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How do I fix a corrupted \WINDOWS\system32\config\SYSTEM file without a set up CD?

This is a discussion on How do I fix a corrupted \WINDOWS\system32\config\SYSTEM file without a set up CD? within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. All I was supplied with was a recovery disk and when I try to use it, it says it's the


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Old 01-04-2009, 12:21 PM   #1
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All I was supplied with was a recovery disk and when I try to use it, it says it's the wrong one for my operating system. It turns out that any updates to Windows render the recovery disk obsolete. I went to HP about it and they want to charge me for a recovery disk that is updated. Is there anyway to fix this without the time and expense of purchasing a new recovery disk and waiting for it to be shipped?

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Old 01-04-2009, 12:26 PM   #2
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Does the computer boot? Into safe mode?

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Old 01-04-2009, 12:28 PM   #3
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No. I can't get it to boot to any mode.

I've got an HP Pavilion slimline s7600n if that helps at all. Running Windows XP Media Center 2005.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:56 PM   #4
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I take it from the lack of response that I'm basically hooped. Any ideas? My daughter's winter break homework and other work is trapped on the hard drive.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:52 PM   #5
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So. I found some help for this problem. Required creating a boot disk and then copying some files:
md tmp
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak
delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default
copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default
exit

But, when I tried to do that it was unable to locate c:\windows directory

I ran a quick chkdsk on it to see if I'd been wiped out, but got the following:

Volume HP_RECOVERY created 09-22-2006 5:15a
Volume Serial Number is 4B6E-6BC0

9,274,600 Kilobytes total disk space
548,880 kilobytes free

8,192 buytes in each allocation unit
1,159,325 total allocation units on disk
68,610 available allocation units on disk

655,360 total buytes memory
530,000 bytes free

I then ran scandisk to make sure there weren't any problems with the disk. All looks good.

So, it appears that windows and everything is still there, but it's "hiding" from me.

Any ideas?
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:01 AM   #6
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If your registry hive becomes badly corrupted,you will probably be faced with error messages such as:

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

* NTLDR is missing

* Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll

when you boot your computer and Windows will fail to boot.

If you are in a situation where you cannot boot from the Windows CD,which means you won't be able to access the Recovery Console,and also hitting F8 and choosing Last Known Good Configuration fails to fix the problem,then you will need to repair it manually.

This will require that you have READ/WRITE access to the NTFS partition of the hard drive from within MS-DOS.You will need a program called NTFSDOS Professional.

Download: NTFSDOS Professional 5.0 http://www.flyupload.com/?fid=6794034 (This is very old software - Abandonware)

To create a boot disk,run BootDisk.exe.It will then require that you enter some licence details.You can find those details in the licence.txt file.Copy and paste them into the space provided.It will then ask you to specify the directory from which it will copy the required Windows files.For this,use your Windows CD which would be D:\I386 .Next you will need to choose where you want to save the boot disk to.Save it onto some floppy disks on drive A:\ .You will need 3 blank floppy disks.

Boot up the computer using the floppy boot disks you made.It will take you into a MS-DOS screen.From there,run the file NTFSPRO.EXE and you will now have access to the files on your hard drive.

Next you will need to type in the following lines as per the instructions from the Microsoft website:
Quote:
md tmp
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak

delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default
Remove the floppy disk from the drive and reboot the computer.Your Windows should now boot up and be working.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:06 AM   #7
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Continuation.....

Remove the floppy disk from the drive and reboot the computer.Your Windows should now boot up and you will be able to carry out the remaining steps given on the Microsoft website,which are:
Quote:
Part two

To complete the procedure described in this section, you must be logged on as an administrator, or an administrative user (a user who has an account in the Administrators group). If you are using Windows XP Home Edition, you can log on as an administrative user. If you log on as an administrator, you must first start Windows XP Home Edition in Safe mode. To start the Windows XP Home Edition computer in Safe mode, follow these steps.

Note Print these instructions before you continue. You cannot view these instructions after you restart the computer in Safe Mode. If you use the NTFS file system, also print the instructions from Knowledge Base article KB309531. Step 7 contains a reference to the article.

1. Click Start, click Shut Down (or click Turn Off Computer), click Restart, and then click OK (or click Restart).
2. Press the F8 key.

On a computer that is configured to start to multiple operating systems, you can press F8 when you see the Startup menu.
3. Use the arrow keys to select the appropriate Safe mode option, and then press ENTER.
4. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, use the arrow keys to select the installation that you want to access, and then press ENTER.

