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How to restore corrupt Registry with no Restore Points?


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#1 Cypod

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 04:40 PM

I turned on my PC this morning and was greeted with:

"Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM"

Using the Recovery Console, I followed the steps in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545, but when I got to the part about copying the registry files from the Snapshot folder, I found that all my previous Restore Points were gone (System Restore was turned on and running before the crash).

I can boot into Safe Mode but most of my desktop shortcuts are gone, etc. I tried "Last Known Good Configuration" but when Windows booted normally, nothing changed. Can I get things back to the way they were with a "Repair Install", or is there something else I should try?

*Thanks*

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#2 Allan

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 04:47 PM

System restore has nothing to do with that procedure. You can try two other things:

1) Try running system restore from safe mode since you said it was enabled.
2) If that doesn't work you can do a repair install:

Boot to the XP CD and choose the SECOND repair option. Done properly, all apps and preferences will remain intact. You'll have to go to Windows Update and re-download / install all updates after the installation is complete. Here's a detailed walk-through: http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/topic/138-how-to-repair-windows-xp/

#3 Cypod

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:19 PM

Maybe I'm misunderstanding but according to kb/307545, "System Restore" normally backs up those Registry files.

Anyway... as I mentioned earlier, there are no previous Restore Points, so there's nothing available in Safe Mode to restore. Thanks for the info on Repair Install. I went to the link in your post but it doesn't really show the procedure, just what to do after performing it.

#4 Allan

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:28 PM

1) The link I provided is correct. All the information is in the first post in that link.
2) I'm not sure where you saw that system restore copies files to the repair folder, but it does not. It backs them up so you can use system restore, not the procedure from the recovery console outlined in that link.

Have you actually tried system restore from safe mode?

In any event, Repair Install is the correct option if the others don't work

Edited by Allan, 09 May 2011 - 05:29 PM.


#5 Eyesee

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:47 PM

Boot to an XP cd and follow the prompts to get to the recovery console.

In Recovery Console, change to the c:\Windows folder.

Type cd system32\config , and then press ENTER.

Type dir system , and then press ENTER.

If you cannot run the preceding command successfully (because the file is missing), skip to next step. If you can run the preceding command successfully, type ren system system.bak , and then press ENTER.

Type copy c:\windows\repair\system , and then press ENTER

Reboot
In the beginning there was the command line.

#6 Allan

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:49 PM

Unless I'm mistaken, he said in the first post that the backup copy of the hive does not exist in c:\windows\repair
It happens sometimes.

#7 Cypod

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:50 PM

1) Sorry, I'm using a clunky old backup PC and I didn't see that the first part of the info in that link was in a frame - I see the entire procedure now.

2) What I meant was the way I understand it, the 'Snapshot' files should contain the file copies; quoting Part 2 of the article: "These files are the backed up registry files from System Restore."

I tried System Restore in Safe Mode but the only restore point available (dated today) was apparently corrupted as Windows rebooted with no change.

Thanks Again ...I'll try the Repair Install and report back.

#8 Allan

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:57 PM

Yes, system restore copies the registry backup to the system volume information folder(s). But using that is different from copying the file from the \repair folder outlined in part one. Those registry hives are created at the time the system is first installed.

#9 Cypod

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 07:34 PM

Unfortunately the Repair Install didn't restore my previous setup. As before, most of my desktop icons are gone. The good news is that my files are still there. All my programs seem to be on the Start menu (there are a lot of them), but some don't work. I guess there's nothing else I can do now but fix everything manually.

I had this happen before, maybe 8 months ago. I was able to replace the missing Registry files then and run System Restore successfully. This time the files where missing. Any idea what causes this? I'm very careful about keeping malware, etc., off of the machine, but I'd appreciate any advice on preventing this from happening again.

#10 Cypod

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 09:41 PM

A postscript...

Although a number of programs in my Start Menu do work, ALL of them are missing from the Add/Remove programs list (Only IE8, my motherboard drivers, and some Windows service packs show up). Any fix for this? I need to uninstall the old anti-virus program as it no longer works, and there is apparently no way to do that now. It looks like this is gonna be a long road back... :(

Thanks

Edited by Cypod, 09 May 2011 - 10:38 PM.


#11 Allan

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:57 AM

Yes, a repair install will replace all system files with their original versions, but it will not fix other issues such as missing desktop icons. For any programs that do not appear in Add/Remove you have several options:

1) Look in the program folder for an uninstall file (it may be named "unwise.exe" or something similar).

2) Reinstall the app to the same location where it currently exists and then uninstall with Add/Remove

3) Use a third party app such as Revo Uninstaller http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html

#12 Cypod

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:22 PM

Thanks for the follow-up...

After examining my C:\windows\system32\config folder more closely, I see what appear to be "backups" - although they are old (2009) - of the files that were originally deleted in my XP crash. These may have been created by a program called Glary Utilities, perhaps when it was first installed. The files are:

default.gbck
sam.gbck
security.gbck
software.gbck
system.gbck

Would it be possible to replace the files that were originally deleted with these? Can I just replace/rename them using XP's Recovery Console? My system's very messed up right now, so if this could work I might be willing to try it.

Edited by Cypod, 10 May 2011 - 01:23 PM.


#13 Allan

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:26 PM

Those are the names of your registry hives, but the extension is from Glary. Those would be backups it made when you last used the utility. I don't know if it made any changes to the hives or if they are the original versions with just an extension added.

There's no harm in trying I guess. Do this:

In recovery console navigate to the ......\config folder and type the following:
ren system.gbck system
then press enter. You should see a message saying the file was renamed. If you do, reboot and see what happens. Note that there are two spaces in that command - one after "ren" and one after ".gbck"

Edited by Allan, 10 May 2011 - 01:35 PM.


#14 Cypod

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 02:38 PM

Renaming the system.gbck file seemed to help. Some drivers appear to be restored, among other things. Should I try renaming the other files? (I'd keep the existing ones as .bak files of course, just in case).

Thanks for your help on this, Allan... :)

#15 Allan

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 02:54 PM

No - the only two you ever want to restore are system and software. And if you restore the original software hive all of your installed software will need to be reinstalled. What is the current status of your system?




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