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can't start windows XP in safe mode

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new user D

new user D

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Help! We have a Dell. We can't acces windows XP repair. We can't start Windows at all not even in safe mode. We get a message on the black screen that says windows can't be started because file may be corrupt or missing (windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.)...then when we try to start windows in with the CD to repair....we make it all the way to the blue screen that loads files then gets "hung up" on Setup is starting Windows. No further activity continues. We are able to view the BIOS screen (F2) but not to start up in safe mode...no matter how we press (F8). I have some pictures that I would like to save or access and a few documents. We have two internal hard drives (Master © 80 gig and Slave (D) 20 gig). Are we able to get back into the system by changing the "identity" of the two drives (Master (D)....Slave © ) then accessing drive D?
If not, how can we utilize repair and /or retrieve data & pictures before reformatting?

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