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Cannot access Recovery Console


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#1
inspectordoppler

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I keep getting this problem when starting Windows XP Pro:

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root\system32\ntoskrnl.exe"

Windows XP does eventually boot successfully after a few attempts but it's a persistent problem and I want to resolve it by replacing the corrupt file.
Thanks to your great help at "geeks to go" I've got a Windows XP Pro Reinstallation CD with Service Pack 2, so I can now repair the file.

But I've encountered a new problem when trying to repair Windows XP on my old Dell Dimension 8300 system.
(1) On rebooting I press F12 and choose to install Windows using the IDE CD-ROM device. Windows boots up from the Reinstallation CD with SP2.
(2) When I press 'R' to go into the Recovery Console, I get the message:

"Set up did not find any hard disk drives installed on your computer. Make sure any hard disk drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer, and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct. This may involve running a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program."

This is a specific Dell problem but I haven't found a solution in their quite empty support forums and speaking to one of their advisors is usually a nightmare!

I can still start up Windows on my computer - Is there any way that I can repair the file in Windows XP rather than the Recovery Console which refuses to work? If I cannot resolve this issue I may have to reinstall Windows XP.

This website has already provided me with some great advice. I hope someone can help here.
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#2
jaxisland

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Try following the steps in this link

Dont go into the recovery console, use the first recovery tool that brings you to DOS.
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#3
inspectordoppler

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Thanks. I got very lucky and found a thread suggesting that I also had to insert my SATA floppy disk in order to load the SATA RAID drives aswell before I could access the Recovery Console.

Once in the Recovery Console, I entered the following command:
expand d:\i386\ntoskrnl.ex_ c:\windows\system32

The computer responded with:
The file name, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

I have a single processor but also tried the instruction for a multi-processor system:
expand d:\i386\ntoskrnl.ex_ c:\windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe
and still got the same negative response.

So I entered:
chkdsk /r

After about an hour and a half the computer responded with:
Check disk found and fixed one or more errors on this volume.

My computer has rebooted OK this time and I hope that this has solved the problem.
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#4
WinCrazy

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Sometimes XP will choke on a corrupt OS file but won't tell you what that file is, so you won't know what to replace. In this more general situation follow these 2 steps only possible if you have an XP Installation CD:

Boot off the XP Install CD. Press R at the appropriate prompt to run the Recovery Console instead of doing an install.
From the Recovery Console command line enter the command:
> chkdsk c: /r
This will fix any file system errors, but will not fix any corrupted OS files.

Now enter the command:
> sfc /scannow

This will replace the OS files with ones from the Install CD.
You will need to reinstall the updates/hotfixes again after the system restarts into the Desktop.
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#5
inspectordoppler

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Great advice, WinCrazy. I inserted my Windows XP disk, rebooted Windows, selected "Run" and typed in "sfc /scannow" and the process went smoothly.

Thanks for explaining the difference between "chkdsk" and "sfc /scannow".
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#6
WinCrazy

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I stated flatly:

Sometimes XP will choke on a corrupt OS file but won't tell you what that file is, so you won't know what to replace. In this more general situation follow these 2 steps only possible if you have an XP Installation CD:


This isn't always true. When using SFC it requires access to the \I386 folder on the XP Installation CD to compare OS files to and get any fresh copies from. Some store-bought systems actually have a \I386 folder copied to somewhere on C: and this can be used. You just need to direct SFC to this folder.

Also, some store-bought PC Restore and Recovery CDs also have the \I386 folder on them and this can be used.
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