Ususally the "Missing or Corrupt \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM" message indicates a corrupted registry. There are several things to try, and I suppose it depends on how comfortable you are with the instructions and whether there is data on the computer you need to save. And yes, the Reinstallation CD you have is the one you need.First
, try to Repair Windows. See this G2G Guide
for more information.
*** 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.Second
, see MS Article 307545
for detailed instructions on replacing the registry. This process is fairly involved, but should get your computer running if the Repair Install doesn't work.Third
, do a Parallel Installation of Windows. This process a temporary fix - it installs Windows into a different folder and gives you the opportunity to get the machine running and make backups of all your files. The following instructions are 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.
If you have to do the Parallel installation, once you get all your data backed up, I'd suggest formatting the hard drive and installing Windows fresh.
Good luck! Please post the results.