I'm working on a Thinkpad running XP SP3 for a friend of mine. He was trying to sync his iPad with the laptop and the whole system froze up on him. When he rebooted, chkdsk automatically ran and he allowed it to finish....it reported that it had made corrections to his file system.
Ever since, when he boots the machine, he gets to a logon prompt. If he attempts a log in, using any user account (in normal mode), he gets a blue screen error 0x00000051 "registry error". Also, if he leaves the logon prompt there for two minutes or so without logging in, the same blue screen error occurs.
I booted into safe mode, and am able to log in to the Administrator account without a problem. Can stay logged in indefinitely as Administrator with no blue screen. My next step was to create a fresh account for myself, and try logging into that in Normal mode. Same result, blue screen as it is "loading my personal settings" just after successful logon. If I try to log on as Administrator in normal mode instead, same blue screen.
To further complicate the problem, somebody at his last place of work decided to turn off system restore, so I have no restore hives to repair the registry with. My plan was to use the registry hives in the \Windows\repair directory, reboot, then restore the System Restore hives from the last checkpoint, as Microsoft suggests.
I'm wondering what I can do at this point. I can certainly get all his data from the Administrator account in safe mode and back it up (happening now), but I'd like to avoid a complete reinstall if possible.
Does the blue screen error I've described above have to do with a particular registry hive? It affects all users in normal mode, even a fresh account as I mentioned, so can I just use one of the \Windows\repair hives and leave it that way?
Thanks so much.