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[SOLVED] missing or corrupt file : winxp\system32\config\system

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] missing or corrupt file : winxp\system32\config\system within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hello, I have a HP laptop with windows xp. When I start it, I get an error :- Windows could


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Old 03-25-2012, 03:08 AM   #1
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Hello,
I have a HP laptop with windows xp. When I start it, I get an error :-

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt :
\winxp\system32\config\system

I am not a computer guy. So I would like to get help in brief. I am fed up of this problem.

Thank you.

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Old 03-25-2012, 07:43 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to TSF please see the info here How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting

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Old 03-25-2012, 08:05 AM   #3
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Thank you. But I am having an issue with it. The link says do the following :

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


The first command is allright. But I get an error on the second command saying that :

The system cannot find the file specified.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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Hi I have put a call out to a xp guru for help with this
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:01 AM   #5
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Okay. Please do inform me about this after the call.

Thank you very much.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:42 AM   #6
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Hi he will answer in the thread but be patient it is the weekend
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:02 AM   #7
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My System


Do you have a Windows XP CD?
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:43 AM   #8
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@joeten Okey...
@JackBauer_24 I dont have the XP cd but I got the recovery console from some where
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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That's the problem. The commands in pos#3 are designed to copy and replace the missing files from the XP CD. These command won't help if you don't have a CD to copy from.
What is the model# of your HP Laptop computer? You might have a Recovery Partition on your computer. When you first boot up, does it say Press (key) to Enter Recovery on the HP logo screen? If so, that would take you to restoring your computer to Factory Defaults.
If not, get to the Recovery Console. Here type chkdsk /R and press enter. The Check Disk utility will try and fix any file errors.
You can also download the ISO image for Seatools or Drive Fitness in my signature and burn the image to a CD using IMGBurn also in my signature and boot off of the newly created CD and run the Quick and Advanced tests on the HDD to test the integrity of the drive.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
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Hi, I tried the chkdsk /r but no use. Can you explain more about the seatools or drive fitness.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFool View Post
Hi, I tried the chkdsk /r but no use
Please explain exactly what happened when you attempted to run chkdsk /r.
  • Did it not run?
  • Did you get an error message?
  • Did it complete successfully but the system still will not start and continues to give the
    Quote:
    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt :
    \winxp\system32\config\system
    error message
-------------
Is the message as you have posted it or does it actually say the following?
Quote:
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt :
\Windows\system32\config\system
---------------------
@ spunk.funk:
Quote:
Originally Posted by spunk.funk View Post
That's the problem. The commands in pos#3 are designed to copy and replace the missing files from the XP CD. These command won't help if you don't have a CD to copy from.
Please note carefully, that is not the case at all.**** The problem is actually that the SYSTEM file is either missing or corrupt. No matter which, the OP can skip that step and continue with the instructions.

There is one proviso though ... that the warning in the Microsoft instructions does not apply to this HP OEM installation.
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.
Source: How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:23 AM   #12
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Re: Using the XP Recovery Console
Whether the Microsoft warning applies to your particular system or not, the following is a better way to go about the task necessary to replace the registry hives (and in particular the SYSTEM file):
How to Recover from a Corrupted Registry that Prevents Windows XP from Starting (Hive restore in Recovery Console) | Dell

---------------
Another alternative, and one I think is probably easier, safer and better, is to use a bootable Linux CD to carry out the copy/paste and re-name operations necessary, to do the same task.

Try using a LIVE CD to perform an off-line system restore of the registry hives.

Using a working computer:
There are many options to use for a LIVE CD: Try Puppy Linux Slacko Puppy works well. (download file size 128 MB)
When you have downloaded the ISO image, burn it to a CD using ImgBurn (choose "Write image file to disc"). The CD will be bootable.

Now to work on your problematic computer:
Boot from the Puppy Linux CD. You will be able to navigate to all the files on your HDD.

