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No Boot - I've already searched the forums and read the stickies


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17 replies to this topic

#1 shojen

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 03:54 PM

Hello All,

I've got a laptop that will not boot into XP with the error WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM file missing or corrupted. The boot options (F8) do not work returning the same error. The boot menu (F2) has a disk/hardware check utility that checks out fine. It will not boot/load any Windows XP CD/DVD for recovery console giving the same error.

I can however boot Linux from a CD in which I used to copy critical data from the laptop.

I would like to wipe the drive clean and reinstall XP but how can I do that if the laptop will not load anything to do with Windows? Is there some utility that will format the hard drive in preparation for an XP install with generic CD/DVD ROM drivers?

Thanks,


Shane

Edited by shojen, 22 September 2011 - 04:21 PM.


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#2 Allan

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:07 PM

Let's start at the top. If you want to format and reinstall then just boot to your XP CD and choose the option to format before reinstalling. If you want to repair the problem, do this:

Boot to the XP CD and select R (Recovery Console)

At the command prompt type:

ren c:\windows\system32\config\system system.old
copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config

Reboot

#3 shojen

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:11 PM

Thanks for the quick reply, but it will not boot to any XP CD. I cannot get to the recovery console. It generates the same error.

#4 Allan

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:13 PM

You need to go into the bios and make sure the cd drive is the first device in the boot order.

#5 shojen

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:17 PM

It is as you suggest, still generates the same error.

#6 Allan

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:18 PM

Not possible. If you are booting to the cd you CANNOT get that error

#7 shojen

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:34 PM

Well, it does, lol. Yes, it is strange and something I have never seen. Here's the deal and I am trying to explain this as best as possible. The computer WILL boot from the CD/DVD ROM if I have an OS other than Windows on the disk. This is how I was able to access the hard drive to pull data from it onto an external drive through a Linux OS. In the BIOS the CD/DVD drive is the first order of boot process.

I have considered some sort of virus has infected bootsect.ini in which case any form of Windows is moot. Which brings me to my question, how can I wipe the drive in preparation for an XP install without using any OEM Windows utilities? Is it possible?

#8 Allan

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:45 PM

I'm telling you that if your system is configured to boot from the cd drive first and if you insert an original, retail XP CD in the drive, it WILL boot to that drive, There is no virus on earth that can prevent it from doing so.

#9 Eyesee

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:04 PM

Allan is exactly correct about this.
If you boot to an XP cd it is not possible for you to be getting that error.

Exactly what does it say on the label of the cd that you are trying to boot from?
Maybe it is not what you think it is.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#10 OldPhil

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 07:57 PM

If you have two CD's try the other, I was stumped for a few minutes when I went to reload my Acer. The labels lead you to try to start with the wrong one.

Phil

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#11 shojen

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 09:51 AM

Guys, thanks again for the replies. I know this is weird and I know the standard protocol for troubleshooting technical difficulties as I am a computer tech for our company. I've seen a lot of things in my day, but this is not standard. It's not normal. It isn't what we know or experienced. I have explained the situation exactly as it happens and I was in your shoes just two days ago.

So, since there is no way of explaining this situation effectively, I have taken some videos of the whole process which will be uploaded/served very shortly.

These videos will show everything I have explained and show the steps in which you have suggested (which were attempted multiple times before I began this post).

To recap, the CD/DVD ROM drive is the first option and "on top" in the list for boot order. (I've also tried various USB techniques which all fail.) The F12 Boot Menu options for "Internal HDD, CD/DVD Drive, NIC" and the F8 options for "Safe Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, Debugging Mode, etc." all generate the same error WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM file missing or corrupted. The (F2) BIOS configuration options will show the boot sequence as CD/DVD first and on top.

Inserting ANY form of Windows CD generates the error. Please get this next part, inserting a Linux OS CD boots fine. This tells us that the boot sequence works and so does the CD/DVD ROM drive. It also tells us that there is something terribly wrong with something that we do not understand, which is why I am posting here.

I've used this site countless times in virus removal and system restoration support for many of our clients. This is the best place for many brains to come together to figure this out.

Again, videos will be up shortly to show every step.

Thank you for your time and information, I'm sure we can figure this out!

#12 .X.

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:06 AM

If the Linux CD boots fine but the Windows CD doesn't then it's obviously a problem with the CD.

#13 Plumber

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:15 AM

Hi,this will not solve the problem and I don't mean to offend you Allan but it is possible cuz the same thing happened to me,Tony.

#14 Allan

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:17 AM

No offense taken, but it is absolutely not possible.

#15 shojen

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:25 AM

UPDATE

I expanded on OldPhil's suggestion about other CD's. I used a Linux OS CD to initiate a boot process and unethically ejected the Linux CD and inserted the Windows XP CD in process. Guess what? I can now access the recovery console!

So, why didn't the Windows XP CD work on it's own? I'm using the same Windows CD.




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