In part two, you copy the registry files from their backed up location by using System Restore. This folder is not available in Recovery Console and is generally not visible during typical usage. Before you start this procedure, you must change several settings to make the folder visible:

1. Start Windows Explorer.
2. On the Tools menu, click Folder options.
3. Click the View tab.
4. Under Hidden files and folders, click to select Show hidden files and folders, and then click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box.
5. Click Yes when the dialog box that confirms that you want to display these files appears.
6. Double-click the drive where you installed Windows XP to display a list of the folders. If is important to click the correct drive.
7. Open the System Volume Information folder. This folder is unavailable and appears dimmed because it is set as a super-hidden folder.

Note This folder contains one or more _restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".

Note You may receive the following error message:
C:\System Volume Information is not accessible. Access is denied.

If you receive this message, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article to gain access to this folder and continue with the procedure:
309531 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309531/ ) How to gain access to the System Volume Information folder

8. Open a folder that was not created at the current time. You may have to click Details on the View menu to see when these folders were created. There may be one or more folders starting with "RPx under this folder. These are restore points.
9. Open one of these folders to locate a Snapshot subfolder. The following path is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:
C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot

10. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following files to the C:\Windows\Tmp folder:
_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
11. Rename the files in the C:\Windows\Tmp folder as follows:
Rename _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT to DEFAULT
Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY to SECURITY
Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE
Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM
Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM to SAM

These files are the backed up registry files from System Restore. Because you used the registry file that the Setup program created, this registry does not know that these restore points exist and are available. A new folder is created with a new GUID under System Volume Information and a restore point is created that includes a copy of the registry files that were copied during part one. Therefore, it is important not to use the most current folder, especially if the time stamp on the folder is the same as the current time.

The current system configuration is not aware of the previous restore points. You must have a previous copy of the registry from a previous restore point to make the previous restore points available again.

The registry files that were copied to the Tmp folder in the C:\Windows folder are moved to make sure that the files are available under Recovery Console. You must use these files to replace the registry files currently in the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder. By default, Recovery Console has limited folder access and cannot copy files from the System Volume folder.

Note The procedure described in this section assumes that you are running your computer with the FAT32 file system. For more information about how to access the System Volume Information Folder with the NTFS file system, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
309531 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309531/ ) How to gain access to the System Volume Information folder

Part Three

In part three, you delete the existing registry files, and then copy the System Restore Registry files to the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder:

1. Start Recovery Console.
2. At the command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:

del c:\windows\system32\config\sam

del c:\windows\system32\config\security

del c:\windows\system32\config\software

del c:\windows\system32\config\default

del c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\software c:\windows\system32\config\software

copy c:\windows\tmp\system c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam

copy c:\windows\tmp\security c:\windows\system32\config\security

copy c:\windows\tmp\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

Note Some of these command lines may be wrapped for readability.
3. Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer restarts.

Note This procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed to the C:\Windows folder. Make sure to change C:\Windows to the appropriate windows_folder if it is a different location.

If you have access to another computer, to save time, you can copy the text in step two, and then create a text file called "Regcopy2.txt" (for example). To use this file, run the following command when you start in Recovery Console:
batch regcopy2.txt

Part Four

1. Click Start, and then click All Programs.
2. Click Accessories, and then click System Tools.
3. Click System Restore, and then click Restore to a previous RestorePoint.
** Information in quotes is supplied from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:07 AM   #8
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Well here is a slightly simpler version which I use.....

If you know how to connect your drive to another machine as a second hard drive and access the files follow these instructions:

******************************************************************

When you can read the disk as disk d: open a cmd window and run chkdsk d: /r if you have not already.

1. Make hidden and system files visble in folder options.
2. Look for folder d:\System volume information.
3. You will find it says Access denieged to folder.
4. Right click on folder and select properties and security.
5. Add administrators and check names then select ok and ok
6. You should be able to see restore points now in folder they will be called RPxxx.
7. Look for a RPxxx folder from the day before the problem and open it. (you can sort them by date)
8. open the snapshot directory and copy files:-
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT

Put them in folder d:\windows\system32\config

9. Get out of the d:\system volume information folder and remove administrators from security.
10. go to d:\windows\system32\config and rename the following files to oldfilename.
SAM
SECURITY
SOFTWARE
SYSTEM
DEFAULT

11. Now rename the new files
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM----------to SAM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY----to SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE---to SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM-------to SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT----------to DEFAULT

Note: there is no full stop in default.

