Corrupted System File .... Laptop won't boot

By c_tilly ·
Good morning all,
I am after some guidance on what i can do about getting my laptop to boot up.
I have an ACER Travelmate 660, original software and no deviation from the image installed by the manufacturer. The Laptop has an OS of XP Pro SP1.

Several days ago it started running slow and the HDD was continually 'reading'. I logged off and shut down using normal log off.
When i went to run it back up again, power on and allow it to boot, i got an error message of -

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupted: \Windows\System32\Config\system"

The next line that was there on the screen was:

"You can attempt to repair this file by starting windows setup using the original setup cd-rom.
Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair".

What i have done to date:

#1. I used the recovery cd that came with my laptop to attempt a 'repair'. I used the "HDD Non-destructive Rebuild" option. Therefore repairing without erasing my personal files. I observed that only drivers were been loaded off the cd and therefore once rebooted failed to boot successfully and the same error mesage appeared.

#2. I removed the laptop HDD out of the laptop and I have 'mated' the laptop hdd as a slave into my PC. The PC can see and read the laptop HDD (i did have some problems here, but its been sorted).

#3. I have successfully copied all of the data (everything) from the Laptop HDD to an external HDD, connected to my PC, using software call HDClone.

#4. While mated to the PC, i ran a Microsoft program called check disk (CHKDSK /r) and also defraged the drive as well. Several errors were found and corrected.

My question is .... what can i do now to correct or repair the corrupted \config\system file and get my laptop back??
I am trying to avoid a complete reformat of the drive, so other options at this point in time would be prefered.

Thanks in advance for your advise and assistance.

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All Answers

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Well the easy answer is

by OH Smeg In reply to Corrupted System File ... ...

Nothing with what you have listed you have here.

If you have a M$ Branded Install Disc for your version of XP you could do what M$ call a In Place/Upgrade Install which would correct this issue provided that the HDD isn't damaged. but you Can Not do this with a Recovery Disc.

However if you have a M$ Branded OEM install Disc of the same version of XP that is Home, or Pro or Media Center you could perform the above and use your Product Key on the COA of the NB to repair this error.

If you do not have a M$ Branded Install Disc of the correct Version of XP your only option left is to find another NB of the same Make & Model and copy that file off the HDD and copy it to your HDD or rebuild the system with the Makers Recovery Disc. As you say that there are no changes from this only your Data that shouldn't be such a big deal though the NB would be inherently insecure if you have not applied any Service Packs, Hot Fixes or Patches to it let alone install some sort of AV Product and keep it updated.

You should however test the HDD with the Makers Testing Utility for correct Function. As you have had the drive out you should know who made it and you can download their Testing Utility from here


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Here are the instructions

by Jacky Howe In reply to Corrupted System File ... ...

but without access to a real XP CD or a Floppy disk set you won't be able to do much. I would rebuild from the Recovery Partition or your Recovery CD.

How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting

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