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[SOLVED] Missing/corrupt file - computer won't start up

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] Missing/corrupt file - computer won't start up within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I believe Windows XP is on system I get this: Windows can't start because the following file is missing or


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Old 02-27-2011, 07:18 AM   #1
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I believe Windows XP is on system

I get this:
Windows can't start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
\windows\system32\config\system

You can attempt to repair this file by starting windows set up using the original cd-rom

Select R at the first screen t start repair.


This computer did not come with disks....

Please advise - this is a "work" computer" not personal. Thanks

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Old 02-27-2011, 09:29 AM   #2
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Hi


First you are going to need the Windows XP CD. If you do not have one you can download the Windows XP recovery Console ISO from here.
Write it to CD using a program like ImgBurn.
Once written to CD, boot your PC with the CD.
On the first screen press "r" to enter the recovery console (3rd option).
When asked which Windows you want to log in to type in the number that corresponds to the correct installation (Usually "1")
Enter the Administrator password (if asked) else just press enter if you do not have one.
Then at the command prompt type
Code:
chkdsk c: /r
and enter.
Allow chkdsk to run.
Restart the PC once done.

For a more detailed document (with screen shots) on how to enter the recovery console see How to Enter Windows XP Recovery Console

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Old 02-27-2011, 09:32 AM   #3
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Well, if that's the message you're getting, it looks to me like somehow you are missing the System hive, which is a set of files the OS uses to build some keys in the registry.

If you don't have any disks, you can obtain a copy from Microsoft, or burn recovery files to a disk. If getting a new disk from Microsoft, you'd need to contact them and you'll probably have to give the product key used by your Windows installation. You could also put a new OS on the system, of course.

You should investigate how this happened. I don't know if I've ever seen a situation where an entire hive was missing. You might have a damaged drive.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epshatto View Post
Well, if that's the message you're getting, it looks to me like somehow you are missing the System hive, which is a set of files the OS uses to build some keys in the registry.

If you don't have any disks, you can obtain a copy from Microsoft, or burn recovery files to a disk. If getting a new disk from Microsoft, you'd need to contact them and you'll probably have to give the product key used by your Windows installation. You could also put a new OS on the system, of course.

You should investigate how this happened. I don't know if I've ever seen a situation where an entire hive was missing. You might have a damaged drive.
While this is all true, there is an easier/faster way to fix it. The above implies that you would run a Repair Install (aka "Inplace Upgrade") in order to reconstruct the "System Hive".

An alternative to this would be to mount the hard drive as a secondary drive in another machine (preferably a desktop), and then use regedit to load the hive from your machine in order to make manual repairs.

The System Hive is a combination of 4 different files, and there are .bak (backup) files for all of them. Sometimes you can overwrite the current, corrupt file with a backup copy. This is high-risk, and I would place your chances of success at about 50%. If I were doing it (with my experience) to my own machine I would place it at about 80%, so there's no guarantee. But if it does fail, a Repair Install is still an option.

While writing the above, it occured to me that AlbertMC2 may be getting ready to advise an attempt at repair by running a System Restore, which is the first option you should try. If that fails, you can try to manually repair the Registry, and if that fails you can try to run a Repair Install (but you will need a working XP Installation Disk in order to be able to do this).
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:34 PM   #5
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AlberbtMC2 - Your's seemed the easiest way to start with. But when I tried "downloading Windows XP recovery Console ISO from here. " I get this message:

This file doen not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Set Associations control panel.
OK


I don't know what to do...
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:50 PM   #6
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You should not be trying to execute that .iso file, rather first you save it (to desktop), then install a program to burn it to CD. I prefer MagicISO.

MagicISO - Convert BIN to ISO, Create, Edit, Burn, Extract ISO file, ISO/BIN converter/extractor/editor
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertMC2 View Post
Write it to CD using a program like ImgBurn.
Once written to CD, boot your PC with the CD.
On the first screen press "r" to enter the recovery console (3rd option).

