cannot start XP as system file is missing/corrupt!

  theDarkness 13:05 05 Nov 2009

OK- this is not good! My system was working absolutely fine yesterday. I had no viruses according to Kaspersky. Yet, today, on startup, i am treated to this nice message:

Windows could not start because the following file is either missing or corrupt: "windows\system32\config\system"
- enter your xp disc and press R at the first screen to restart and repair.

After doing so, and selecting (1) for the C hard drive, I am treated with "C:\WINDOWS>" and have no idea how i can repair or add the missing file!
after typing HELP there is a "rebuild" option, but this does not seem to locate or add missing files?

I dont want to simply give up and re-install xp with sp3 as i have files on my C drive i still need to backup and/or add to another drive! I have no partitions with free space, or spare space on any hard drive to create a new partition with a new XP install, in order to retreive any files I wish to keep. Does anyone have any knowledge on the easiest way to go about it from here? HELP! ;( lol. F8 on startup and choosing "safe mode" gives the same error message.


  VoG II 13:18 05 Nov 2009

Try this click here

  theDarkness 13:32 05 Nov 2009

i also just found it, honest!- typing it all out now on recovery console, will reply as to how it goes. if it doesnt work, then i will be hoping i can at least list and copy over all files/documents on the C drive i might want to keep over to an external hd or C partition, using just the recovery console itself-if possible?

ill probably have no option but to reinstall windows, if whats listed in the above link doesnt work. thanks

  ened 13:37 05 Nov 2009

Assuming you have tried all the obvious options (last known good configuration etc), if you still are unable to get it going and the files on the drive are important, I would suggest getting another Hard Drive for a fresh installation and put that one in as a secondary.

  theDarkness 13:47 05 Nov 2009

the hd is less than a year old, it better not be giving up on me ;) the only thing i can think of is that the computer was crashing/freezing with an installation of comodo a while back, prior to trying kaspersky as a trial. to get my sytem up and running again after the last screen freeze i uninstalled comodo, but with that last crash i did have to do a forced reset. i was thinking perhaps that corrupted the file, but then again that seems pretty unlikely- since that was weeks ago, and my pc was running absolutely fine last night?

my second hard drive is over 5 years old, used just to store music/media to play or as a secondary backup, it runs great, but id still be wary of putting xp onto that.. although it would seem with the current hard drive im not having any more luck, lol

  theDarkness 14:32 05 Nov 2009

I need access to the 'System Volume Information' folder in part 2 of the guide, and the MS instructions on how to gain access to it dont work!

When I right click on the Security Volume Information folder to select its properties>security options, and then click on 'add' to add a user full access, it will not add me, despite being logged in as a default admin user. I tried adding myself with my previous log in admin name (the one which still shows in a unaccessible user documents folder, currently showing as 'empty'), and even tried entering 'default user' but they both dont work.

click here

I am using xp home

  ened 15:18 05 Nov 2009

I didn't suggest there was anything wrong with your Hard Drive.

If the data is important either put another HDD in your present machine or take it out, put it into another machine and retrieve the data then put it back and re-install windows.

  ened 15:18 05 Nov 2009

Have you tried all the F8 options which are relevant?

  theDarkness 15:27 05 Nov 2009

update - since I can now add another account, i set one up as admin, and logged in (not in safe mode) and have found out i can now click on my old documents folder! i dont think its worth the hassle, there wasnt alot installed so im just going to backup all my documents to the external hd. i may install xp onto a second partition as a backup.. or even contemplate vista (although being a 1.6gig machine from 2001, with 1 gig of ram, that may not be worth the hassle either!)

i wish i could of worked out how to access the system volume info folder, safe mode or not-i simply cannot add a user to allow full acess in the Security Volume Information properties options-i click on add, nothing happens no matter what name i type!

  theDarkness 15:30 05 Nov 2009

yep, tried all f8 options, since the system folder was missing or corrupt, nothing would work-i have gained access to windows now though according to part 1 of the guide, and can now copy/recover my old documents files to another hd, but part 2 onwards of the same ms guide click here will not work as i need to gain access to the system volume information folder. thanks

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:43 05 Nov 2009

Restore XP

Boot to the command prompt and type:


Press Enter and follow the on-screen prompts to restore to an earlier date/time

if will not boot to command prompt then:

Restore from recovery console

boot from the XP CD. Start Windows Setup and press R to access the recovery console. Select your Windows installation, then type the administrator password – press Enter if there isn't one.
(If it won't let you in, to clear the password then switch off and clear the BIOS by removing CMOS battery for 10 minutes or use the clear BIOS jumper)

Now enter the following commands:

CD C:\
CD "system volume information\_resto~1"

You'll see a list of restore point folders with names such as RP1, RP2 and so on. Pick the restore point you wish to use, using the folder date stamps to guide you. Enter the commands:

CD RPx (the restore point you chose)

This takes you into the folder containing the restore point snapshot files. Copy the Registry backups so that they overwrite the existing Registry files.

COPY _Registry_machine_system C:\Windows\System32\Config\System
COPY _Registry_machine_software C:\Windows\System32\Config\Software
COPY _Registry_machine_sam C:\Windows\System32\Config\Sam
COPY _Registry_machine_security C:\Windows\System32\Config\Security
COPY _Registry_user_.default C:\Windows\System32\Config\Default

Type the command exit to close the Recovery Console and restart the PC.

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