System32\Config message

Emachine / T3256
August 22, 2009 at 21:31:26
Specs: Windows XP Home
I'm receiving a system\32\config message. One problem is all I have is the Restore CD from the mfg. I tried a brand new HD with the same results. Do I need an XP CD or could I have a bigger problem?

See More: System32\Config message

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#1
August 22, 2009 at 22:07:41
Quote the exact wording of the message.

You could not get a message like that from the new hard drive if it has no data on it.

Using a Restore CD or CD set is a last resort. You will lose all your personal data if you use that, unless you copy it or back it up elsewhere before you use the disk(s).
Your problem can probably be fixed, if you supply us with enough information.

Some brand name Restore disks that come with the computer are actually slightly modified OEM XP CDs - in that case if it's a CD, not a DVD, it only restores Windows - you can use it the same way you use an XP CD - you use the Product Key on the official Mircosoft label on the outside of the computer case if you are asked to supply one during Setup - you need to get the drivers for your model from the emachines web site after Setup has finished and load them.



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#2
August 23, 2009 at 09:10:48
Heres the story. Started with a blue screen that said system halted (hardware problem). I rebooted and restored to a date 2 weeks prior. Everything was good unless the unit was left idle for a period of time then the blue screen would appear. At some point when I booted up all got was the Window not shut down properly screen with the options Safe Mode, Last known config and so on. Last known config worked once but now in Start Normal nothing happens and Last known config I get Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM corrupt of missing. When I try using Safe mode. It tries to load something then stops after tring to load drivers. Last driver to load or try to load is SYS32\Drivers\Mup.sys
Again I tried to use the restore disk from emachine with no luck. Geek squad said mabe HD ( I needed another one anyway) so I installed new HD, ran the restore disk with the same results.
When I boot from the restore disk I try hitting "r" thinking I might get a repair screen but I don't. This is why I asked if I needed an XP install disk. Also I am not sure if my version of the restore disk has sp2 on it.

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#3
August 23, 2009 at 12:02:26
"Started with a blue screen that said system halted (hardware problem).

Was there an error message as well?
Did it name a file? Sometimes there's a details or other link you have to click on to see that.
If so did you make note of that?

E.g. STOP: 0X000000x TEXT_WITH_UNDERLINES_BETWEEN_WORDS
E.g. IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

"Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM corrupt of missing."

That CAN be an indication of a Windows software problem you need to fix - I can tell you how to do that but you need an XP CD or the equivalent to do that - BUT that and similar is sometimes a false message when you have a software or a hardware problem.

If you re-seat and test the ram (see below) and that is fine, and if any of the bootable CDs you have can be booted (see below if that doesn't work), then you probably DO have that Windows software problem you need to fix, but you need an XP CD or the equivalent.
If your Restore disk is a slightly modified OEM XP CD, it's not a DVD, and it has an \i386 folder and several other standard folders seen on regular OEM XP CDs.
If it's a DVD, it may not have \i386 on it.
If your Restore disk is a slightly modified OEM XP CD, it should boot into Windows Setup on any properly working computer , if the bios boot order settings are correct.

"I try using Safe mode. It tries to load something then stops after tring to load drivers. Last driver to load or try to load is SYS32\Drivers\Mup.sys"

When you boot into Safe made, it lists a whole bunch of lines about things that are loading, then the screen stays that way for a while, then the logon screen pops up - Administrator and whatever other user(s).
Mups.sys is often at the bottom of the list.
It being listed last doesn't necessarily indicate that's the file that is causing the problem, and that probably has nothing to do with your problem.

"so I installed new HD, ran the restore disk with the same results."

You would NOT get this error if the new hard drive was connected and no other hard drive was connected if the new drive had no data on it

"Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM corrupt of missing"

because it's generated by XP itself. You probably can't get it in Windows Setup either, unless, possibly, you have a ram or data cable problem.

You COULD get that error if you had two hard drives connected and you weren't booting the new drive in the mboard bios settings

You could get other errors because of a hardware problem, generated by the mboard or the software on the optical disk.

If the new hard drive was the only hard drive and had no data on it, then whatever message you got was because of a hardware problem.

Have you installed any card or hardware device recently or since the computer last worked correctly?

Have you changed which ram you have installed in the mboard since the system last worked correctly?

If you HAVE NOT, or in any case.....

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

......

