|"Manufacturer/Model: Me / CUSTOM"|
That tells us nothing.
We need to know
- the make and model of the mboard if you have a generic system
- OR - the make and model of the brand name system, even if you installed Windows on it from a regular CD and are not using the original brand name software instation.
- do you have more than one hard drive connected?
- are all hard drives connected directly to the mboard?
- do you have more than one Windows installation on this computer?
"i think i can attest that is is possible to get the OS to install by to a slave drive......this newbie puter builder (me) saw fit to assign a zip drive as master and the 200GB WDHDD as slave. hence the WD got the name "F". "
Win 2000 and XP do not determine the drive letter assigned to the partition Windows is installed on by how the drives are connected to the mboard or by how they are jumpered.
Windows 2000 and XP Setup assigns whatever drive letter it uses for the partition Windows is installed on according to whatever drive letters have already been assigned to partitions or drives previously that it detects while running Setup.
In some circumstances, that may not be the same as what the Recovery Console detects
(see EXAMPLE below).
By default you can change any drive letter assigned (of C thru Z) by the operating system installion EXCEPT the drive letter of the partition Windows sees itself as installed on, to any drive letter not already assigned - sometimes you need to temporarily or permanently assign other drive letters to free up the drive letter(s) you want to use for certain partitions or drives.
If Setup is run and it detects no other drive letters have been assigned to existing partitions/physical drives, whatever partition Windows is installed on is assigned C.
However, if Setup is run and it detects drive letters have already been assigned to partitions or drives previously by an operating system, the drive letter of the partition Windows is installed on is the first next available drive letter alphabetically. E.g. if C, D, and E were already being used, such as for three partitions Setup recognizes on a hard drive or hard drives that were detected when Setup was run, the drive letter assigned to the partition Windows is installed on is F.
If you DO have other partitions that are detected by Setup as having already been assigned a drive letter, if you want the drive letter assigned to the partition Windows is installed to be C in that case, if you are installing Windows from scratch, or if it doesn't matter to you whether you install Windows from scratch again, all you have to do is to prevent any hard drive partitions already present from being detected while running Setup.
- if there is more than one hard drive connected and the drive partition you want to install Windows on is the only partition on one of the drives, you simply disconnect the data cable connection of the other hard drives (you may need to change jumpering on IDE drives when you do that) , or unplug the power connections to them, when you run Setup.
- if there are one or more other partitions on a single drive that Setup can detect as having been assigned a drive letter to, you can temporarily HIDE any other partition from being detected by Setup by using something such as a partition maniplation program such as Partition Magic to HIDE the other partition(s) while running Setup.
"Actually, if your current OS partition is labeled F you probably should fix that with a restore or new installation."
You can only fix that (unless you do something out of the ordinary to change the situation, which I don't recommend a newbie attempting) by installing the OS from scratch, as just outlined.
A Repair"install" will use the same drive letter as before.
"...my slipstreamed recovery boot disk..."
"my recovery XPSP2"
What do you mean by that?
You're probably not using the term recovery disk the standard way.
The term Recovery disk usually is only used for a disk used to restore the original software installation of a brand name system, that being the operating system plus other software and additional drivers suitable for the system, along with the original brand name installed data contents of the second partition on the original hard drive.
If you made a slipstreamed CD with the contents of an XP CD that had the SP2 updates integrated into it, technically that's not a Recovery disk, it's just a slipstreamed operating system disk.
However, there are third party so called recovery disks on the web you can buy, that are supposed to be able to fix most Windows problems.
"what about creating a partition called C on the same physical drive (i've already called the zip drive Z), adn making a mirror image of the OS in that new C partition and then erasing the F data? could you just copy all the files across from F:windows into C and have things work ok?"
Setup probably detected C, D, and E were already being being used when Setup was run, hence that's probably how F got assigned to the partition was installed on. You may already have a partition that has been assigned C by your existing Windows installation.
Unless you do something out of the ordinary to change the situation, which I don't recommend a newbie attempting, as I said above, the default is you can change any drive letter (C to Z) assigned, if you so desire, EXCEPT the drive letter Windows sees itself as installed on.
If you copy all the data from F to another partition, Windows will NOT necessarily see itself as being assigned C - in fact it may still use F.
"i encountered this error message; "windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system"
You have two choices.
1. You can repair just what is wrong using a Microsoft specified procedure . The drive letter Windows sees itself assigned to will not change. However it's rather tedious and daunting for a newbie to do, and it requires that you DID NOT have System Restore turned off when you got the above error message, in order for you to be able to restore Windows to the way it was before you got the error.
If you DID have System Restore turned off when you got the above error message,
- if your Windows installation was installed as part of the installation of a brand name software installtion, DO NOT perform the following procedure (See MORE BRAND NAME below for why).
