Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
I went into the recovery console off a xp pro disk (was not installed on the hard drive) and replaced the c:\windows\system32\config\system file with the c:\windows\repair\system.bak file (.bak extension removed).
I used the "system.bak" file because, in the \repair folder, a "system" file did not exist (contrary to ms kb artical 307545). I have other dells in the office and tried to copy the "system" file onto a cd for transfer onto the flawed computer (too large for a floppy), but it's useless because the recovery console is running from an xp disk in the only cd drive.
Upon exiting, windows now boots until it reaches the black microsoft windows xp screen, but never makes it any further (in normal mode). In safe mode, windows boots until it gets to a list of drivers and then locks up.
I tried going back into the recovery console, and it's now asking for a password, which of course is invalid. I looked up fixes for this problem and they all require going into windows. I also noted that it may be possible to work around the password if you boot from a windows 2000 cd.
I would greatly appreciate any advice, including opening the window and throwing the [bleep] thing onto the street.