If you HAVE changed which ram you have installed in the mboard since the system last worked correctly.....

Ram that works in another mboard , or any ram you buy or have lying around, may not work properly, or sometimes, not at all - even if it physically fits and is the right overall type (e.g. SDram, DDR, DDR2, etc.; PCxxxx, xxx mhz) for your mboard. In the worst cases of incompatibilty your mboard WILL NOT BOOT all the way with it installed, and the mboard may not even beep - the ram has to be compatible with the mboard's main chipset, or in the case of recent mboards, compatible with the memory controller built into the cpu.

The same applies for testing your ram in another mboard - the ram must be compatible with the other mboard - if it isn't, any results of testing the ram on the other mboard cannot be relied upon to be valid.

If you still have the ram that was installed when the system worked fine, try installing just that ram, if you know which ram it is.


See response 5 in this for some info about ram compatibilty, and some places where you can find out what will work in your mboard for sure:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...
Correction to that:
Mushkin www.mushkin.com

Once you know which module ID strings work in your mboard, you can get them from anywhere you like that has ram with those ID strings.

If you have brand name ram, it is usually easy to look up whether it's ID string is in a list of compatible modules found by using your mboard or brand name system model number.
If the ram is generic, that may be difficult or impossible.
.....

Contrary to popular belief, it is extremely rare for ram that was working fine previously to go BAD, unless you have damaged it by something you did when installing or removing it, or unless it was damaged by some event such as a power failure or a power supply failing. Almost always, when you have a ram problem, it's either because the ram has a poor connection, or you have installed ram that is not compatible with your mboard's main chipset, or it's CPU's memory controller if that applies.

If you do a ram test, do that AFTER having tried cleaning the contacts and making sure the ram is seated properly - otherwise any errors found may be FALSE.
If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.
If a ram test DOES find errors, if you have more than one module installed, try the test with one module at a time - sometimes they won't work properly when more than one is installed, but it will pass when by itself.


If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag...
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).
.........

"When I boot from the restore disk I try hitting "r" thinking I might get a repair screen but I don't. This is why I asked if I needed an XP install disk. Also I am not sure if my version of the restore disk has sp2 on it. "

emachines may have instructions on their site about how to use it.
Please quote the labelling on the "Restore" disk.

If it's a slightly modified OEM XP CD, it has an \i386 folder and several other standard folders seen on regular OEM XP CDs.
If it's a DVD, it may not have \i386 on it.


Is it possible you got more than one disk with the system and have just lost track of where other disks are at?
E.g. A friend's HP laptop (about 4 years old) came with 3 -two CDs, one is a slightly modified XP Home CD, you boot with that first when you do a Restore, and a DVD that has drivers and HP supplied extra programs.

Whether it is as I have seen - a slightly modified OEM XP CD - or the only Restore disk of another type, or the proper first disk in a Restore disk set, if the settings in the bios for the boot order are correct, it should boot on it's own without you having to type anything.

If the settings in the bios for the boot order are correct, early in the booting of the computer, if the disk is bootable, you should either see "Press any key to boot from the CD" or similar - if you see that press the key - OR the disk may automatically boot, when the hard drive has no data on it or otherwise.

If neither happens

- That not working can be caused by a ram problem, or a problem with the data cable connection to the drive.
You must be having no problems with your ram, or your data cable connection to the drive. .

- are you SURE the disk is bootable? Try it in another computer.
- if it's a DVD, make sure it's in a drive that can read DVDs

- make sure the disk is clean
- if you have only one CD or DVD drive, try using a laser lens cleaning CD in the drive
- if you have more than one CD or DVD drive, some bioses will only boot a bootable disk from one optical drive.
Try the disk in another drive, or go into the bios and find the list of optical drives and make the one you want to boot from the first one, save settings

- the boot order in the bios Setup settings may not be correct. A CD or optical drive should be listed before all harddrives, or SCSI if you are booting from a drive connected to a drive controller in a slot. It dies not have to be listed first - if you hhave afloppy drive and use it, that should be before it.
.......

You should have tested your original hard drive before you bought a new one.

Your ram and data cable connection to the drive must not be having a problem when you do that, but your operating system does not have to be working in order to do that.

If you not fiddled with the data cable connection it's likely there's nothing wrong with that, but if you HAVE....

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittant, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.


Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.


Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...

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.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.


