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Okay, firstly. I'm not a genius with computers, i possibly have above average knowlege, but i don't claim to be exceedingly good with them.

Some basics of my computer:
3.4 ghz Pentium D Processor
Gigabyte motherboard (Not sure what model, quite recent, from 2006 i believe)
1gb ram
200gb hard drive
Running Windows XP Professional

Here's what happened firstly.

I have this lame "download limit" and i'm limited to 1gb download/upload a month, or it starts to cost a heap, and i was right near maxing the limit, so i hadn't downloaded anything for at least a week, and barely been on the internet.
I was just playing Dawn of War on it, and then left to go and watch TV for about 2 hours, when i returned to my computer, it was on a screen that said I had a missing or corrupt file.

This file was "windows/system32/config/system" I believe.

Anyway, it said i can try repairing the file with my XP install CD, so i tried that. (Not actually, mine, it is a friends) But because it's a really dodge CD it won't boot from the disc, so that idea was gone.

After discussing with a few friends how i could fix it, i decided i'd just try and retrieve some of my files from it and format the whole drive.

I put my hard drive into my parents computer and booted from their disk. I then just grabbed the files i wanted and copied them onto that computer.

Next i put my drive back into my computer and booted it up using a '98 SE boot disk into DOS, where i formatted the drive. I then installed Windows 98 SE (because that CD is one that I own myself and it isn't dodge :whistling: ). But when i tried to install XP over top of it, after it restarted my computer near the start of the install (after copying the install files) it gave me an "UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_DISK" error, and i freaked out coz i thought my disk had died. I restarted the computer from the hard drive again and '98 booted up fine, so yeah.

I talked to a friend about this, and overcame the problem but running fdisk and deleting the partition, creating a new one, and install '98 and then XP over that.

Everything was fine, and i put the files back on my computer and resumed as normal. The next day it worked fine and i took it over to a friends house, where we LANed 4 computers and played Unreal Tournament for ages. The next day when i got up (today) i turned my computer on and BAM, back to the windows/system32/config/system file being missing or corrupted.

At first, i thought it was a virus that had attached itself to the file or whatnot. But i can't explain the second crash with that, and it can't have come through the transferred files, as my parents computer has the same files on it, and it is still fine (and it had a lot less virus protection than mine).

So, seeing as i thought it might still be a virus, i put it into a friends computer and ran virus scans and stuff on my drive, they came up with nothing.

I'm pretty much just really confused about this whole situation, thinking of just buying a new harddrive and storing like music or something on that one.

I was wondering if anyone could give me some light on this situation.

Oh, and another note about this. The first time my computer crashed, i had been running FAT32 (I chose to just upgrade 98 to XP rather than a complete install). But the second time it was running NTFS.

And i should also say my computer had been running perfectly without any virus or hardware problems for about 8 months prior to the crash.

Oh, and it's a custom built computer (built in-store though) not a company made.


Btw, One of my friends suggested that while installing windows, save it to a different location. So instead of a folder called "Windows" save it to like "OS - Windows" or something. His reason behind this was that "noob viruses" have a set path they follow to find files they want to attack, rather than searching or something. Is this at all true?

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