file windows system32 config system missing o

February 20, 2011 at 14:07:05
Specs: Windows XP Pro

daughters Dell laptop gives an error upon starting up the system Error reads Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM I need some help in figuring out how to do a repair on this. OS is Microsoft Windows XP Professional. Really need someone's help

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#1
February 20, 2011 at 19:54:41

That error can be fixed two ways without you losing the personal data that's already on the partition Windows was installed on.

Dell computers that came with XP on them usually came with two or more disks when they were new - the first one is usually a Dell XP Re-installation CD or similar. If you have that, you can fix your problem either way.

There are 4 possible error messages you can get - the following mentions what may be an error that is worded differently but the procedure for you is the same.

For an answer about what to do about it, see response 3 in this (emachines system):
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...


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#2
February 21, 2011 at 09:43:56

I did put the Reinstallation CD Microsoft Windows XP Professional in the drive but nothing happened. I did just remember that daughter had to install a new keyboard (don't know why) but could that be something to do with not being able to start the laptop up?
But I will try the CD again

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#3
February 21, 2011 at 09:56:03

The machine need to be set to boot from CD for the reinstall CD to boot (on Dells, usually F2 will take you into bios settings to change this - or F12 usually gives you option to choose boot device just for that boot).

A repair reinstall may cause some issues, as its likely the install disk will be at a lower service pack level than your installation (which should be SP3) and lower IE level (you've probably got IE8) but reinstalling latest service pack & IE should bring things back. It is also a bit of overkill - the 'How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting' option (or a variation of it) is quicker (and returns system to basically how it was, but needs more technical expertise. Basically its doing a manual system restore (I have done this 100s of times using a BartPE Cd, which is much easier to work with than command prompt in recovery console).


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#4
February 21, 2011 at 10:07:08

The keyboard MUST be working properly for either method.
If you find it doesn't, DO NOT quit whatever you were doing if you had already started either procedure, try plugging in a USB connected keyboard and using that instead.

The Boot Order or similar settings must be set in the mboard's bios Setup such that CD-Rom or similar is listed before hard drive or similar

See Response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

OR - on most laptops, you are prompted with a line early in the boot sequence "Press xxx to select Boot device" or similar - you press the key while that line is on the screen and select CD-rom, or similar.

When the bootable Windows CD is detected while booting, you will see a line "Press any key to boot from CD" or similar - you press the stated key while that line is on the screen to boot from the CD.

If you choose the Repair installation of Windows method, Windows Setup will Restart the computer several times automatically.
DO NOT press the key to boot from the CD while booting once Windows Setup has started.

If you DO press the key to boot from the CD while booting after Windows Setup has started, the process of loading files from the CD again will start over from the beginning, and you will have lost the choice to do a Repair installation of Windows.
.........

NOTE that if the laptop has a SATA hard drive, the initial files loaded by the XP CD may NOT find the SATA hard drive, depending on settings in the bios.

If the SATA hard drive is not detected, go into the bios Setup and find the setting for the SATA drive controller mode, and set it to an IDE compatible mode of some sort, Save bios settings, then the initial files loaded by the XP CD WILL detect the SATA drive, as an IDE compatible drive.

I / we probably can't tell you which specific setting it is because we usually can't find that info for what you see in a brand name system bios version in Setup, but whatever it is it's presently set to SATA or AHCI, it's changeable, and at least one other choice is some sort of IDE compatible mode.


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#5
February 21, 2011 at 10:19:48

Hi Steve,

I did the F2 and the Dell Inspiron 8600 series Setup screen came up There is a boot Order Under this is 7 items listed one of them is CD/DVD/CD/-RW Drive Is this what I need to click on


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#6
February 21, 2011 at 10:27:25

"There is a boot Order Under this is 7 items listed one of them is CD/DVD/CD/-RW Drive Is this what I need to click on"

Yes.

Read response 4.

See the info about if you have a SATA hard drive that I have added to the end of response 4 .


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#7
February 21, 2011 at 10:57:00

well that response did not compute well for me I now have a screen that says Windows Setup
Then it says Please insert the disk labeled: Windows Automated Sustem Recovery Disk into the floppy drive, Press any key w hen ready I did that and the above came on the screen again.

Ugh I should have taken a repair class if I was gonna use the computer


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#8
February 21, 2011 at 11:42:02

I now have a screen that says Microsoft Windows XP <TM> Recovery Console (don't know how I got here)

The Recovery Console provides system repair adn recovery functionality.
Type EXIT to quit the Recovery Console and restart the computer.