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#4
August 23, 2009 at 19:13:55
Tubesandwires:

WOW I have some work to do. Thanks big time for the help so far.
Here is more info after your response.
There was just the message "system halted'. No error message but it did say something like contact manufacture or something simular. I expected contact system admin but that was not it.
After your response. I cleaned the connectors and reseated the RAM but no luck. I have not tested yet still working on that.
The restore disk is a DVD with no dirt or scraches. It only states that it is a restore disk provided if the software ever needs to be reinstalled Ver1.0.
When I boot from the DVD I get a system restore/Windows XP menu.
1) restore windows XP
2) Boot to Command Prompt from CD-ROM.
Please select 1 or 2.

One: I get a warning. Do I want to proceed. When I do GHOST starts.
Two: Takes me to a DOS prompt.
I have tried the DOS prompt to change dir with not luck.

When I try either the original or new HD it is always one drive at a time never together. This is the only time I fiddled with the data cable and I had the problem before the HD change. The new HD is for another application but thought I'd try it before I used it elsewhere. I'll pick up a new data cable and try it as well. (Note HD's are IDE)

I have not made any hardware/software changes to the unit at all. Wife was playing on LimeWire one night when all this started to happen.

If I do have more than one startup disk I don't know where they could be. Unit was our daughters first.

Although I have never made any changes to the BIOS. I did go in and had it restore to defualts just in case something changed.

Again Thanks so much for your response. I'm impressed that you went into the depth you did to help. I'll follow up when I run the tests you suggested.


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#5
August 23, 2009 at 22:15:26
So it was
"Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM corrupt of missing"
"""system halted'. No error message but it did say something like contact manufacture or something simular"

Ok , that CAN be an indication of a Windows software problem you need to fix, it's looking more likely - but I would check the ram and the IDE cable possibility first - if either of those are wonky, trying to repair your problem could result in disaster.
I haven't seen anything in your posts that would indicate the original hard drive is failing, but I would check that too with diagnostics.

"The new HD is for another application but thought I'd try it before I used it elsewhere."

It has no data on it, or if it does, it doesn't have Windows installed on it?

"I cleaned the connectors and reseated the RAM but no luck. I have not tested yet still working on that."

Use the original ram if you know which modules they are, to eliminate possible compatibility problems.

I'll see if I can find Recovery instructions for the DVD. I haven't used Ghost - it sounds like that's what they used to backup up the original software. System Restore in Windows is derived from similar program called GoBack.
If you can look at the contents of the DVD on another computer, there may be instructions you can read and print on the DVD.
.....

Can you borrow someone else's OEM XP Home CD, or can you have someone make a CD-R copy of theirs, if you need to?

OEM = Usually a gold color, holograms on it, it says "For distribution with a new PC only" or similar on it.

If you don't, it's usually under $100 brand new with SP3 updates already on it - you can get it locally from places that sell computer parts and software.

If it has SP2 or SP3 updates that's printed on it.
If it doesn't it has either no SP updates or SP1 updates - that will do too, but if it doesn't have SP1 updates, if any hard drive is > 137gb then you will need to make a "slipstreamed" CD-R with the contents of the CD that has had SP3 updates integrated into it, on some other computer.
The volume labels (the labels for the CD you see in Windows) of the original no SP updates XP CDs are different from the ones that have SP1 updates, so you can determine if it has SP1 updates or not by searching using the volume label.


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#6
August 23, 2009 at 23:15:26
T3256 Support
http://www.emachines.com/support/pr...

User Guide
See Chapter 5 - Using the Restore CDs

It says depending on the model, there are two or three CDs, so you probably only need the one DVD since it holds a lot more data.
Selecting Restore Windows XP wipes all existing data off the drive, so it's a last resort except for a new drive.

That's typical for brand name computers.
........

They claim they have fast email response.
Posts on the web say their Restore disks are fairly cheap. E.g. under $50? inc. shipping.
http://www.emachines.com/support/op...

......

SO - your better option is to obtain an OEM XP Home CD, if you don't want to lose the data you have added to the original hard drive.
.......

In any case, the CD or DVD drive you use must experience no problems. Use a laser lens cleaning CD in it before you use the disk. If you don't have one, most places that sell computer stuff have it, and even some "dollar" storeshave it for a buck or two.
.....

