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Corrupt SAM file & Registry

This is a discussion on Corrupt SAM file & Registry within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Thank you for any help you may be able to give, please read carefully . So...my friend has a laptop.


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Old 03-28-2010, 08:38 AM   #1
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Thank you for any help you may be able to give, please read carefully.


So...my friend has a laptop. A Samsung P28, 1.5Ghz celeron M CPU, 256Mhz RAM. Its about 5 years old and completely crap. It has been since the day she bought it, and became even worse when she sent it back to Samsung for repairs back in 2006.
About 1 year ago it started to die, and now will not start. She has a new laptop but would like her data (pics, vids, music etc) off her old HDD (she's a bit stupid and didnt back any of it up.....for 5 years).

The first thing I tried was to take the HDD out of the laptop and put it my PC. Although my PC recognises the data it will not allow me to open the documents folder without administrator permission. It will therefore not allow me to copy and paste any of the data either.
At first I thought the HDD was damaged or corrupt so I ran a HD dignostic aswell as SpinRite for 6hrs and both came up completely free of any errors. I can only guess that the problem lies with a corrupt OS (which is XP home).
The problem is that when Samsung sent her the laptop back all those years ago, they didnt send any of the disks with it, so I dont have any recovery disks. I have my own copy of XP pro, but I have a feeling that wont work...will it?

So today I tried starting it up after 6 months in a box, and I have recieved 2 errors preventing windows from starting:

1) Security Accounts Manager initialization failed because of the following error: A device attached to the system is not functioning.
Error Status: 0xc0000001.
Please click OK to shut down this system and reboot into Safe Mode, check event log for more detailed information.


I know that this can possibly be resolved by replacing the SAM file from the Windows/repair folder and copying it to the Windows/system32/config folder, but only with a parallel installation of windows, which I cannot install because I dont have the original disk.

2) Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

According the the Microsoft website this can be overcome by starting the windows recovery console again which assumes you have the original disk...which again, I don't.

I have however tried a repair session with my XP Pro disk, but get stuck at the point where it asks for the admisistrator password. I have tried no password, and I have tried all the passwords that were ever used (3 different combinations of 1 word), I get told that all are invalid. I therefore cannot start the recovery console to fix the errors!

Is there any way around these problems? Or should I simply E-mail Samsung and ask for them to send a copy of the OS If I can provide a valid product key?

Thank again.
Paul.

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Old 03-28-2010, 03:25 PM   #2
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Could be the SAM hive has gotten damaged as well, or there is an unknown password set on the Administrator account. The Forum Rules won't let us help get around that.

Connect the drive to another system and recover the files. You just need to take ownership of the files after moving the drive to your system. That's always required when you connect a drive from a different system.

How to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows XP

You can see if Samsung still has the Recovery CD for this system available. You can use any XP HOME OEM CD to re-install using the key on the label on the laptop.

If there are any system restore points on the system, you can copy the registry files from one of them and replace the corrupt ones while it's connected to another system. See next post.

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Old 03-28-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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How to restore the registry from a System Restore point by connecting the drive to a 2nd PC.
Connect the drive to another PC, either internally (Easy with SATA, laptop ATA drives require an adapter), or by using a USB Enclosure.
  1. I'll refer to the problem drive as drive E: in this procedure.
    Change the letter as needed to match whatever drive letter it is shown as by the working PC.
  2. Open Windows Explorer (right click My Computer, click Explore)
  3. Change View Settings to make sure hidden and system files are visible:
    • In Windows Explorer, click on Tools | Folder Options -> View Tab
    • Check the following:
    • Display the contents of system folders (not present in Win2K/Vista)
    • Show hidden files and folders
    • Uncheck the following:
    • Hide extensions for known file types (WinXP/Vista)
    • Hide file extensions for known file types (Win2K)
    • Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
  4. Double click the E: drive in the left pane of Windows Explorer
    We now need to gain access to the System Volume Information folder shown in the right pane.
    Follow the steps from this article: How to gain access to the System Volume Information folder
    In some cases we may also need to take ownership of the System Volume Information folder.
    Follow the steps from this article if needed: How to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows XP
    Once done, double click the System Volume Information folder in the right pane.
  5. Double click the _restore{... folder in the right pane(there will be a bunch of numbers/letters after the **, different on each system)
  6. Click on the View menu, then on Details
    You should see a list of folders named RPxxx, where xxx will be a number.
  7. In the right pane, click twice on the Date Modified column heading.
    This will sort the folders by date with the newest one at the top.
  8. Check the dates of the folders, and find one with a date BEFORE the problem occurred.
  9. Double click on the RPxxx folder selected above
  10. Double click on the snapshot folder in the right pane
  11. In the left pane we need to make E:\Windows\system32\config visible:
    • Click the plus sign in front of E:\Windows
    • Click the plus sign in front of E:\Windows\system32
    • Scroll the windows as needed so that E:\Windows\System32\Config is visible in the left pane.
  12. Copy the following files to E:\Windows\System32\Config by dragging each one while holding the CTRL key and dropping it on the E:\Windows\System32\Config folder in the left pane (make sure a plus sign is displayed to indicate copying):
    • _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
  13. Now, click on the E:\Windows\System32\Config folder in the left pane
  14. Rename the following files (highlight each file and press F2, then edit the name):
    • Rename DEFAULT to DEFAULT.bak
    • Rename SAM to SAM.bak
    • Rename SECURITY to SECURITY.bak
    • Rename SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE.bak
    • Rename SYSTEM to SYSTEM.bak
  15. Now rename these files:
    • Rename _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT to DEFAULT
    • Rename _REGISTRY_USER_SAM to SAM
    • Rename _REGISTRY_USER_SECURITY to SECURITY
    • Rename _REGISTRY_USER_SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE
    • Rename _REGISTRY_USER_SYSTEM to SYSTEM
  16. Return the drive to the original system and test.
  17. Try to do a System Restore to the same date you picked above.
    This procedure only replaces the registry hives, not any system files, so there is a chance that previous restore points will no longer work, as System Restore may detect inconsistencies if there were any major changes.
    If System Restore fails, try it after booting to Safe Mode.
Once you are satisfied that the system is working correctly, you can delete the *.bak files from E:\Windows\system32\config (Which should now be drive C:)
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:56 PM   #4
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Many thanks for the detailed reply, I'll be sure to get on with it over the next few days and update you on the results.

Paul.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:45 PM   #5
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Well it all started well. I managed to change the permissions of the files I wanted and proceeded to transfer them to another HDD. Unfortunately about half way through I got a write error, and now the computer won't recognise the HDD at all, even HD dignostic software cannot read any data on the drive.
I suppose it's going to have to be sent of to the professionals.

Thanks anyway.

Paul

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