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  #1  
Old April 14th, 2013, 03:56 AM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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Exclamation WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM - file MISSING/CORRUPT after Windows XP Update!

HELP! I know this place is filled with brilliant geniuses that have saved my Computer's Life a couple times over before. Always amazing and always wicked appreciated with any helpful info that can be provided.

Last time my PC was on, a Gateway FX, running Windows XP SP2, Windows applied an update and everything seemed fine. Shut down as normal. Attempted to start up - and got locked on the blue 'Welcome' screen while the OS is booting. Many minutes pass, computer entirely frozen, forced to do a Force-Shut-down by holding the power button. Try restarting, but this time it doesn't even make it to the Windows XP starting up/loading/icon-and-progress-bar-beneath screen - instead, I get the black screen with white text:

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

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM.
Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair.

----------------------------------------------

I attempted to restart in Safe Mode too, to see if I could troubleshoot anything at all, but the one other time I was able to bring up the options with 'F8', after choosing 'Safe Mode with Networking', only a few white loading-text-lines flew up my screen before stopping with that same white-text error message seen above.

I DO have my original setup CD, currently in the drive. However, when pushing 'r' to try doing a simple repair of that one file, the only option(s) it's giving me is a DESTRUCTIVE RESTORE of the FULL SYSTEM, where it deletes everything and restores to factory OS - or, one 'With Backup', stating it will allocate files to another folder somewhere but that EVERYTHING else will need to be reinstalled. Is there ANY way at ALL that I can JUST try to repair that ONE file? That ONE 'missing or corrupt' "\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM" file?? I'm willing to do anything it takes, just trying not to lose everything and start from scratch again, yet unsure if my Hard Drive still has the 4GB (plus 2GB for System Restore functions) Free Space that it says the 'With Backup' restore option requires.

Thanks in advance for any possible ideas or helpful solutions. Fingers crossed it doesn't resort to losing everything, including original yet-to-be-published compositions, writing, work, etc! So frustrating that it seems like it was something from a Windows Update.
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  #2  
Old April 14th, 2013, 05:57 PM
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Murf Murf is offline
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It's not a missing file, the update somehow corrupted your registry. Can you get into just SAFEMODE? Or Last Known Configuration?
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  #3  
Old April 15th, 2013, 12:14 AM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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No, I'm afraid that opening it in Safe Mode yields the same results, along with trying to do Last Known Configuration.
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  #4  
Old April 15th, 2013, 12:58 AM
LRI41 LRI41 is offline
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1. When you reboot your computer, a window should appear in your upper left screen
about pressing F2 to Bios or F8 for setup to something like that, you want to
get into set up or whatever it is called, to try your "Last Know Configuartion"
if that doesn't work, then you want to try theone that gets you into "Bios" and changeyou boot from Hard Drive to CD Rom and then put you CD in and restart.
YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO A 'REPAIR" SO DO NOT SAY OK OR PRESEE THE "R"
BECAUSE THAT WILL GET YOU INTO THE rECOVERY CONSOLE

YOU WANT TO DO A "REPAIR INSTALL, you have to accept the License Agreement and then you installation you want to repair and then press RIF REPAIR IS NOT ONE OF THE OPTIONS, IT WILL THEN SAY sETUP WILL COPY THE NECESSARY FILE TO THE HARD DRIVE AND REABOOT, DO NOT PRESS
ANY KEY TO BOOT FROM cd WHEN THE MESSAGE APPEARS, SETUP WILL CONTINUTE AS IF IT WERE DOING A CLLEAN INSTALL, BUT YOUR APPLICATIONS AND SETTINGS WILL REMAIN INTACT.
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  #5  
Old April 16th, 2013, 09:57 PM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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Thank you both again, but I've seen multiple warnings and precautions by the mods against people following the instructions of other general posters/members, so I juuuust want to be careful (considering I'm dealing with BIOS matters and OS) and double-check to get a Mod confirmation that this is what I should do. It certainly SOUNDS like it, and it's exactly what I'm LOOKING to do (only repair that corrupt file rather than reinstall the whole OS), but considering there's only a difference of 3 Posts between us, Mr. LRI41, I'm taking it better safe than sorry for the moment.

