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Can't load windows xp, can't reinstall

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#1 dreamwrthy


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Posted 20 November 2010 - 11:43 PM

I don't recall how it started (I'm in the process of buying a house, so I've set this problem aside for a while), but, the bottom line is my dell dimension e510 stopped running windows. I try to start it, I get a message that "the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system". I hit "r" and it just tries to reboot again. CHKDISK fixes all kinds of errors, but when I try to reinstall, it hangs at "installation will complete in 39 minutes". Shift F10 gets me nothing. Safe mode, last known good configuration...all roads lead back to the missing or corrupt error message. Is it dead? Do I just need to pull the drive to try to save my data? If so, what do I need to buy to connect this hard drive to my laptop? Thanks for any help.

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#2 dc3


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Posted 21 November 2010 - 12:41 AM

Do you have the installation CD for the operating system? If not, do you know anyone that you can borrow one from? It will need to be the same version as your, eg Home or Pro.

If you do have the CD, run sfc with the scannow option, this will scan and repair important Windows files.


1. Locate your Windows XP installation CD. If you don't have one, you'll need to locate a directory on your system that's named"i386" (without the quotes). This directory may be on a hidden partition on your hard drive.

2. Go to Start, then to Run, and type in "SFC.EXE /SCANNOW" (without the quotes - and with a space between the SFC.EXE and the /SCANNOW). Then press Enter. (For VISTA, go to Start and type in the above information, then go to the top of the box and right click on SFC.EXE /SCANNOW and select "Run As Administrator")

3. The program may (or it may not) ask you for your Windows XP installation CD - please insert it at the prompt. If it doesn't ask you for the CD this means that it wasn't necessary to replace any files.

4. In the event the the system asks you for the CD, you must visit Windows Update immediately after the scan is completed (Please note that there won't be any confirmation dialog - the program will just exit without telling you anything).

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#3 dreamwrthy

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 01:55 AM

I have the disk, but the reinstallation process stalls at "39 minutes remaining". Windows won't load at all so there's no start button for me to click, and I can't get a DOS prompt

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