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My Windows\system32\config\system File Is Corrupt. My Windows Cd Has Trouble Booting.


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#1 CID1

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 02:15 PM

Last night I tried to watch a video on youtube, but the clip would pause after a second and no audio would play. Also one of my sub picture folders had become corrupted a few days ago. A similar problem occurred a couple weeks ago. I made a topic here and was told to schedule a chkdsk. I did and it fixed the problem. Since my computer always runs chkdsk at boot for some reason, I restarted my computer and let chkdsk run. I then got a dos looking screen that said "file windows\system32\config\system is missing or corrupt." My jaw hit the floor.

Using a PlayStation 3, I went online for a solution. I found a forum that said to boot up the Windows CD and press 'r' to begin the recovery. it then press '1' and type "chkdsk /p" Then type "fixboot" Finally reboot, press F8 and choose "Last known good configuration" I did all this and got the same problem, a corrupt windows\system32\config\system file message.

Then to top it off, my Windows CD stopped booting up! It would say it's loading but then take me to the same corrupt windows\system32\config\system file screen. I later read that som OEMs won't be able to get back into the Recovery Console if you do a fixboot. I don't even know what an OEM is?

Finally I got the CD to boot up to the blue setup screen by pressing F8 repeatedly. I'm going to wait on this screen for futher instructions.

Also, my current source of income if freelance data entry. I CAN'T lose this data! I don't go to questionable sites and I am very cautious. I don't think malware was the cause.

Please, you assistance will be very appreciated. How do I fix my corrupt windows\system32\config\system file without losing my data?

Specs:
Windows XP sp2
IBM ThinkPad

Anymore info you might need, just ask. If you want a link to where i got my 1st attempted fix info, just ask. Oh and what's an OEM?
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#2 garmanma

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 04:27 PM

What options are you offered on the setup screen?
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#3 CID1

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 06:14 PM

Hello Mark,

There are 3 options to choose from. I'll quote them:

* To set up Windows XP now, press ENTER.

* To repaier a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.

* To quite Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

/quote

And those are my options to choose from.
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#4 garmanma

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 07:26 PM

I would first try sfc /scannow
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/43051/how-to-use-sfcexe-to-repair-system-files/

If that doesn't work, I would try a repair install, which should leave your settings and files intact
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

I would like to say with 100% certainty that your files will remain intact, but I can't

OEM is the xp disk that shipped with most box computers. From what you described you have an original XP CD

I should add that if you do the repair install, you will need the CD key
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#5 CID1

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 08:16 PM

Thanks. Unfortunately, the sfc/scannow appears to only be accessable through windows and I don't have access to that. I try to access it through the recovery console.

As for the repair install, I can't risk data lose nor can I put myself in a position where I have to reistall my programs. I'm out of state and all my discs are storage. I won't be back for at least 3 months (longer if I can't get this fixed). I just can't take that option. Not unless I can image (ghost I think is another term) my harddrive and reimage it after an install or possible data loss process.

Any other ideas? Know how to image my harddrive without access to windows?
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#6 garmanma

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 07:59 AM

You can either use a live Linux CD, that doesn't install on the computer. It runs from the CD., or you could try the Ultimate Boot CD
As you also said, slave it to another computer

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html
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#7 CID1

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 10:52 AM

I can slave a laptop harddrive? Well I have find another computer Linux CD and Ultimate CD will fix my corrupt file huh?

How come fixboot didn't work in my recovery console?

Is there away to just copy a new windows\system32\config\system file over?

How does this even happen? How does the OS just decide to fail?
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#8 usasma

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 11:31 AM

You can slave a hard drive (if it's operating properly) using a USB enclosure. Then you can plug it into another computer and access the files on it.

If the physical hard drive is having problems, then you may not be able to do it (depends on if the problems with the drive are too much for the error-correcting mechanisms that are built in).

If the problem is with the file system on the drive (most commonly NTFS, but may be FAT32) - then CHKDSK /R should fix it. If it can't fix it, then the solution would be to format the drive (which would wipe all your information out).

If the problem is with the access of the drive while booting, the FIXBOOT and FIXMBR commands (along with the BOOTCFG command) can be used to regain access (presuming that everything else is OK). Basically, the BIOS looks for the MBR to get information on where the Boot Sectore is - and from the Boot Sector that's where Windows will load the files necessary to boot to the OS.

After that, then you get to the missing system hive type errors. They are most often caused by file system issues - but can be due to a missing/corrupted file - or even a bad hard drive cable! You can replace the corrupted file - but then you've got to find a suitable replacement (that file is tied to the details of your system - so one from another system won't work). Then, if too many changes have been made in your system since the replacement file was created - it won't work either. That's why I usually recommend a repair install at this point (after ruling out hardware and file system problems).
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#9 CID1

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 06:32 PM

If the problem is with the access of the drive while booting, the FIXBOOT and FIXMBR commands (along with the BOOTCFG command) can be used to regain access (presuming that everything else is OK). Basically, the BIOS looks for the MBR to get information on where the Boot Sectore is - and from the Boot Sector that's where Windows will load the files necessary to boot to the OS.


Hello John. CHKDSK /R unfortunately did not work. I am going to attempt the above quoted. Do I simply type in FIXBOOT then Y to confirm followed by FIXMBR and then BOOTCFG or are ther more steps to it? Could this fix the problem? Will this effect my computer in away that will prevent other fixes?

How do I go about "imaging" this hardrive so that I can reimage in the event I have to repair install? What do you recommend for doing this?

Thanks!
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#10 usasma

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 06:58 PM

If chkdsk failed, then I'd have to suspect that the hard drive was the issue. Repairing the Master Boot Record (MBR), the Boot Sector, or the boot.ini file probably won't help.

You can use FIXMBR and FIXBOOT without any issues (and by answering Y for Yes when it asks you if you're sure). The BOOTCFG thing is a bit more complicated, so you'll have to read this article on it: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291980

I would first recommend a bootable hard drive diagnostic from the manufacturer of your hard drive. There's links to the most common one's in this topic: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/28744/hard-drive-installation-and-diagnostic-tools/

Imaging a faulty installation of Windows will yield a faulty image - and when you restore the image, you'll restore the faults. You'll have to access the hard drive in some way in order to image it. The easiest way is with a boot disk with an imaging utility on it - and an external drive to store the image. Acronis True Image has this ability, but it's about $50 US
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