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Windows XP disc would not let me repair


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#1 tyl604

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 06:01 PM

Emachines desktop T2698 computer with new 250 gig hard disk and 1 gig memory. Running Windows XP Home Edition. It crashed and when I rebooted I got the message:

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 repair.

So I popped in Disk #1 of three CD's from Emachines called "Restore CD." When it booted up I only had the option to reinstall Windows or something else (forget) - something like go to command prompt. I hit 'r" through about four attempts and it would never work. I knew if I reinstalled Windows I would lose everything, so after a soul searching 24 hour period, I finally packed the computer up and took it to the repair shop. Must not have been a big problem because they repaired Windows XP and I got it back the same day. Works fine and I did not lose anything.

Here is my question - what the heck do I need to burn so I can reboot and fix Windows XP if this happens again - and where do I find it?

Thanks for your help. Also wonder why the Emachines Restore CD would not let me repair Windows XP.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 07:48 PM

Have you read your owner's manual?

These usually contain instructions on how to use recovery/restore CDs for repair/reinstall of the operating system.

For your convenience, http://downloads.emachines.com/userguides/...exgen2_3_en.pdf

I don't see anything about "repair" as a feature of these disks, but I'm pretty myopic.

<<You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows setup using the original setup CD-ROM.
Select 'r' at the first screen to repair.>>

That is a canned XP error message. It assumes that the user has a Microsoft XP install CD, which has all XP system files.

You don't have a Microsoft XP install CD...you have a set of recovery/restore CDs which have bee assembled by the manufacturer of your system.

<<Here is my question - what the heck do I need to burn so I can reboot and fix Windows XP if this happens again - and where do I find it?>>

To accomplish the repair option cited in that error message...you would need an XP install CD.

If you are prudent, you would ask one of your associates who actually has a Microsoft XP install CD (not a recovery/restore CD) to burn you a copy of her/his disk (perfectly legal). You could then actually repair XP using the tools which are inherent in that CD...including doing a repair install (no files lost) or running the sfc /scannow command (to replace missing system files).

The CD obtained must be the same version as you have on your system....XP Home for XP Home, XP Pro for XP Pro. No mixing.

In order to do a repair install or to run sfc /scannow...there is an additional requirement that the CD used be the same SP-level as the system. If the system reflects SP3, the CD must contain SP3.

Louis

#3 tyl604

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:08 PM

The link shows exactly the owner's manual which I consulted when I tried to use the restore CD. Nothing in the book shows how to repair Windows.

To tell the truth I do not think anyone gets the Windows XP install disks. I bought this eMachines computer from Tiger Direct and they sent only the restore disks. Do you think I could get one free from Microsoft if I xeroxed the "official" Windows XP booklet with the hologram - the one whose shrinkwrap I finally removed this week after four years?

Other than that I really do not see how to get those disks.

Thanks for your quick and thorough reply.

This is quite a good forum.

#4 Stang777

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 12:05 AM

I do not believe they would consider that proof of purchase. From what I have found out about getting replacement disks from Microsoft, they will only send a replacement disk if you send them the receipt for original disk you bought along with the product code from that disk.

If you are going to buy one and cannot find one in a store, it is still possible to buy them online, but they are around 175 bucks.

SoftwareOutlet.com still shows to be selling them. I can never make a link to them work, so just do a search for XP Home in the search box on their site. That site has been around a long time and I believe it is a trustworthy one. I purchased my WP disk from them many years ago and I had no problems with them.

Apparently, Tiger Direct has the OEM versions for way less than the other ones at software outlet...
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/ca...c.asp?CatId=672

Edited by Stang777, 24 July 2009 - 12:12 AM.


#5 joseibarra

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 06:10 AM

Did you experience some kind of power interruption, non graceful shutdown or aborted restart?

Sometimes after such an event, the trouble is inablility to read the hard disk properly to find the files necessary for XP to load - in your case it is the one called SYSTEM. The 5 registry files needed from that folder for XP to start are:

SYSTEM (first :thumbsup: )
SOFTWARE
SECURITY
SAM
DEFAULT

The files could really be missing, corrupt, or merely unreachable when XP trues to get them, but at least XP is trying.

If it was me and did not have a proper XP installation CD, I would create a bootable CD that just contains Recovery Console, boot on that, and start with a chkdsk /r. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may be that easy. It could get more complicated.

However, it is easy to try and beats a Repair or reinstall which might not work in the first place if the file system has been compromised by power failure, etc. The other options only become more unpalatable (what have you got to lose :flowers: ).

Here is one of many SPAM filled sites to download the xp_rec_con.iso image:

http://www.mediafire.com/?ueyyzfymmig

Get a free, easy to use burning application to create your bootable CD here:

http://www.imgburn.com/

That process may take some practice if you have never made a bootable CD, but I know it works.

A bootable XP disk would be nice to have but even if I had that, I would still try the Recovery Console, chkdsk /r thing first.

Here is a Microsoft KB that goes into some detail about how to attempt to recover if the files really are really missing or corrupt (I don't think that is you yet) and it is a good top to bottom read before starting to perhaps achieve the ah-ha! understanding of the problem:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

Edited by joseibarra, 24 July 2009 - 06:23 AM.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.


#6 hamluis

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:30 AM

LOL...generally speaking (these days)...users who buy systems from Dell, HP, Compaq, Gateway, etc...may or may not get an XP install CD. Emphasis on "not".

The reason for this is that these manufacturers often build recovery/restore procedures into the systems they sell...and don't consider it necessary to furnish a copy of the MS install CD.

http://ask-leo.com/i_dont_have_an_installa...i_need_one.html

Users who build/assemble their own (or others) systems...generally (not considering the illegal copies afloat) buy a copy of Windows if they should elect to use it as the operating system. In actuality, they are paying for the right to use Windows...rather than the CD containing files...but it just happens to make it much easier to install Windows...if you have all the files readily available on CD, along with a valid license to use that operating system.

Louis




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