XP won't boot even in Safe Mode - system erro

April 19, 2011 at 19:17:23
Specs: Windows XP
I'm trying to repair an eee pc 1005HAB. I can't get XP to boot. I used the recovery option by pressing f9 after switching the boot commands necessary. After that, I wasn't even able to boot into safe mode. So then I created a flash drive with a ghost image to recover xp. Now f9 doesn't even work . . . Please help! I still cannot get into safe mode - the windows xp screen is displayed for several minutes. If I click to last known good configuration, my error is: Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM. I do have an external CD Rom and the CD that came with, but it will not boot from the CD.

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April 19, 2011 at 19:35:13
What are you using to connect the cd-rom? Is it recognized in your BIOS? If so select it to boot first in your boot sequence menu. If it is USB you might have a problem without first entering Windows.

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April 19, 2011 at 20:01:35
It's recognized - but the CD won't boot . . . The CD runs fine on my desktop PC . . . That is the CD that I made the flash drive image from. I could (possibly) fix the system error if I could get into Windows and then command prompt (or if I could go straight into DOS - yes, I know it's not an option anymore) . . . But can you think of anything that I can do to repair the system file?

I have never tried to format a netbook before - So using the F9 recovery was new for me - I'm not sure that it even formatted? I know it said that I could lose all of my files and whatnot, but it only took like 10 minutes and the whole thing was done . . . Then XP wouldn't start - so I created the flash drive to boot from . . . Same thing, it took like 10 minutes. Is there anyway to completely format everything and then use the flash drive to install the OS? Well, aside from taking out the HD . . . I am too afraid that I will snap the keyboard if I take the HD out.

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April 19, 2011 at 21:23:07
"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system"

There are four possible similar messages you can get.

When certain files are missing or more likely corrupted there in \windows\system32\config\,
fixing that normally requires that you have an XP CD and a built in optical drive.
- 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):


Using an external optical drive usually does NOT work with an XP (or 2000) CD, because the files initially loaded from the CD cannot recognize most if not all USB optical drive models. In that case, even if you can get the bios Setup to boot a bootable disk from a USB optical drive, all you get is a blue screen when the XP (or 2000) CD tries to load. You get the same result if you load the 6 floppy set that is intended for computers that cannot boot a disk from their optical drive and then try to continue Setup from the CD in the external drive.

You may have only these choices if the XP CD cannot recognize the USB optical drive model.

If you can set the bios to boot from a USB device....

use something such as a Linux CD to boot the computer from a USB optical drive with,
OR - prepare a USB flash drive so it is bootable and install Linux on it, boot from that
and copy the personal data you don't want to lose to elsewhere.

OR - connect the drive to another computer and copy the personal data you don't want to lose to elsewhere.

Then have a USB flash drive that is prepared to make it bootable, and follow a procedure so that you can install XP from scratch from the USB drive.

Search for: install XP from a flash drive
or similar on the web to find what you need to do.

If you can't set the bios to boot from a USB device, or if you want to try another way, copy the personal data you don't want to lose to elsewhere, then
How to install XP from scratch when you can't load files from the XP CD on the computer, and when you cannot set your bios Setup to boot from a USB drive.
See response 5, 6, and 7:

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April 19, 2011 at 21:42:36
Thank you for your response. I was previously able to get the computer to boot from the USB flash drive and install - but windows won't load. That is my problem. The flash drive did what it was supposed to do as it looked very similar to when I used the F9 recovery. The only difference I saw was that I had to manually click through a menu in order for it to use the flash drive whereas F9 just started automatically after I said it was ok to lose all information on the drive.

I'm so frustrated - Is there any way to hook the netbook up to my desktop to view as a hard drive so that I can paste the backup system folders into the drive? I do not want to take apart the netbook - it's my sister's and I don't want to bust the keyboard piece. I tried to take all the screws from the back and then find the tabs under the keypad and it was way too flimsy . . . I'm afraid that I'm going to break it while I'm trying to pop the tabs.

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April 19, 2011 at 21:58:12
You do not need to open up the netbook, but you may need to remove the hard drive.You usually do not need to remove anything more than a cover to remove the hard drive.

It would be a good idea to test the hard drive with diagnostics before you do anything.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

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 compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.

The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.

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

The only ways I know of that you can fix your problem are the procedures in response 3.

Next time you or she considers buying a netbook, there ARE models that DO have a built in optical drive

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April 19, 2011 at 22:01:27
Thanks so much for your help! I will try those steps tomorrow morning and let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

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April 19, 2011 at 22:15:46
If your USB pen drive was recognized you could make it a bootable hard drive and transfer the recovery files to it and set it to be first boot and do the install from there. Make sure you know what the hard drive letters are so you don't install to the pen drive which should be C:\ in this instance.

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April 20, 2011 at 06:58:39
I didn't realize your netbook is an Asus model

Your model has pretty good support.

Support For

* Eee Family
* Eee PC 1005HAB


Download the manual - note that the first one listed is for if you have Linux on the computer.

There is info about System Recovery in it.

Troubleshooting :
System Recovery on Eee PC products

Troubleshooting :
Failed to restore the system using the support DVD

Select Product for Self-Diagnostics - Eee family

Note that the Recovery info assumes the hard drive's data on the Recovery partition is still okay.
If it isn't, that's a different matter.
Test the hard drive with diagnostics.
You will have to replace the hard drive if it's defective and install XP by one of the methods I mentioned.

There is no info about removing the hard drive in the manual, and there is no obvious panel on the bottom of the netbook that accesses where it is like there is on most laptops / netbooks .

How to remove hard drive

YouTube video
(Not supported by IE 6.x)

More detail - multi-page

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