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Missing system32 config system

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I have a Dell Inspiron 1501 Laptop. Turned it on and it came up "Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM " So I found microsoft help bulletin 307545 and followed it through part 1 with the Recovery Console.

When I did the "copy c\repair\system I got an error message saying file could not be found. So I could not finish the rest. NOW WHAT? I can't lose what's on the hard drive, I just can't. What can I do short of taking out the harddrive and slaving it to another computer and then reformatting? Can I really just reinstall OS and keep all my files?
Please help---
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Try this:

1. keep tapping F8 repeatedly as soon as you turn on your laptop
2. you should get the "Advance Startup Options" menu.
3. Select "Last known good configuration" using the up/down arrow keys, then press Enter.

Since you asked, yes, you will lose everything that's currently on the C: drive if you re-install Windows on to it.
That applies whether you re-install using Microsoft XP CD or a Dell recovery disc.
That is why the importance of keeping backups of your files somewhere else cannot be stressed too much.
It's situations like yours where those backups would have proved their worth, and you could simply have re-installed
Windows if all else failed, without losing anything that you didn't have a copy of.

Hard disks and operating systems will probably never be 100% reliable. I keep all my files in triplicate. One copy
in 'My Documents' on the C: drive, and another copy on each of two other separate hard disks. The money I paid for those two other hard disks
is money well spent in my opinion, and pales into insignifance compared to the real cost of losing my precious family photos for want of a few quid.

Edited by pip22, 30 April 2008 - 03:15 AM.

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Thanks for the help.
I tried the F8 first before I did anything else. I got same notification about missing/corrupt system32 config file. After following instructions from microsoft I re-tried F8 and got same notification about missing system32 config file.
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use puppy linux to save your data
puppy will load and run totally in ram...

get puppy linux here...Get puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso download it and burn it to cd ...if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files go here and get burncdcc ..a small FAST no frills iso burning program...

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ......in this case its puppy linux
3. Select the ISO file
4. Suggestion ==> Check the option "Fix close"
5. Click on "Start"

make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....put the cd in the cd drive..boot your computer....puppy will boot and run totally in ram...if your hardware is is good working order you will know...
after you get it running and your at the desktop...you take the puppy linux cd out and then you can use the burner to copy all yor data to cd/dvds
you can also use it to backup your data to a external usb harddrive..just have it hooked to the computer when you boot up with puppy...
quick guide for saving data...music..files on a system that will not boot using puppy Linux..

after you get to puppy desktop..
click on the drives icon...looks like a flash drive...top row..it will list all the drives connected to

your computer...

click on the red icon for the drive you want to mount...in this case its a flash drive ...puppy will

mount the drive..the drive icon turns green when its mounted...
minimize the drives mounter window..you will need it again in a few minutes..
drag the right edge of it sideways to shrink it to its narrowest size...then drag the window to the
right edge of the screen...

now click on the icon that looks like a filing cabinet (kind of yellow) on the main drive...it should
already be green..
you will see a list of all the folders on the main drive Usually your C: drive..shrink that window to

the narrowest you can..drag that window to the left side of the screen...
at this point you should have 2 windows open on your desktop..the flash drive on the right side..
go back to the folders on the C: drive...click on the documents and settings folder...then your user
name or all users..find the folders that has your data..
drag and drop the folder with the data you want to make copies of to the flash drive window...

your options are to move ..copy ect...JUST COPY..if its to big you will have to open the folder and
drag and drop individual files until the flash drive is full...(I have a 120 GB external USB drive for
big data recovery jobs and a 4 GB flash drive for the smaller jobs)..after you get the files copied to
the flash drive...
Click on the drives mounter you minimized earlier
UNMOUNT THE FLASH DRIVE by clicking on the green icon..you will once in awhile get error messages when
unmounting the drive..ignore them..when the flash drive icon turns red again its safe to remove the
flash drive..trot on over (stroll if you want to look cool) to another computer and plug in the flash

drive and copy all the data files ( I drag and drop) to the other computer..
make sure the other computer can read them...

now delete the data on the flash drive...take it back to the misbehaving computer and plug it in

again..click on the drives icon again and repeat until you have all your data transferred to the working

Edited by happyrck, 30 April 2008 - 04:23 PM.

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Ok, I did it, but not quite with that. I had used DOS and found a CD Snapshot and a restore point. MY question now is, "is my computer stable"? Do I need to change anything or rename anything to keep it stable? Or am I good to go? Thanks
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