windows xp won't start up

Dell Inspiron 1521 laptop (amd athlon 64...
July 24, 2010 at 05:10:24
Specs: Windows XP

I have a dell 1521 with windows vista. Didn't like vista and install XP on it. Used it for a while, I believe got spyware in it, and will not start up. At the start up there is a black screen and nothing happens.

And sometimes at the stsrtup, I get a blue screen that says "stop:0000218 (registry file failure) the registry cannot load the file : \systemroot\system32\config\system"

I was going to format it with the vista cd I have but,
1. I lost the product key,
2. before doing that, I want to make sure, if I can save my files before the format.

Where does that leave me now?

thank you.

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July 24, 2010 at 13:06:27
If you install a different OS your files will be overwritten. You need to copy the files off the drive before then.

You can use a Live CD version of Linux to access the files and copy of burn them somewhere. You could install the hard drive as a slave unit (not boot) in a different compatible computer and access the files that way.

Do you have a WinXP CD and key? If so you can perform a repair installation to the existing WinXP install. This should leave your My documents folder intact and the programs that are installed should stay.

Look at the link below for help with a repair. Also, if the restore partition on your hard drive is still intact you can restore to Vista without the need for an install key. Read your manual to learn how. If you never made a factory restore set of disks you may still be able to do that AFTER Vista is up and running.

You need to use Anti-Virus software.

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July 24, 2010 at 13:50:04
well, I have an XP with the product key, but the problem is if I format it, I am going to lose my files. How do I perform a repair installation of the existing XP?

Regarding anti-virus, I was using AVAST but that didn't do anything. and also where do I get a live CD version of linux?

Finally, since I have an XP CD with the key, what makes the most sense? (Repair installation?)

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July 24, 2010 at 14:23:45
Read the links I provided above and decide.

Your programs and documents files stay intact. All updates and service packs not on the CD will have to be re-installed.

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