Windows cannot start - how safe is my data?

  malynx 13:42 10 Nov 2011

Hi. My desktop PC running a fully updated (SP3) Windows XP Pro (32-bit) encountered an error last night - claiming it had to close Windows Explorer to protect the computer (or similar message).

Since then I have been unable to start Windows at all.

Turning on my PC results in the follwing message (which occurs before the "Windows loading" screen would normally appear):

**Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM. Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair.**

My PC was pre-installed with Windows XP Pro by the manufacturer. I was supplied with a recovery CD. However my major concern is that I had recently transferred all of my files to the PC with the intention of backing up onto a removable HD. The one I had been using has since been erased. So the only copy of these files is on my PC's hard drive!

If I attempt to repair the missing windows file, what risk is there of me losing my data on the hard drive?

Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated - including how I might save my data before attempting repair, thank you.

  lotvic 14:29 10 Nov 2011

get one of these USB-SATA-IDE-CABLE-ADAPTER or a usb caddy enclosure and take your HDD out of your pc and hook it up to another pc via USB and copy/transfer all your documents/data to another HDD.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:52 10 Nov 2011

System File

Missing Or Corrupt Windows\System32\Conf\System File

To fix the "windows\system32\config\system file is mising or corrupt" where Xp wont boot:

Go to Recovery Console and type:

cd system32\config ren system system.old ren system.alt systemalt.old copy c:\windows\repair\system copy c:\windows\repair\regback\system exit

To make a recovery console CD download and burn this iso file to a CD

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