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\Windows\System32\config\system


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Akex2388

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:40 PM

Hello. One of the computers at my work has received this error message when turned on

File is missing or corrupt:
\windows\system32\config\system
You can attempt to repair the file by starting Windows Setup using the original setup CD-Rom.

I've looked in several different places for how to fix this issue. Some have been involved working with the recovery console and they have pretty much gotten me nowhere.

I looked at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545 which seemed reasonable. It had this long list of lines to type in right here:

md tmp
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak

delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

The line you see up above in red is a file that couldn't be found in the system. I hope it can somehow be recovered or something.

I have considered slaving the hard drive which is a Samsung HD080HJ/P 80GB SATA, but I can't find any good instructions on that, plus I don't know if it can even be slaved at all. If anyone has good tips on that, I'd appreciate it.

Anyways, nothing is working for me now. I don't know if the drive could be just toast or if I'm just not trying hard enough. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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#2 Allan

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:44 PM

Boot to the XP CD and choose the SECOND repair option, allowing XP to install on top of itself. After completion you'll need to go to Windows Update and download & install all updates (except for hardware & driver related updates, which should never be downloaded from Windows Update - only from the OEM websites). Here is a clear tutorial on how to perform a repair install: http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/topic/138-how-to-repair-windows-xp/


#3 Akex2388

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 11:40 AM

After I enter to perform the repair in the Windows XP setup, I get this message:

The following list shows the existing partitions and unpartitioned space on this computer:

C: Partition1 [NTFS]


I have a choice to either install, delete, or quit with the thing shown above. Which should I do?

#4 Allan

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 11:53 AM

there should be an option to repair the existing installation.

#5 Akex2388

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 01:14 PM

The screen that gives me the option to either repair the selected windows installation by pressing "r" or install a fresh copy by pressing escape key doesn't show up. Instead, what happened is when I press F8 to agree to the terms of setting up XP, I get the message I mentioned in my last post in blue. I select the install option on the partition to see what happens, then I get a confirmation message stating that I choose to install XP on a partition that contains another operating system. It asked me if I want to confirm that. I cancelled out since it's highly not recommended to install that.

Should I just go with backing up everything onto another hard drive, then installing a new copy of XP? Thanks.

#6 Allan

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:41 PM

There is clearly something wrong - you don't have a backup of the registry hive and you can't run repair. Yeah, I'm afraid to say that if I were you I'd back up all critical data then format and do a clean install.

#7 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:00 AM

The repair folder (c:\windows\repair\) may not exist on some OEM installations (such as HP, Dell machines) and I suspect that is why you are having the problem described in your first post. What is the make & model of the computer in question?

Do you still need assistance? Let me know if so.

There are several steps that I suggest doing when faced with this situation (reported corruption/absence of the SYSTEM registry hive):
  • Test the hard drive to ensure that a failing hard drive is not causing the file corruption.
  • Run chkdsk /r from the Recovery Console to fix any file corruption issues on the Windows system partition.
  • If running chkdsk does not fix the problem and allow Windows to start, then perform a registry hive replacement from a restore point created by Windows System Restore (System Restore must be enabled and have created restore points).

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#8 Allan

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:58 AM

It's the combination of the missing hive along with the fact that the installation disc doesn't recognize a valid installation that is causing concern for me. However, System Restore is certainly a good "last" attempt before a reformat and reinstall.

Here are the instructions for starting System Restore from the command prompt:

When the system first boots start tapping the F8 key until you get to the Advanced Startup Options Screen. Then Choose "Safe Mode With Command Prompt...
When the command prompt is displayed, type the following: [systemroot]\system32\restore\rstrui.exe (the system root folder is the folder to which you installed the XP operating system files, usually c:\windows).

Press Enter

Now you can follow the instructions on the screen to use System Restore

Edited by Allan, 06 June 2012 - 06:58 AM.


#9 Akex2388

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:17 PM

I'm going to go ahead and back up the data and do a fresh install.

#10 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 04:13 PM

No worries: Good luck! :thumbup2:
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