Also, as I previously posted, I can't access either Safe Mode NOR "Last Known Configuration". Since that doesn't work, should I indeed next go into 'BIOS', change my BOOT setting from Hard Drive to CD Rom?

By 'put you CD in' did you mean that I should put my 'Windows XP OS installation CD', I assume? But DO NOT push 'R', just let it take me to a different screen that says 'Repair Install', accept the agreement...'and then you installation you want to repair' - as in, it will allow me to choose which OS or which File I wish to repair?

Most importantly, 'my applications and settings will remain intact', but will my personal (non-system) files as well? Or is this essentially choosing the option when I put the OS disc in that's a 'Repair Install WITH BACKUP', essentially allocating 4GB of space and keeping my files but having to reinstall all my applications and programs? Because, as stated above, I was concerned I might not have the 4GB left free to do that.

Thank you again, I'll wait for a MOD confirmation on if this should be my next step.
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  #6  
Old April 18th, 2013, 12:27 AM
LRI41 LRI41 is offline
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SEE;

How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/978788


How-to repair Windows XP - Geeks to Go Forums

http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/topic...ir-windows-xp/


Repair Windows XP by Performing a Repair Install (Part 1 of 2)

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/operat...txprepair1.htm


How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install

http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm


Windows XP Repair Installation - ITS Help Desk - Information Technology Services at The University of Iowa

http://helpdesk.its.uiowa.edu/window...airinstall.htm

Last edited by LRI41; April 18th, 2013 at 02:10 AM.
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  #7  
Old April 18th, 2013, 04:32 PM
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Murf Murf is offline
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As indicated in the post:

How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install

http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

If you follow those instructions then all your files/folders/programs will stay intact, and yes you need to have the 1st boot device in your BIOS as CDROM, to boot from the CD. You may have to re-install some programs, it all depends on how much a program is dependent on Windows, but all your pictures, my documents etc will stay there.
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  #8  
Old April 22nd, 2013, 12:38 PM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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I'm afraid I've encountered the next big problem right away with this. I've read the documentation (thanks again), and when my computer tries to start I've not only tried the <F10> BOOT menu, selecting the DVD drive before the hard drive; I've also gone into the <F2> BIOS menu and changed the boot priority of my devices so the DVD drive was highest, above the Hard Drive...but still I'm getting a different screen when it 'boots to CD' than what we're looking for here for the Repair Install. Is this because it's a GATEWAY FX computer, and that's the company that bundled the original 'Gateway Windows OS' CD? No matter what method I try, after that screen to choose either BIOS or BOOT, when it starts the CD the screen that I receive looks like this, white text on black:
Gateway System Recovery

Press 'R' to display Gateway System Recovery options. (then gives a brief countdown)

Press F11 to start recovery (then gives another countdown)




~If I do not push either of those buttons, in brings me back to the original error screen I first posted, about the corrupt system file. However, no matter which button I DO push, it brings me to the same Green-Header 'Gateway System Recovery' screen. Along the left is a column of titles apparently for progress, from top to bottom reading:
Selecting Recovery Option
Hard disk Preparation
Copying Files
Changing CD-Rom
Finalizing Recovery
--------------------
Time elapsed
00:00
Time remaining



------------------------------------
The ONLY TWO OPTIONS I can choose in the 'System Restore Options' are those two original ones that I was concerned about and NOT looking for:

-Full System Restore (Destructive)
**WARNING** This option will format your hard disk and reinstall all factory...(etc.)

-Full System Restore (with Backup)
This option will move all Hard Disk contents to the 'C:\My Backup' directory and install a new copy of Windows. This option preserves your existing data files, however all applications and settings will need to be reinstalled. This option requires 4GB of free Hard Disk space for the new OS.




----------------------
What else can I do, really? I'm ideally still trying to just get that 'missing/corrupt' system32 file restored, but at this point I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Am I doing something wrong? The CD's in there and that's the menu it BOOTs to - is there any other way to access the WINDOWS menu for the Repair Install that we ARE looking for?