Shutdown and put the disk back in its machine and try booting.

******************************************************************
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bur View Post
Volume HP_RECOVERY created 09-22-2006 5:15a
Volume Serial Number is 4B6E-6BC0

9,274,600 Kilobytes total disk space
This shows you ran chkdsk on the HP_Recovery partition (usually drive D:)
It's only 8.84 GiB in size.

When you booted into the Recovery Console, you should have seen two or 3 choices for the system to log into:
C:\Windows
D:\MinNT

and Possibly D:\i386

Looks like you logged into the MinNT system. If it was showing as C:\MinNT, then the Recovery Console didn't see the C: partition as an active partition.

After booting into the Recovery Console, type MAP. This will show what drives the Recovery Console sees. Hopefully it will show you the "C:" partition -- it may be a different drive letter. That is the partition you need to run chkdsk on.

If the true Windows partition is not being assigned the drive letter C, it might not be set active any more. You'd need to use fdisk from a Win98 boot disk, or a 3rd party partitioning tool to set that partition active again, as the recovery console does not have a tool that can do that.

Captainmark's method is a good option. You can also use a Live CD rather than physically moving the drive. This method avoids any issues using the registry hives in the Windows\Repair folder as noted in the warning from this MS KB article that describes the procedure:
Quote:
Warning Do not use the procedure that is described in this article if your computer has an OEM-installed operating system. The system hive on OEM installations creates passwords and user accounts that did not exist previously. If you use the procedure that is described in this article, you may not be able to log back into the recovery console to restore the original registry hives.
Live CDs
Ultimate Boot CD for Windows
BartPE CD/DVD
Ultimate Boot CD
Knoppix
Ubuntu
Puppy Linux

HTH

Jerry
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:59 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone. But, there are a couple problems with the proposed solutions:

Informer, you say in your first post ".For this,use your Windows CD which would be D:\I386" I don't have a Windows CD other than the recovery disk that came with my OEM computer. I can't seem to create a boot disk from this.

Captain Mark: Only other computer is a laptop, don't know how to connect my failed hard drive to that.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:25 PM   #11
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If it is Sata you can get yourself a USB Sata Desktop dock for about $30 - $40 AU dollars If it is IDE Im sure there is a desktop dock available but I'd have to ask at the shop. You can see them on the net.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/re.../dp/B0012Z3MKW
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:40 AM   #12
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Bur,

I have made for you a file containing NTFSDOS Professional Floppy Boot Disk Images.
Download it from here: http://www.flyupload.com/get?fid=716470847

Then go and download a software called WinImage v8.10 from here: http://www.winimage.com/download.htm

Extract/unzip the boot disk image file that i made for you.There will be 3 folders.Each folder has 1 image(.IMA) file in it.One is for Boot Disk 1,another for Boot Disk 2 and another for Boot Disk 3.

Have 3 formatted blank floppy disks ready.Now run the WinImage program.Click on "File" then "Open" and browse to the directory where the "NTFSDOS Professional Boot Disk 1.IMA" file is and select it and open it.Now put a disk into the floppy drive.From the menu,click on "Disk" and make sure there is a tick next to "Use floppy A:".From the same "Disk" menu,then click on "Write disk".It will now start copying the first image onto your floppy disk.Once it is finished,take out that floppy disk from the drive.From the menu,click on "File" and then "Close image".Click on "File" again and then "Open".This time browse to the directory where the "NTFSDOS Professional Boot Disk 2.IMA" file is and open it.Put in your 2nd blank floppy disk into the drive and follow the same procedure you did with the 1st disk.Then do the same thing with the 3rd image file using the 3rd blank floppy disk.

Once they are all done,insert Floppy Disk 1 into the drive and reboot your computer.But make sure you have set it in the BIOS so that it tries to boot from the floppy drive before the hard drive.It should now boot up into a MS-DOS prompt and will say A: .From that prompt,type in ntfspro.exe .It will then ask you to insert Floppy Disk 2.It will then tell you once it has mounted your hard drive.Then assuming your hard drive is assigned as "C",just type in C: and you should now have access to your hard drive and do what is necessary to repair it.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:21 AM   #13
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My System


Hello and Welcome to TSF,

Tell me the exact problem you are having with the pc?
Is it not booting up?
or wont let you logon to windows?
Blank screen when its just about to the desktop?
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:17 AM   #14
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Try Ultimate Boot CD for windows it's free

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