Then at the command prompt type
chkdsk c: /r
and enter.
Allow chkdsk to run.
Restart the PC once done.
While MagicISO is a wonderful program for opening ISO images, since you downloaded this on another computer and the computer in question does not boot, then you want to follow AlbertMC2's suggestion of Burning the ISO Image to a new CD. Then booting off of the newly created CD and type in the command at the prompt.
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:23 AM   #8
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I downloaded the "Windows XP recovery Console ISO from here" to my desktop, as per Post #5. On my desktop the file is a "blank white" paper and says its an image file.....is this correct?
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:41 AM   #9
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Use MagicISO to burn that image file (.iso) to CD, then use that CD to boot the other computer and install Recovery Console.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:18 AM   #10
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Hi

It should say it is an image file.
There are many programs that can burn/write image files to CD/DVDs including (but not limited to) Nero, Easy CDcreator, Imgburn and MagicISO. The simplest, smallest, free and fully functional program I know of is ImgBurn and that is why we recommend it. Apart from this it also works on WinXP/7/Vista.
If you do not have a program to burn images I would recommend downloading ImgBurn (although it is by far not as advanced as MagicISO). You can download ImgBurn here. And if you need a tutorial with pretty screen shot pictures you can look here.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:25 AM   #11
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Burned file to Roxio (tried ImgBurn but after 15 minutes the screen still didn't close after burn.... So I used Roxio.

Inserted cd into PC and started it up. Dell screen comes up then it goes right to:


Windows can't start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
\windows\system32\config\system

You can attempt to repair this file by starting windows set up using the original cd-rom

Select R at the first screen to start repair.


I can't seem to see this following screen you talk about: "On the first screen press "r" to enter the recovery console (3rd option)."
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:55 AM   #12
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Hi

You have to boot with the CD.
Usually the PC says
Press any key to boot from CD...
in which case you press any key.

Some PCs also have a boot menu. If your PC does. it will say
"Press Fxx for Boot Menu" where Fxx is one of the Function (F) keys. This message will be on the Dell screen.
When the correct F key is pressed a menu will display allowing you to choose the CD/DVD/Optical drive as the first boot device - In which case it might proceed in giving you the first message of
"Press any key to boot from CD..."

If the PC does not say this you might have to change the boot order in the BIOS. Once again The Dell screen will have a message like
"Press Fxx to enter Setup/BIOS" (Usually Fxx is F10, F2, F11 or DEL).
This will then give you the BIOS menu. You will have to look through all the menu options looking for "Boot Priority" or "Boot Order" Or "First Boot Device". Once found you will have to change the boot order so that the CD/DVD/Optical drive is your first boot device.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:18 AM   #13
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WEnt to BIOS first. At hard disk boot priority i changed to CD rom. Hit F10 to save it and said yes to save to cmos & exit.

Then went to F2. Scrolled down to CD rom and hit enter to accept it.

This came on the screen :

Boot from CD:
No boot device available, press enter to retry (i did)
SATO-0 Installed
SATO-1 Installed
SATO-4 None
SATO-5 None
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:36 AM   #14
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Hi

How did you write the rc.iso to cd?
If you put the CD in a working PC do you see the file rc.iso?
Or do you see files I386, WIN51, WIN51IC ?

You can also try to boot another PC with the CD. If it does start booting with the CD, as soon as you get the menu just restart the PC and take the CD out.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:50 PM   #15
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OK AlbertMC2

I used Roxio to burn the file.(I'm used to this program)

If I put the CD into my working desktop and Start Computer and my drive E - it tells me to insert a CD. Seems like nothing is on the CD....

I tried to boot my desktop using the CD and nothing happened.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:05 PM   #16
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It seems like nothing is on the CD.
It should have a folder I386 and files WIN51 and WIN51IC.

Try burning it again.
Remember you must not just copy the file to the CD. Here is a tutorial on how to burn iso files to a CD using Roxio if you need it. Also the tutorial might be version specific for Creator 6&7: How to Burn an Image File With Roxio
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:13 PM   #17
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Tried burning image file with Roxio - no go again. So got another disk and used the ISO Image Burner. I clicked on the dots to the right of ISO Image File, located it on my desktop and clicked burn. It's been about 15 minutes and still isn't done. Is this normal?
The burn progress is all blue
Status is closing track
7.36/7.36 MB (100.00%) @ 2438.00 KB/s

To the right is says: Writing ISO image to disk (the cursor is blinking on line below this)
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:21 PM   #18
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AlbertMC2

After helping with 3 homeworks and bathing 2 kids, I came down and the disk said done.

So inserted it into bad computer and booted up - nothing.

Put disk into good computer and says nothing is on it.

Just by chance - could the link have been "bad"? What in the H ll am I doing wrong???????????
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:34 PM   #19
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Download the ISO image again, burn the ISO image with Roxio or whatever ISO Burner software you like, we prefer IMGBurn, be sure to use a blank CD-R disc not a CD-RW as these need to be formatted before use, and finalized after burned, so a lot harder to work with.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:41 PM   #20
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It was suggested to use specific software because it has specific features to burn an .iso to disk. You are not "copying" the .iso, you are converting a compressed, single file to an entire disk (CD) that will boot. MagicISO has a specific feature that converts an .ISO file to a bootable CD.

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