Thanks again!
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  #9  
Old April 22nd, 2013, 04:01 PM
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Murf Murf is offline
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Frustrating, unfortunately when it did the update, it appears that the Windows Registry got corrupted. There is a way to fix it, however, we need to get to the Windows Recovery Console to fix it. Which you cannot with the CD you have. Apparently the CD you have is a recovery CD from Gateway, which as you found will reinstall Windows, and you loose all your programs.

If you select:
Full System Restore (with Backup)
This option will move all Hard Disk contents to the 'C:\My Backup' directory and install a new copy of Windows. This option preserves your existing data files, however all applications and settings will need to be reinstalled. This option requires 4GB of free Hard Disk space for the new OS

Which means you will have to re-install all your programs, but your documents, pictures ect. will be saved in a folder called C:\My Backup.

Which means whatever programs you have that are dependent on Windows you would have to reinstall...i.e., Office..

Step by Step

But before doing that, lets see if we can repair it.

Do you by chance have access to another computer with XP on it? Does the sick computer by chance have a Floppy disk drive?
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  #10  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 05:42 AM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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Good news, bad news (with a possible Upside), and interesting news! Good news is I DO in fact have access to a computer with Windows XP (albeit SP3 while mine was SP2 I believe). THAT PC even DOES have a Floppy disk drive. Bad news is, the sick PC does NOT...but a possible Upside is that I DO have a USB connectable Floppy Drive...but would that even work in this case? Interesting news is I know I USED to have the Recovery Console installed on my comp. Been awhile since I've tried to access it though...and it didn't seem to be showing up as any option to start up into like it used to.
Thanks again for the help!
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  #11  
Old April 23rd, 2013, 05:48 AM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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Also, I do realize what that means, what would happen, if I chose that system restore option (With Backup). My concern and question about THAT option though has been wondering what would happen if I did not actually have those full 4GB of space free? (Ideally with 2GB more to spare too for System Restore options to stay enabled.) I know I was getting dangerously close. Would it, in effect, free up far more space in the process since I'd need to reinstall so many programs/games/etc anyway?
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  #12  
Old May 21st, 2013, 07:39 PM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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Greetings again! I understand you're no doubt very busy with your own life and everything else happening on these boards, but I was wondering if you might have a chance to finish troubleshooting this from last month?
I'd love to see if we can repair the PC rather than do a fresh install, especially since I do not know for certain if I even HAD the required 4GB free still on the infected PC (Does that even matter? Will it take the space from all the files associated with Windows being overwritten or something? Or would the attempted install FAIL MIDWAY if not enough space is present?)

To answer your last question shortly: I do indeed have access to a PC with Windows XP (SP3 not SP2 if that matters) AND the GOOD PC DOES have a Floppy drive on it, but the infected PC DOES NOT. I DO have a USB floppy drive though - but would that even be recognized on the infected PC without the OS booting?

Thank you again for all your time and consideration.
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  #13  
Old May 22nd, 2013, 05:19 AM
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Murf Murf is offline
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Sorry, not around much.

Using the good computer go here and download the following file;
http://www.thecomput...om/files/rc.iso

This is an image of the Microsoft Recovery Console. Once downloaded you need to burn it to a CD

A freeware burning software is HERE

Once you have it on a CD, then boot from that CD and when the window comes up you select REPAIR, this will enter the Recovery Console.

Once you get into the recovery console you will end up at a flashing cursor, now follow the instructions HERE (about 1/2 way down)
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  #14  
Old May 24th, 2013, 08:38 AM
taliesin42 taliesin42 is offline
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Awesome! Thanks so much for this, looks like this will work perfectly, read through and it seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. In order to GET that trustworthy file of the Recovery Console downloaded on the good computer...I'm afraid to say that the forums auto-shortened the link you gave. I tried opening in another page and copying link to go to it, but it's only coming out as posted above:
http://www.thecomput...om/files/rc.iso
What exactly would the full address be? I'd do a websearch for it but really want it to be from the very same trustworthy place you're directing me towards, especially with something so sensitive. Thanks again!
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  #15  
Old May 24th, 2013, 10:47 AM
IPR512 IPR512 is offline
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I think this is the place Murf found the iso file.
http://www.thecomputerparamedic.com/. Scroll down the page until you see Recovery Console iso-you asked for it. Click on the blue words "thefamousrc.iso file."
I hope that helps.
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