Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

By djohnson2 ·
Toshiba Laptop shut down due to lack of power while using the battery. When booting it up (a few minutes later) the following message appears: (brackets added)
[Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM 32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

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.]

The startup cd (ver. 1,0,2,0) that came with the Toshiba Satellite A65 does not give a repair option. I can choose from
-Recovery of Pre-installed software
-Erase the hard disk

I don't want to lose all my files so I hope there's an easy fix. Any ideas?
System information:
Toshiba Satelite A65-S1067 Laptop
Windows XP sp2

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A couple of ideas

by nepenthe0 In reply to Windows could not start b ...

1) Boot into Safe Mode by tapping F8 during the early boot phase (POST = Power-On Self Test).

2) Try to start Windows in Safe Mode

3) In Safe Mode, type chkdsk.exe C: /F in the Run menu.

4) Windows will try to fix the corrupted code at the next boot.

5) If still unable to boot into Windows, reboot into Safe Mode and select the Last Known Good Configuration, hit Enter and see if Windows will restore the computer to a working configuration.

6) If this doesn't work, you will probably have to reinstall the operating system. If you can boot the computer into Safe Mode, you should be able to transfer your files to a USB flash drive or an external hard drive.

7) If you cannot boot into Safe Mode, for $25 you can purchase an adapter:

Remove the Toshiba hard drive, plug it into the Coolmax adapter, connect the USB cable to your desktop computer, and transfer the data files from the laptop hard drive.

To remove the laptop hard drive, look for half a dozen perimeter screws on the bottom of the case, and a central screw, all marked by arrows embossed in the case. Lift the keypad bezel, and you will see the hard drive, normally secured by a single small screw.

You might wish to check out the following TR guidelines for crash recovery:

9) Now I get to climb on my soap box and exhort everyone to run imaging software such as Norton Ghost:

Make regular image backups to an external hard drive. Remember to keep backup copies of important data files. When disaster strikes, you can recover a working configuration with all your settings in <20 minutes.

Rick/Portland, OR

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by djohnson2 In reply to A couple of ideas

I could not get F8 to work.
I'll try the other stuff, however.
I backed it up the stuff I needed, but the external hard drive isn't readable... that's another story.

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You're welcome

by nepenthe0 In reply to A couple of ideas

If there is any data on the corrupted Toshiba laptop hard drive that you wish to salvage, try to transfer these files before you do any major operating system repair or reinstallation.

The Coolmax adapter was recently reviewed in the TR Forum (link below). At $25, you couldn't buy a niftier gizmo. I would attempt to retrieve the Toshiba data files using the Coolmax adapter.

Good luck.

Rick/Portland, OR

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Some information here...

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to Windows could not start b ...
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See how you go with this

by Jacky Howe In reply to Windows could not start b ...

The Windows Vista Recovery CD can be used to Boot to a Command Prompt where you can connect to a USB Device to Backup your Data or to manipulate the File Sysytem.

It does'nt matter if the Default OS is XP it can still be used on XP PRO or Home.

Creating a Windows Vista Recovery CD

Download it from here

The Windows Vista Recovery CD can be used to Boot to a Command Prompt where you can manipulate these files.

Boot from the CD and on the first screen click Next, click Repair your computer, click Next and select Command Prompt.

1. rename c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM to c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.bak

2. Navigate to the System Volume Information folder.
This folder contains one or more _restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".
There may be one or more folders starting with "RPx under this folder. These are restore points.

3. Open one of these folders to locate a Snapshot subfolder. The following path is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder: C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot

4. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following file to the c:\windows\system32\config folder



Use a restore point from at least a day or two prior to problem occurring but one that is fairly recent.

Credit to willcomp

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Good stuff, True Blue

by nepenthe0 In reply to See how you go with this

but a bit complicated for non-techie folks.

That said, I'm copying down everything. For our poor djohnson2, Friday the 13th lived up to its reputation...

Rick/Portland, OR

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That may be right

by Jacky Howe In reply to Good stuff, True Blue

but I did post a working solution. :)

If the OP isn't confident enough to follow the instructions I am sure that it would not be to difficult to find a Technician who can.

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Thanks for that True Blue...

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to See how you go with this

No, nepenthe0, I am not following you around.

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No Problems :)

by Jacky Howe In reply to Thanks for that True Blue ...

I am just in the process of cleaning an infected PC. I am using the Vista Recovery CD and running my AV from a USB Stick. It is flying through, a lot better than running in Safe Mode on the infected PC.

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I would follow you anywhere, Boxfiddler...

by nepenthe0 In reply to See how you go with this

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