I came across a post on the web where some guy flashed the bios with the manufacturer of the mboard's bios version on his emachines computer and then his emachines Recovery disk refused to load. So you can't use it unless the mboard hasan emachines bios version.
In most cases the company that actually made the emachines system - Trigem in Korea - does not use their own mboards (they used to for older models) - they use major mboard manufacturer's mboards that have an emachines (or HP, or several other brand's) bios version on them.
Most brand name system brands do not make their own mboards - they use major mboard manufacturer's mboards - the actual desktop mboard make and models can often be determined, but it's difficult or impossible to find out who actually made the laptop mboards.
You can probably find out which mboard you have here:
http://www.e4allupgraders.info
......

By the way......
If your power supply is a BESTEC, which are common in emachines systems and other systems made by Trigem, they are well known to tend to fail more often than average, and when the power supply fails completely, they are a lot more likely than average to damage something else, often the mboard.


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#7
August 24, 2009 at 08:51:40
Correct "system halted'. No error message but it did say something like contact manufacture or something simular" started all of this.
The "Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM corrupt or missing" only happens when I try to run XP from the "Last known config
' option.
Again all I did was remove RAM, clean and reseat. I have not changed any hardware.
I'll test as you say and try a new data cable as well. The new HD was out of the box. I installed and then loaded with thr Ghost image with the same results.
I will see about getting a new XP Home install disk and lens cleaner.
After reading your helpful post sounds like a good idea to have these on hand anyway.

I'll be out of town for a few weeks but will keep you informed of the results.
Can't thank you enough for the help to this point.


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#8
August 24, 2009 at 13:01:01
"The "Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM corrupt or missing" only happens when I try to run XP from the "Last known config
' option."

What happens when you select otherwise?

"The new HD was out of the box."

I've never bought a new one that was in a box - just ones in an anti-static plastic bag, or a cheap molded transparent plastic enclosure, no installation software included - less expensive , usually.

"I installed and then loaded with thr Ghost image with the same results."

?? Do you mean you used the emachines Recovery DVD, or do you have a Ghost image you prepared otherwise?

You haven't said what you mean by "same result(s)" with the new drive.
.......

If the ram and hard drive test fine, and the old or new data cable are fine....

There are three ways to fix your problem if you use an OEM XP CD. All of these methods won't delete all or most of the personal data and settings you added to the original hard drive. The first two are a little safer to try.

1 - repair only the Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM problem by replacing it with the default SYSTEM file.

I know from experience that works fine if XP was installed from a regular OEM XP CD, I only had to re-install a few device drivers, but when I tried that to repair my sister's brand name system (same error message; Sony as I recall) that resulted in an error I could not fix, so I had to use the third method, after tweaking where some files were on the hard drive.
It may NOT be a good idea to use this method with a brand name system installation, but if you do use it, copy the original supposedly corrupted SYSTEM file somewhere where you can get it later if you need to, DO NOT delete it, and if something goes wrong after you correctly do this procedure that situation can be recovered from.
(I have made notes about that).

2 - repair the system problem by replacing Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM and all of certain similar essential Windows\system32\config\*.* files with defaults.

That will work on any system, but you will probably have to re-install a lot of programs and devices. The files for the programs and devices you installed are still there, but Windows may not be aware of ones that require lines in the registry to be installed.
....

This details how to do it by replacing all of certain files with defaults:
How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting
http://support.microsoft.com/defaul...

For method 1, I just used the instructions for restoring the default Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM

My notes - Copy, Paste, Print this in Wordpad for the best result.
or - CAN PRINT THIS ARTICLE from online at the above link

I have made notes if you have problems with either of those methods 1 or 2.
.......

3 - do what many call a "Repair install" procedure, what I prefer to call a"Repair Setup" procedure.You MUST have an XP Product Key for this that it will accept, and you MUST use an OEM XP CD with a brand name computer with it.

The gist of it:
How to do an XP "Repair Setup", step by step:
http://www.windowsreinstall.com/win...

If you go for that, I have additional notes about it.
DO NOT do it before asking me for more info, if you don't want to lose the personal data you added to the original hard drive.

You also use this method if
- you have moved a hard drive with an existing Windows installation from one computer to another and then XP won't load when the hardware on the second computer is too much different,
- or - it's often used when you have a problem in Windows you haven't been able to figure out how to fix, but it can only fix some problems - those caused by corrupted or missing files that are on the XP CD you use, or those caused by some setting or feature that are determined by Setup that the "Repair Setup" can change.


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