1. Trust me to have a unique twist to a reasonably documented problem. :rolleyes:

    When I start up my computer I get the error message:

    “windows\system32\config\system is corrupted” with a suggestion to use the Windows XP Pro installation disk for a repair of this file

    I follow these instructions, get to the recovery console, choose ‘r’ and that’s where the difference in normal process occurs. According to the help forums I should be presented with a numbered option(s) of which Windows installation to repair :

    1: C:\WINDOWS

    Which Windows Installation would you like to log on to
    (To cancel, press ENTER)?

    Instead I get nothing other than:


    I need advice to either get back to normal functioning from here or to get me to a stage where I get the C:\WINDOWS up so that I can initiate the normal solutions


    I recognised the difference in my problem so I haven’t done any major changes such as bootfix fixmbr etc because I might do more damage than good before I get some advice. Here are some things I have tried:

    1. Installed a different HDD with the same XP pro installation on it and it booted up without a problem. So associated hardware problems such as dust, bad RAM etc is not the issue.
    2. Changed my BIOS to make boot from CD Rom the first option
    3. Hit F8 and tried each option available from Safe Mode down the list. Each option presented me with the same “windows\system32\config\system is corrupted” message
    4. In the recovery console instead of choosing option 2 repair I chose Option 1, went to the license screen, then to a screen showing the partitions available. There was no repair option available in this screen so I quit out of it. Of note there was only 1 undefined partition showing when I know there are 3 partitions on this drive. It also had a different total disk space showing than what the HDD should have.
    5. in the recovery console I only have the C:> so I tried a chkdsk p and r but get "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems”
    6. Tried to get C:\WINDOWS up by typing in the WINDOWS command line but get "command not recognised" mainly because if you type in HELP that is not a recognized command function and I was just getting desperate.

    As further info it’s a Seagate HDD with NTFS not Fat. I do remember when it was still working properly that after shutdown there was a message that Windows was initiating updates and not to turn off computer and that it would turn off on it’s own, this took about 60 seconds. After that the problem started

    Are there any solutions that you could think of as this is not a common problem and I can’t find a way forward from here. :confused:
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  3. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    I had this problem. From nowhere, out of the blue, on a clean, well maintained computer running Windows XP Home. I booted up and got the error message n a black screen. I had never has a crash and used my other system to search for resolutions. Finally, two weeks later, the main thing I found, and I did not keep the site that said this was that on an XP machine, the error wasn't actually valid.

    But for the first time, I did access the BIOS, change to CD first for boot, inserted the CD for the setup and there it was- my system back to normal with no further action required from me!

    I did NOT boot into Safe Mode as you did, so am giving my experience in the hope that you may try it and be successful as I was.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    the message is accurate: your registry is trashed.

    see this https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic98544.html

    if you can get to a command prompt, then use
    to get to the System Restore utility
  5. markj

    markj TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thx guys i'll try your solutions tonight

    the chdir didn't work though. I wish it was that simple but sometimes they're the solutions that work best

    btw has anyone heard of a virus that does this?
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    maybe, but it's far too easy to fumble into it without a trojan or virus -- just the nature
    of Windows.
  7. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    I once posted here how I finally handled this problem and was greatly criticized for saying it. My Registry was NOT trashed, I lost nothing and was able to get operational again by going into the BIOS, changing Boot order to CD first, Exit and Save, insert CD and boot from the setup. I never even had to go into the Recovery console.

    I don't know if that will work for you and I am not interested at all in being blasted for telling you what worked for me. If you want, try it- it may get you back up and going also.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    no one is interested in blast either; just the suggestion doesn't fit the symptom,
    as BIOS knows nothing of the registry.

    BUT that said, if it worked for you great -- maybe it can be repeated :)
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...