1: C:\ WINDOWS
Which W indows installation would like to log onto
<To cancel, press ENTER>? I entered 1 for C:/Windows and the C:\Windows> prompt came up

now what do I do


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#9
February 21, 2011 at 11:48:46

"I now have a screen that says Microsoft Windows XP <TM> Recovery Console (don't know how I got here)

The Recovery Console provides system repair adn recovery functionality.
Type EXIT to quit the Recovery Console and restart the computer.

1: C:\ WINDOWS
Which W indows installation would like to log onto
<To cancel, press ENTER>? I entered 1 for C:/Windows and the C:\Windows> prompt came up

now what do I do"
........

DO NOT USE the Recovery Console if you want to do the Repair installation of Windows !

Type 1, press Enter.

You will be prompted for a ........Password:

Usually there is no password.
Just press Enter.

type: exit , press Enter to close the Recovery Console and restart the computer.

Hold the power button down until the computer shuts off.

IF you DO want to do the other choice I specified, the second choice, then READ the info at the link I provided. You can PRINT the directions for what you need to do when you go to the link on the Microsoft web site.

If you DO want to do the first choice, the Repair installation of Windows, then READ the info at the link I provided.
The link to how to do a Repair installation of Windows shows you what you need to do.



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#10
February 21, 2011 at 11:54:44

I don't have that CD I have checked all that she brought to me.

Can I download a copy from the internet from my computer and then use it in the laptop drive


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#11
February 21, 2011 at 12:30:42

If you read the info I previously had in response 9, I have deleted it, after you posted response 8, because it appears you DO have a Dell XP Re-installation CD, if you were able to load the Recovery Console.
If it IS a Dell XP Re-installation CD, the first disk has a \I386 folder on it with a large amount of files in it when you examine it on another computer in Windows Explorer. (about 490mb when you RIGHT click on the folder and select Properties).
Windows Explorer as at - All Programs - Accessories- Windows Explorer


"Can I download a copy from the internet from my computer and then use it in the laptop drive"

Legally, as far as Microsoft is concerned ? NO !

Illegally, as far as Microsoft is concerned ? Probably.

It's ALWAYS illegal, as far as Microsoft is concerned, to use a Product Key that is not owned by you - you own the right to the use the Windows version and to use the Product Key that's on the official Microsoft label.
.
If must be a copy of a regular Microsoft OEM CD of the same version, Home or Pro, in order for you to be able to use it along with the OEM Product Key on the Microsoft label on your computer.

You probably know someone who has a regular Microsoft OEM CD - someone with a generic desktop system is most likely.

The Microsoft license allows you make one copy of a Windows CD as a backup, and to use it to install Windows if you need to, so it's legal as far as they're concerned to use someone else's CD (or use a copy of one) as long as you're using your own Product Key.
However, you're not supposed to download a copy of any Microsoft software from the web that requires a Product Key unless you get it from Microsoft itself, or from some other legitimate source.


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#12
February 21, 2011 at 16:10:26

ok, here is what is on the screen now screen is black with the following dialog Microsoft Windows XP<TM> Recovery Console
The Recovery Console provides system repair and recovery functionality

type EXIT to quit the recovery console and restart the computer

1: c:\windows

which windows installation would you like to log onto

to cancel,press ENTER

this is a screen that had previous came up on here so I am back to where I started.
What can I do now



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#13
February 22, 2011 at 07:34:14


See the first part of response 9 for how to exit the Recovery Console.

Did you examine the first disk in the Dell set to see whether it has the \I386 folder with about 490mb of data in it ?

You said in response 7....

" well that response did not compute well for me I now have a screen that says Windows Setup
Then it says Please insert the disk labeled: Windows Automated Sustem Recovery Disk into the floppy drive, Press any key w hen ready I did that and the above came on the screen again."

Can you choose to NOT do that ?
E.g. select Cancel or Skip ?

If you CAN, you may be able to continue on to the Windows Setup,and be able to choose the second Repair choice- Repair an existing Windows installation or similar, and be able to run the Repair installation of Windows procedure.

If you CANNOT do anything else, when you see "Please insert the disk labeled: Windows Automated Sustem Recovery Disk into the floppy drive, Press any key w hen ready ..."
then you have no choice with the Dell supplied disk except to go into the Recovery Console and do the things in the Microsoft info at the link I provided in the info for the other choice.


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