- if Windows was installed from a regular CD, or from a slipstreamed version of one, in the following procedure, ONLY replace the SYSTEM file with the backup one - that will get Windows working again and I know from experience you will only have to do minor things to get it to the way it was before the error.
The directions for what you need to do are here:
Note: you DO NOT do Part 4 (skip Parts 2 and 3 and go to to Part 4) unless you have done a NT Backup and completed a system state backup.
You can go there and PRINT the entire article on another computer, then use the printed directions to fix your problem on your own computer.
2. You can run a Repair "install" procedure. The drive letter Windows sees itself assigned to will not change.This is much less tedious and daunting for a newbie to do. You must have a bootable Windows CD, Home or Pro, whatever one your Windows installation is, and have the Product Key for it,
OR - for a brand name system, the Product Key on the official Microsoft sticker on the outside of the case, if that is the same, Home or Pro, as the Windows installation on the hard drive.
(If you are using XP MCE, it does NOT fit on one CD - you must use the OEM MCE 2 CD set, or the equivalent on a DVD [which I've never heard of existing]).
A Repair "install" procedure (I prefer calling it the "Repair Setup" procedure) runs Setup again without deleting the user installed settings and user installed data contents of the partition Windows is installed on, so you don't have to re-install anything. If everything goes fine, at worst, when it's the SYSTEM file that was the problem, there may be some minor things you need to fix after Setup has finished.
How to do an XP Repair Setup, step by step:
CAUTIONS regarding running the Repair "install" (Repair Setup) procedure. If any of these things cause a problem, your existing Windows installation may end up TRASHED, and you may not be able to run a Repair "install" (Repair Setup) again even if you correct the problem:
- There must be nothing physically wrong with your hard drive.
If you're not sure about that....
Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.
- there can't be any problems regarding the reliabilty of reading the ram.
If you're not sure about that.....
See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
- there must be no problems regarding reading the operating system CD.
Make sure the CD is clean.
Use a laser lens cleaning CD in the drive.
There must be no problems regarding the data cable to the drive, and the drive must be able to operate correctly.
MORE BRAND NAME
I know from experience you can't replace just SYSTEM with the backup on a brand name software installation because you will then get another error that is tedious to fix (you have to restore the original botched up SYSTEM file to where it was - if you deleted it you're SOL) - you have to replace ALL the files listed with the backups - Windows will then work, but if System Restore has been turned off, you have no restore points to load and everything not automatically detected by Windows is set to defaults - you'll have to re-install all the needed drivers Windows didn't find automatically and re-install at least all the software you installed after you got the system.
The ONLY way to go in that situation, without having to install your brand name software installation from scratch, when System Restore has been turned off, is to try a Repair "install" procedure!!
What Recovery Console sees may not be what the Windows installation sees.
I recently fixed the same error as you are getting on someone else's computer.
The AM2 mboard has two IDE headers....
- one is for the drive controller built into the main chipset - it has two DVD drives connected to it.
- the other is for an additional JMicron combo IDE/SATA drive controller built into the mboard that is not part of the main chipset - it has two IDE hard drives connected to it, each with more than one partition, one of which has the partition XP boots from.
There is also a SATA drive with two partitions on it that is only used for data storage - that's connected to the main chipset's drive controller.
The mboard bios is in IDE compatibilty mode, so I don't need to press F6 at the beginning of Setup and load drivers for the main chipset SATA drive controllers when booting from the Windows CD in order for it to detect the SATA drive .
When I boot with the Windows CD, the Recovery Console sees the first partition on the SATA drive as C, the second one as D (they're H and I in Windows) ; it doesn't find any of the IDE hard drive partitions, EVEN IF I load the drivers for the JMicron controller at the beginning of Setup.
Since there are no Windows installations on the SATA drive, the Recovery Console doesn't find any, and none are listed by number.
I had to change the IDE drive data cable connections so the DVD drive jumpered as master and the hard drive jumpered as slave were disconnected, physically move the IDE drive I wanted to boot from so it was close to the DVD drive jumpered as slave, and connect the moved IDE drive (jumpered as master, which has the Windows installation on one of it's partitions) and the DVD drive jumpered as slave to the main chipset IDE header .
I had to then change which drive was listed first in the order of the hard drives listed in the bios Setup to the IDE drive I wanted to boot from (it defaulted to listing the SATA drive first when I had changed the drive connections).
THEN when I booted from the XP CD, the Recovery Console found the C partition on the proper (IDE) drive, and found the Windows installation and listed it.
I used the full Microsoft specified procedure, System Restore had not been turned off, but I would have to do thesame thing If I had done a Repair "install" (Repair Setup) procedure.
I then had to change the IDE drive connections back to the way they were before.