Security Accounts Manager initialization failed

  Valedictor 18:02 08 Oct 2007

Hi all,

Bit of a tricky one this I think, but hopefully someone will know what the best course of action is.

About two months ago, my housemate's XP laptop presented the message:

Security Accounts Manager initialization failed

After typing the message into Google and reading up on it a bit, the most common course of action that seemed to be getting advised was to perform a parallel installation of XP. If I recall correctly, I think I followed the instructions here:

click here

My housemate was hoping that this would allow her to save the large amounts of info on her laptop, and avoid having to wipe and reinstall from scratch. The instructions I read seemed to suggest that this would be possible with a parallel install.

I followed the instructions given, but for some reason, I WASN'T presented with:

5. Select the partition in which you want to install Windows XP and press Enter. A different partition than the original install is preferable.

6. Select the Leave the current file system intact (no changes) option if you are using the original partition.

7. Press Esc to install to a different folder if you are using the original partition. If Setup detects another operating system, it prompts for the new folder name after the back slash (\).

...and before I knew it, the screen telling me that XP was installing was up. Worried that I was overwriting the existing installation, I very quickly turned of the laptop (after about 5 seconds).

At that point, I figured that I may have overwritten a small amount of the previous installation, but that if that was the case, then perhaps some of her information might still be recoverable using a recovery package. Just didn't want to continue and end up wiping what might be left!

My housemate contacted her brother, who is something of a computer wizzkid. He is at the other end of the country, but advised us to run Memtest86, which I tried to do using a floppy or disc...can't remember which now, but I followed the instructions on the Memtest site.

After doing this, the screen goes black, and a seriies of flickering digits and letters appears down the left hand side for a while.The instructions tell us that this should happen, but they never seem to stop, so no idea if it is working or not.

As it stands, the memtest readout appears when we turn the laptop on now, and carries on seemingly indefinitely. The only way I can get out of it is to put the XP disc back in and either proceed with the installation (which may or may not be overwriting things), or cancelling the installation once I have put the disc in, in which case it brings us back to the original error message.

My housemate is very reluctant to continue with the install without someone knowledgeable taking a look at it first. Her brother will not be visiting her for another couple of months.

Can someone please confirm that if I proceed with the XP installation, it will overwrite the previous install? Or is it possible that it is installing parallel to the original, despite the lack of option messages, and I am ok to continue?

If not, what other options do I have to recover the previous install? (if any)

Thanks for any help anyone can offer!

Regards, Jessica x

  SANTOS7 18:18 08 Oct 2007

click here

The XP reinstall seems to be the last option,
replacing the SAM file as shown in the link may resolve your issue first...

  Valedictor 19:32 08 Oct 2007

I'm thinking you may be right... that will wipe all her info though, correct? Definitely no chance it will instinctively know not to overwrite it?

Out of interest, if a parallel install is created successfully, how do you flit between the two? Do I get options on screen at that point? Or do I need to do something special?

Jess x

  SANTOS7 21:20 08 Oct 2007

Hey Jess, you cannot as you say have a parallel install, you would need to install it to another partition creating a dual boot option.The reason you wern't offered this option is you probably don't have another partition on your Harddrive.
having read the Kb article again you cannot use the repair console to replace this file so your options are limited.
Have you tried restarting in safe mode and selecting "last known good configuration" if that does not work i fear the worst at the moment which will entail a format (loose everything) and a clean reinstall, i'll keep looking and get back to ya...

  SANTOS7 21:26 08 Oct 2007

If you can get into safe mode try this first..

copy the SAM file from the repair folder using a command prompt. Keep in mind you cannot use the Recovery Console to perform this fix since it requires authentication, which cannot occur if the SAM file is corrupted. You also cannot fix this by doing a repair installation of Windows.

Click Start, click Run, type cmd click OK.

At the command prompt, type each of the following commands, pressing ENTER after each command:

copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam

  Valedictor 23:55 08 Oct 2007

Thank you so much; I will try this tomorrow and get back to you!

Jess x

  Valedictor 09:05 09 Oct 2007

Doesn't look like I can get into safe mode at all... can get into bios but that's about it :(

Guess that means I have to reinstall then?


  brundle 09:51 09 Oct 2007

You can do a re-install without losing the data but it makes for a messy set of folders to tidy up.
Boot XP CD, go to recovery console, rename c:\windows to c:\oldwin, rename "c:\documents and settings" to c:\olddocs, now reboot and do a fresh install of XP on the same partition. You can recover the data from the old folders, program files will need re-installing even though the folder has been left unchanged. Find the old `My Documents` folder by going to c:\olddocs\<user account name>\
Make sure Show hidden files and folders and SHow System FIles is shown in Folder Options in Control Panel, you will find OE emails in c:\olddocs\<user account name>\Local Settings\Application Data folders too (search for *.dbx)

  SANTOS7 17:15 09 Oct 2007

Problem is brundle a reinstall/repair will not fix this issue.
You must use a new Installation option to replace the SAM file. If you perform, use the In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) option for Windows XP, the SAM file is not replaced.

  brundle 21:22 09 Oct 2007

I'm not proposing a `Repair`, the install is a fresh one, renaming the folders means any old information is kept and new Documents & Settings and Windows folders are created, without having to create a new partition, and selecting `leave file system intact` at the partition selection/formatting stage. As far as the Windows setup is concerned, you are just putting a new copy of XP on a partition with other files on it.

  SANTOS7 21:30 09 Oct 2007

AHH!!! see your point, worth a try if it will save any important files/folders Jess may have....

corrupt SAM file seems to be a tricky one at best of times, Have a go girl it may work for ya...

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