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Windows wont start up and get an error message...

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I am getting the message: windows could not start up because the following file is missing or curropt. /WINDOWS/SYSTEM32/CONFIG/SYSTEM


This is the letter I wrote to Dell:

Now when I insert the discs that you sent to me nothing happens. Therefore I don't know if it is because it needs the original windows XP disc first or possibly the cd rom isn't working. I continually keep getting that same message and it go any further than that. Maybe you can give me some advice? I would like to try the windows XP software to set up first if that's possible to send one of those out to me. If its just the windows XP I need then I'll be off to a great start! If it is something else then I'm sure that whomever I bring my computer to will need everything you've sent to me. Only the Windows XP disc is all that I need now. I was surprised to see how fast they had gotten here! You guys are the best!!If you have any advice for me to get this computer running again I would deeply appreciate it as I do have thousands of pictures of my kids on it from when they were very young. I should have back them up hey? I wasn't very computer savvy back then. Please let me know what you can do. Thanks again!(END OF LETTER)

Anyways that's basically it. Is it not working because I haven't started with the original Windows XP disc? They sent me a whole bunch of software thats already installed in the computer that I guess I can use to re install on the computer. Can anyone help? Thanks!
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The first and most important aspect appears to me to be the recovery of your images.
If I am correct in this assumption use this.

Use Puppy Linux Live CD to Recover Your Data:

***Required Hardware***
CD Burner (CDRW) Drive,
Blank CD,
Extra Storage Device (USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive)


1. Save these files to your Desktop/Burn Your Live CD:
  • DownloadLatest Puppy Linux ISO (i.e.: lupu-520.iso)
    DownloadBurnCDCC ISO Burning Software

  • Open BurnCDCC with Windows Explorer
  • Extract All files to a location you can remember
  • Double Click BurnCDCC
  • Click Browse and navigate to the Puppy Linux ISO file you just downloaded
  • Open/Double Click that file
    IMPORTANT: Adjust the speed bar to CD: 4x DVD: 1x
  • Click Start
  • Your CD Burner Tray will open automatically
  • Insert a blank CD and close the tray
  • Click OK
Puppy Linux Live CD will now be created2. Set your boot priority in the BIOS to CD-ROM first, Hard Drive Second
  • Start the computer/press the power button
  • Immediately start tapping the appropriate key to enter the BIOS, aka "Setup"
    (Usually shown during the "Dell" screen, or "Gateway" Screen)
  • Once in the BIOS, under Advanced BIOS Options change boot priority to:
    CD-ROM 1st, Hard Drive 2nd
  • Open your ROM drive and insert the disk
  • Press F10 to save and exit
  • Agree with "Y" to continue
  • Your computer will restart and boot from the Puppy Linux Live CD
3. Recover Your Data
Once Puppy Linux has loaded, it is actually running in your computer's Memory (RAM). You will see a fully functioning Graphical User Interface similar to what you normally call "your computer". Internet access may or may not be available depending on your machine, so it is recommended you print these instructions before beginning. Also, double clicking is not needed in Puppy. To expand, or open folders/icons, just click once. Puppy is very light on resources, so you will quickly notice it is much speedier than you are used to. This is normal. Ready? Let's get started.

3a. Mount Drives
  • Click the Mount Icon located at the top left of your desktop.
  • A Window will open. By default, the "drive" tab will be forward/highlighted. Click on Mount for your hard drive.
  • Assuming you only have one hard drive and/or partition, there may be only one selection to mount.
  • USB Flash Drives usually automatically mount upon boot, but click the "usbdrv" tab and make sure it is mounted.
  • If using an external hard drive for the data recovery, do this under the "drive" tab. Mount it now.
3b. Transfer Files.
  • At the bottom left of your desktop a list of all hard drives/partitions, USB Drives, and Optical Drives are listed with a familiar looking hard drive icon.
  • Open your old hard drive i.e. sda1
  • Next, open your USB Flash Drive or External Drive. i.e. sdc or sdb1
  • If you open the wrong drive, simply X out at the top right corner of the window that opens. (Just like in Windows)
  • From your old hard drive, drag and drop whatever files/folders you wish to transfer to your USB Drive's Window.
HERE IS A LINK to the full guide with images

Edited by Macboatmaster, 14 September 2011 - 01:16 PM.

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Are you making any progress with this issue please.
It appeared to me that the most important consideration was to secure your valuable data

I do have thousands of pictures of my kids on it from when they were very young.

Any attempt to recover your system, even if successful, does risk, however slight the loss of data. That is why we started with a program that will very likely achieve the successful recovery of your files.

When you get chance please post indicating how you are progressing this issue.
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