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WINDOWS\SYSTEM32/CONFIG\SYSTEM missing ...


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#1
Alexoflondon

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Hi,

I guess the title sums things up...

I am trying to get XP Home booting on my brother's laptop. He claims he did not get an XP cd (is this something that ordinarily happens?!), so I'm using my XP Home cd for any repair functionality it might
help with.

Here is the error 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 start repair.


I have tried various fixes suggested on other threads, but no luck. CHDSK doesn't make any difference, and I don't seem to be able to retrieve it from anywhere...

Can I put some kind of boot magic on a USB (no floppy drive) to help?

Appreciate any help (I am in the UK).
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#2
piper

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Hi, and welcome to Geeks to Go!

Did this laptop have Windows XP Home on it? And does it have a Certificate of Authenticity that includes the License Key?

Is the laptop branded or custom built? If branded, which?

Is your WXPH CD an OEM disc or retail disc? In other words, is it a shiny silver holographic disc or one that came with your computer (like from Dell)?

This may be a corrupted registry, in which case Microsoft article 307545 may help. Please read over this carefully.

Good luck.
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#3
Alexoflondon

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Hi,

Thanks for the welcome and support.

To answer your questions:

- Yes, the laptop had Win XP Home running. The C of A is on the underside, yes. (Just found this now!).

- The laptop is Packard Bell E2-316; I presume with these specs:

http://www.studentco...note-e2-316.htm

- My own XP disc is the holographic version.

-----------------

Trying the Microsoft article 307545, after typing:

md tmp
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak


I get:

COPY does not support wildcards or directory copies.

:whistling:
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#4
piper

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Let me do a test - I'll be right back.
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#5
Alexoflondon

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k...thanks...
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#6
Alexoflondon

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It's slightly odd, since I did actually see and try this article before earlier today, but after the above lines, the the file referred to couldn't be located (which actually seems not too crazy, since isn't "c:\windows\system32\config\system" the file that is missing in the first place, hence the message on booting...?)...

For your info. I can get to c:\windows\system32\config\system

But on DIR, all that's inside is two empty files...
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#7
piper

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So when you're in Recovery Console and you change directories all the way to c:\windows\system32\config, the DIR command only shows two files? That can't be good.

You'll need to contact Packard Bell about getting a Windows Installation disc, as your disc won't work with his CD key (his is OEM and yours is retail).

In the meantime, you can try running a Repair Install from your disc. I don't know if it will work with the different versions (OEM vs Retail), but it's worth a shot.

*** Be aware, repairing Windows does not cause you to lose any data or files, but you will have to reinstall other software you had installed, as well as device drivers and all the Windows hotfixes and updates that you've installed since you put the computer intos service.

To repair Windows, put the Windows CD in your CD drive. Power the computer down, then power it back on.

When the "Press any key to boot from CD" message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD. If you don't get this message the first time, reboot and press F12 for the boot menu when the Windows splash screen first appears.

When you see the following message displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen, press ENTER....

To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.....

At this point an option to press R to enter the Recovery Console is displayed.
Do not select this option.....

On the Windows XP Licensing Agreement screen, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.

Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press the R key to repair Windows XP......

Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.....

This will repair XP and put everything back to as it first was.....

Again, you will have to reinstall any Hotfixes and OS updates. You may have to reinstall other software you had installed.
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#8
Alexoflondon

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Thanks:

I will try this, having noted your warning...here goes...

Will let you know...
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#9
Alexoflondon

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"On the Windows XP Licensing Agreement screen, press F8 to agree to the license agreement."

- OK, NP.

"Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press the R key to repair Windows XP......"

- ? Sorry, no R option here..., just ENTER for set up; C for partition; D for delete. You mean ENTER for set up, right?

"Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup....."
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#10
piper

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I've been checking on some things for you. Not having the Repair option means something is corrupt.

1. Look at this article for repairing the master boot record.

2. Then try running CHKDSK /r again from the recovery console.

Put the Windows XP CD in the cd-rom drive and shut the machine OFF. Power the machine back on and watch the screen for the prompt "Press any key to boot from cd"...press the spacebar once.

This should take you to a "Welcome to Setup" screen...Press R to load Recovery Console"

On the next screen, select your operating system by typing the number to the left of it. In most cases, this will be 1. C:\WINDOWS...so type 1.

If you are prompted to type a password, leave it blank and press "Enter".

This should take you to a command prompt...C:\WINDOWS>

Type chkdsk /r and press "Enter". Note the space before /r. You may be told the volume is in use and asked if you want to schedule this to run on the next boot...type Y and press "Enter". This should start the chkdsk operation.

If the machine doesn't reboot automatically, but returns to command prompt, type exit and press "Enter". The machine should reboot...do not press a key to boot to cd...let it boot to the HDD.

This will be a very long check and may appear to start over a few times...this is normal, let it finish. 60 to 90 minutes for this check is not unusual. It should then automatically boot to Windows.

3. If that doesn't do it, you can try a Parallel Installation of Windows. This will install Windows into a different folder, which will allow you to boot the computer and backup your data. This is intended to be a temporary measure only. Once you get your disc from Packard Bell, I'd format the hard drive and reinstall.

Parallel Installation of Windows XP
(Courtesy of Wannabe1)

Boot to the Windows XP installation cd by pressing a key when the "Press any key to boot from cd" prompt appears at the top of the screen.
  • At the "Welcome to Setup" screen, press Enter to set up Windows XP.
  • Accept the License Agreement by pressing F8
  • With your current installation selected in the box, press Esc
  • Select C: Partition1 [NTFS] in the box and press Enter
  • To continue setup using this partition, press C
  • Now you should see formatting options...choose the last one, Leave the current file system intact (no changes), and press Enter
  • To use a different folder, press Esc
  • Name the folder WINDOWS0 (just type a 0 (zero)) and press Enter
The Windows installation should begin. This will install Windows to a new folder, leaving your data intact. Any programs installed on the old directory will have to be reinstalled to the new one. Device drivers will also have to be installed for all the hardware to work as it should.

The data will be located in the Documents and Settings folder (C:\Documents and Settings) under your old user account name...so when you set up the new installation, give yourself a slightly different user account name.
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#11
Alexoflondon

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OK...thanks Linda, I will go through this tomorrow and see where I stand. Many thanks for your help... I'll donate a little, but a bit short of cash at the moment. Will, update you on this thread.

Regards,

Alex.
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#12
Alexoflondon

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Hi Linda,

I'm in :whistling:

Installed XP in a seperate folder, and am now looking at the beautiful meadows...

This installation gives me 30 days to register online, so hopefully that will give me time to retrieve any important files, order a new install disc and re-create a clean system.

Thanks so much fo your help. It's seriously appreciated. Give me a few days to send a few dollars your way. In the meatime, thank you so much!

A.
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#13
piper

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Wonderful. I'm glad you got the system booted :whistling:
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#14
piper

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You may need to take ownership of the files under the corrupt installation. Here's a link with instructions for disabling simple file sharing (and changing permissions for folders) in Windows XP Home.

Good luck.
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