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windows/system32/config/system file missing or corrupt, computer will

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Hello All,

I recently booted up my girlfriend's computer and got the following message:

"windows/system32/config/system file missing or corrupt, computer will not boot up"

She has no Installation CD's so I looked at the following link to create a Boot CD per Broni's thread:


I changed my BIOS so that the CD-ROM drive would read first and after I enter the installation ("1: C:\Windows" - the only one listed) I get the BSOD as follows:

STOP 0x00000051 (0x00000001, 0XE1138B68, 0x008A9000, 0x000001D5)

I have read the other threads on this site concerning the topic of system file being missing or corrupted and went to Microsoft's knowledge base to try and find more information. None of the topics seemed related to my particular problem.

I would just like to gain access back to the drive and OS to make an image in case there is a hardware problem (i.e. hard drive failure) or to troubleshoot more.

Any help would be appreciated.

She has 3 identical Optima AT compatible machines running XP Professional Service Pack 2. I can provide more information as needed.

I just don't understand (make that "too green") the BSOD stop code and what to do next to recover it.
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