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Repair - \windows\system32\ config\system
Sunday, August 20, 2006
windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system
This is a nasty little greeting that has appeared on my Windows XP machine a couple of time recently, it's also popped up at work and on a friends computer.
Thankfully, it has a fairly simple solution. During the last 4 times of fixing it, I have streamlined the solution which cuts out a few unnecesary steps I've seen mentioned in the first few articles I looked to for help.
1. Turn your computer off
2. Insert your Windows XP CD and reboot from the CD drive
To boot from CD, press DEL on startup and enter into the system BIOS setup and select your CD drive as the first boot drive, press F10 to save your settings and exit
Your computer will reboot from the XP disc
3. Press 'R' when offered the option of using the Windows Recovery Console
(Note: there are lots of articles telling you NOT to do it this way, but from my recent experience this is the quickest and easiest way.)
4. The Recovery Console
At the prompt type the following:
C:\WINDOWS >cd system32\
this changes the current directory to C:\Windows\System32
ren config configold
This renames the config folder to configold
this makes a new directory called config
changes the current directory to c:\Windows\System32\Config
then type the following lines pressing enter after each one
[EDIT added 17/04/2007] If the system file is the only one missing / corrupted, it may not be necessary to continue with the other 4 lines of code. The reason they are here is that the second tme it happened to me, when I rebooted after replacing the system file, it then asked me for the next, then the next etc.[end EDIT]
[EDIT added 17/04/2007] Be warned, replacing the SAM file can overwrite your current windows password - if you have changed your password since installing windows you may not be able to get access to your computer.
A safe way of doing this is to replace all other files but ONLY replace the SAM file if you get an error message on startup saying it is missing or corrupted.
A few people on here have had this issue and I apologise for not realising this was possible.[end EDIT]
after each line it should say:
1 file copied
When your computer boots, it will probably run CHKDSK and show lots of orphaned files which it will automatically repair [EDIT added 17/04/2007] It would make sense to run check disk after your first successful reboot.[end EDIT]
(you will have to go back into the BIOS setup and change the boot drive back from CD to your primary Hard Disk)
Windows should boot normally and everything should be fine!
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