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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey there,

Picked up a mates computer yesterday for my gf to use for a while, brought it home, set it up. Worked fine, connected to the network, all good.

Left it on in windows, went to work for a couple of hours, came home and it had restarted itself, sitting on an error saying the following:

================

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

you can attempt to repair this file by using windows setup using the original set up cd-rom,
select r at the first screen to start repair

================

I tried restarting again, it gets to the error just after it does the IDE checks etc etc. Also tried booting in safe mode, same deal.

Did some searching, came up with a few ideas to resolve it, such as repairing from windows cd. So I put the cd in, drive makes plenty of noise, bios is set to read cdrom first, yet it doesn't give me the option to boot from cd. It's like it's not even in there. So there goes that idea. (drive works fine in other computer, so it's not the drive)

They also suggested making a few floppy disks to force boot from cd, which seemed like a good idea until i realised I had no floppy drive >_<.

Anywho, hopefully some of you have seen/resolved this issue before, as it seems to have happened to a few people based on googles results.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Paul
 

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G'Day Spotila,

Have a look at this article from Microsoft®, it is pretty comprehensive, but a little tricky.
Once you read all the instructions carefully though its not that bad...I had a similar problem earlier this year, and the workaround did the trick for me. :grin:

Post back with how you get on. :wave:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
that will not work for me, due to the fact it requires:

1. Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.

As stated, the option to boot from the XP cd never comes up.
 

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OK...see if you can get it to go into the 'safe mode' screen by holding/tapping the F8 key as soon a you power it up.

If you can get in there by a miraculuos 'change of heart' of this cantankerous contraption, go to "Last known good configuration" as see what transpires.
Let me know what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ok somehow the cd drive decided to start reading the windows cd. I proceeded to take the steps advised by microsoft, completing the following:

1. Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
2. When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
3. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you want to access from the Recovery Console.
4. When you are prompted to do so, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.
5. 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
6. Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer will restart.


After this, the error remained, and I was unable to proceed with the steps because they assume you can now access windows, which I can't because the error isn't fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK...see if you can get it to go into the 'safe mode' screen by holding/tapping the F8 key as soon a you power it up.

If you can get in there by a miraculuos 'change of heart' of this cantankerous contraption, go to "Last known good configuration" as see what transpires.
Let me know what happens.
also, tried that earlier, same error happens.

P
 

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Sorry for the delay in replying.

Unfortunately I think that the only solution would be to "boot n' nuke" this drive and start all over again with a formatted drive and a 'clean' installation of Windows®.
Having said that, you will need the original CD and the Product Key to continue.

"Boot n' Nuke is available from here, and its a free program that can be downloaded for CD/DVD.

Good Luck with it, and please post back with the outcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hmmm. I would prefer that as an absolute final option, as it's not my drive, and there's considerable amounts of data on it.

I performed a chkdsk, and a chkdsk - r in the recovery console, both of which didn't fix it.

P
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cheers, but I tried this the other day also. I get to the screen where it displays partitions, after pressing enter to "install windows". Usually if there's a working windows version on the drive, it directs you to a screen showing that version of windows to select.

This computer seems to skip that screen altogether and goes straight to the partition setup screen. There are 2 partitions, both which only allow me to format them, saying they are "either too full, damaged, not formatted, or formatted with an incompatible file system". There is also 30GB (on 120GB drive) of unpartitioned space. Go figure.

Cheers,

P
 

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Well spotila, I'd been inclined to take a look at the CD-ROM, and wonder if it was bad.

So I put the cd in, drive makes plenty of noise, bios is set to read cdrom first, yet it doesn't give me the option to boot from cd. It's like it's not even in there. So there goes that idea.
It worked in the other computer, then it didn't work in yours, then it did work.

Intermittant Problem ?

Check to make sure the cable is tightly connected, and double check jumper settings & cable placement.

Might get the diagnostic utility from the HD manufacturer and verify if it's good. Be a waste of time troubleshooting the O/S when the HD is bad.

Run chkdsk for good measure.

What's the AV situation, & are the definitions updated ?
Same-same for the Windows; fully updated ?

Oh, do this first. Remove the CD-ROM from the system and see if it boots without it.

While thinking about it, make sure the jumpers on the HD are correct for both conditions, with & without the CD-ROM. Do they share the cable ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Note: CD drive works fine now as stated earlier in the thread.

Ran a chkdsk and diagnostic on the drive already, both show no issues.

Windows ran perfectly when i first setup the machine, which further leans toward the drive being fine. Jumpers and cables are all checked and confirmed to be fine. Windows fully updated also.

P
 
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