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We got this message & couldn't get our OS to boot up on our work/home computer, so we bought a new hard drive & loaded XP Pro onto it with our original CD so that I could load QuickBooks & make an invoice for a customer. It loaded just fine with our original CD. I went online to find out if there was any way for us to recover the data from our old hard drive (my husband - the "sexy dad" [lol ;p] - was sure that it was a hard drive problem & it was hopelessly fried), and when I searched the error message we'd been getting I found out it's apparently a VERY common problem with XP! I found the "How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting" support article on microsoft.com (#307545 - I've seen it called the KB article/file in another forum) & I printed it (& a couple other articles it recommended printing as well) so that we could try it.
We hooked up the old hard drive & proceeded to follow the instructions in the article. And quickly encountered problem #1: our original Windows XP Pro CD won't bring up the "Welcome to Setup" screen.
So, we found a copy of Windows XP Home Edition from our old home computer & put it in the CD-ROM drive, and were able to get to the "Welcome to Setup" screen & enter the recovery console as directed. We entered all of the command prompts in part one of the article (md tmp, then the copy c:\windows\system32... & delete c:\windows\system32... & copy c:\windows\repair... commands) & then typed exit to quit the recovery console. Lo and behold, it gives us the same message as before. We managed to get to a screen (by pressing F8 after restart) that let us choose the option to start in safe mode but when it restarted it just brought up the same error message.
We are at our wit's end. We tried your advice on how to repair XP by reloading it (putting the original CD in & not choosing the recovery console option), but our original XP Pro CD won't even bring up the "Welcome to Setup" screen, & my husband was afraid of losing data by loading the XP Home Edition CD (when we loaded it, there was no Windows XP operating system found). We even tried the advice to try FIXBOOT (it didn't work) or FIXMPR (does not seem to be a viable option since we're trying to recover data that's on the hard drive). I really need to access the data on this hard drive & at least print it out if I can't back it up or copy it.
Please help. Do you think we need to take the hard drive to a computer shop? (I'm concerned about how much they'd want to charge us, and the last time we took a hard drive to a computer shop they couldn't fix it, charged us $100 anyway, and my husband ended up reformatting it & fixing it himself - but it's not the same hard drive as the one we're trying to access now ;p) I just got a laptop with XP Pro on it; is there any way to connect the 2 computers via USB & repair it from this computer somehow?
Thank you for any help you can give! It is greatly appreciated! :)
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    Malware Removal Dude

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Hi there :)

Are you capable of connecting both harddrives to the computer? If you can, then when you boot into the working Windows, you can open Explorer and you will see the second harddrive listed there as a new drive (D:). You can access, move and backup any files from that harddrive. If you are using a laptop, you can purchase a harddrive encasing that can plug into your computer through USB (professionals typically prefer this method).

If not, you can use a Live CD. A live CD is an operating system that loads entirely off a CD and which you can use to browse your files on your harddrive and then copy and paste them to a USB drive or another harddrive connected to your system.

Seeing as you have your original OS cds, if you are considering creating a live CD, I suggest you check out BartPE. Go HERE and scroll down for an introduction and instructions on creating it. I suggest this LiveCD because it is the one that is the most similar to Windows. See HERE for a picture of what it looks like. (This one is in a different language, don't worry, the typical one is in English)

Edited by NeonFx, 11 July 2009 - 11:01 PM.

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