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Windows won't boot

By andy ·
I have a clients PC that won't boot. The error message i'm getting 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 orginal setup CD-rom.
Select "r" at the first sreen to start repair

Now when I went to the clients house I fully expected to just put in the XP CD and do as the error message suggested. When I did get to his house he said he couldn't find the restore CD so I tried using a copy of Windows XP Home that I had on me. It went through all the usual stuff but I didn't get a prompt for a repair. I think this could be because I was using a version different to what was installed on his machine.

I've checked on the Microsoft site and the only solution they've suggested is for non OEM versions of XP.

The next step I want to try is to boot to last known good configuration..... I hope that this works. If not i'm at a loss. Has anybody out there had this problem, and if so what did you do to solve it?

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by AmberHaze In reply to Windows won't boot

You specifically need the exact same version as his OEM version. With the License sticker which should be on the side of the box, you should be able to get a duplicate of the OS cd's from the manufacturer. (if there is no license sticker on the box, I would suspect pirate copy in which case I would walk away....)

When I say exact same version, I mean if it is pro with sp1 then you need to be using a pro with sp1, etc.... then you proceed as if you are installing, but when It asks if you want to remove the existing os or attempt to repair it.. try repairing it....

All that having been said, unless you have shortened the error message, it sounds to me like it was self inflicted as the problem usually specifies a specific file, not the entire system folder.

Good Luck

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Windows won't boot

The above answer is correct as you do need the same Install CD as what was originally used. If this is an Off The Shelf Unit then the restore CD will have only the drivers required to do the install of the OS.

You should be able to get around the problem by ordering at your customers expense a replacement Restore CD or you might like to try repairing the MBR as to have an entire Folder missing from the startup seems very strange to say the least.

I would also check the Power Supply as when they start to go bad you can get all sorts of errors creeping in pay particular attention to the 5 VDC rails.

Col

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by sgt_shultz In reply to Windows won't boot

the 'system' (note: no file extension) is a file that is part of the registry. a copy of it lives in the windows repair folder c:\windows\repair (a hidden folder, btw). so you will need a 'rescue' installation of xp or a bootable floppy or the recovery console to find and replace the file (hopefully)
i am surprised to hear that a xp pro cd recovery console won't work on home but i bow to those in the know.
i think your idea of 'last known configuration' is worth a try first...a system restore from the recovery console command prompt might work also.
How to troubleshoot registry corruption issues
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822705/en-us

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by bluenose5709 In reply to Windows won't boot

Maybe i am looking into this erro too simply? My first step would be to copy the hidden system files "Cofig.sys, boot.ini, ntldr" from the root of the C off a good working system to a floppy disk, insert the floppy tot he problem PC and see if it boots ok?

If it does then copy the said files to the root of C of the problem pc and bobs your uncle.

Like i said i may be looking too simply at the error.

Bev

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