Off-line system restore using a LIVE CD

Step 1: Navigate to C:\System Volume Information\
Inside that folder you will see a folder with a name beginning with "restore" followed by a long alpa-numeric code in brackets. Inside the "restore<bracketed long alpa-numeric code>" folder you will see a number of folders named "RP<3 digit number>". Choose the highest number: That is your most recent System Restore point.
Open the "RP<highest number>" folder and inside that you will see another folder called "snapshot". Finally, open the "snapshot" folder and you will be at this address ...
C:\System Volume Information\restore<bracketed long alpha-numeric code>\RP<highest number>\snapshot

Locate the 5 files that you need to copy from within the snapshot folder:
  • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
    _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT

Copy these 5 files from here, and paste into the "config" folder at following location ...
C:\Windows\System32\config <<< folder


Step 2: In the "config" folder at C:\Windows\System32\config, locate the current registry hive files ...
  • system
    software
    security
    sam
    default
.... and re-name them by appending .old to the filename, so that they now look like this ....
  • system.old
    software.old
    security.old
    sam.old
    default.old

Step 3: Still in the "config" folder at C:\Windows\System32\config
Re-name the files that you copied from the restore point:
  • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM ... rename to SYSTEM
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE ... rename to SOFTWARE
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY ... rename to SECURITY
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM ...rename to SAM
    _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT .... rename to DEFAULT (You MUST remove the dot in front of DEFAULT)
You have now completed the system restore. Shut down the computer, removing the LIVE CD.

Does your Windows XP system start normally now?

================
A successful outcome ...
Windows XP freezes at Mup.s...
----------------------------------
Another successful outcome ...
C:\windows\system32\config\system file is missing or corrupt
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:12 AM   #13
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RE: testing the hard drive with SeaTools
As suggested by spunk.funk ... a good idea ... but if you have already run chkdsk /r, probably a bit late now. Nevertheless, it is a wise first step, because a failing hard drive could be the cause of the disk file-system (SYSTEM registry hive) corruption.

I suggest that you test the hard drive.

It is best to use the hard drive manufacturer's own diagnostic utility, but Seagate's tool will work OK on most brands. The diagnostic tool is run from a bootable CD (Windows does not need to be working).The first two steps are done on a working computer, while the third step is to boot the ailing computer with the CD that you create in the first two steps.

Step 1: Please download SeaTools for DOS (CD) from Seagate's SeaTools for DOS web page
  • or use the following direct download link to download the latest version of SeaTools for DOS:
    Download SeaTools for DOS ISO Image
    • The downloaded file name is SeaToolsDOS223ALL.ISO

Step 2: Burn the downloaded .ISO image to a CD using the appropriate burning software.
  • If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
    • Download and install ImgBurn.
      Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
    • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
    • Choose Write image file to disc.
      • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
      • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
    • Click

      When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.

Step 3: Boot from the CD.
  • (You may need to access the BIOS Setup Menu or the Boot Menu and change the boot order to enable booting from CD before hard drive.)
  • From Basic tests on the Main Menu, run the Short test and then the Long test.
    • (The long test will take some considerable time to complete.)
      The results will be shown as either a PASS or FAIL.
      There is a chance that during the Long test, you may be offered the opportunity to attempt repairs on the hard drive:
      • If so, go ahead and attempt to do so, but ONLY after backing up all important personal files.
Note: You may wish to view the following ...Please let us know the results of the tests.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustrAlien View Post
Please explain exactly what happened when you attempted to run chkdsk /r.
  • Did it not run?
  • Did you get an error message?
  • Did it complete successfully but the system still will not start and continues to give the
  • It did complete successfully but the system does not start and gives the same error.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustrAlien View Post
There are many options to use for a LIVE CD: Try Puppy Linux Slacko Puppy works well. (download file size 128 MB)
I cant find the download file of 128 mb size.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:32 AM   #16
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I am trying the seatools one now. I will let you know the results of it. Anyways thanks for your percious time.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:05 AM   #17
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Seatools test over. Got some errors, fixed them and reboot. But again the ****** error .
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFool View Post
I cant find the download file of 128 mb size.
slacko-5.3.1-SCSI-MAIN.iso
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:41 AM   #19
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Re: SeaTools Long test
You wrote: "Got some errors, fixed them"
I probably should mention that it would be wise to run the SeaTools tests again. Sometimes after fixing errors and showing a PASS, a subsequent test will show a FAIL and not be repairable. If this is the case here with your hard drive, you should be aware that the hard drive needs to be replaced.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:24 AM   #20
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@AustrAlien Hey bro, I heard that this problem can be solved if we have 2 pc's. Well I have a hp laptop and a pc (They are of same version - professional but I am not sure about the Sp). I would like to get brief decription about this.

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