Before I give my problem, I am well aware of what an idiot I am for not creating any back ups of my system! If you help me solve my problem, I promise faithfully to back up at least once a week from now on! I haven't made any drastic changes to my computer other that to use registry cleaners (Eusing/CCleaner). After using these, and a new defrag the system shut down and restarted successfully and everything seemed normal, even a little faster, as I would have expected. However, after shutting it down for the night and restarting, I now get the message 'windows could not start coz the following file is missing/corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system'. This seems very serious especially without a backup. All I have is a system restore disk that came with the machine 5 years ago - so that's not really an option. As it is a Time package, there are no windows (XP) disks either. Grateful for any assistance - I'm not really sure how to start in 'safe' mode or get to the 'use last known good boot' or whatever it is, screen. Many thanks in advance.
Turn Off the PC > Turn on the PC > Keep clicking the F5 or F8 button until you get a "bleep" > Chose the either Safe Mode or Last good configuration > you will have to navigate with the Directional keys.
I doubt if it will cure the problem, but, to get to the option of "Last Known Good Configuration", restart your computer while tapping the F8 key on your keyboard until the Startup Menu appears, the "Last Known Good Configuration" option is there, try it out.
With no disks and an OEM installation, I think this could be a long thread.
After a load of messing about and an inability to boot from the borrowed disk, or even access the MS DOS prompt I bit the bullet and phoned a shop to sort it. Apparently my hard disk was buggered. It's now all been sorted for the minimum cost of £80. Thanks to all those who tried to help.
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