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Windows XP and System32

By Michael34 ·
I got a rather interesting call from my girl friend in newyork this evening. She said when she turned on her PC it gave her some error about system32. My guess is the system32 folder got deleted by a virus or worm or something seeing she said the PC will not boot. I am over 3000 miles away so there is little I can do. Is there anything I can try or instruct her to do that may fix this without loosing all the data before I have her send the PC to me? She tried the system restore option but that did not work. I know very little about this PC, but my conclusion was I am going to have to get the drive, back it up to my network then reload it and restore all the files they needed.

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by p.j.hutchison In reply to Windows XP and System32

More information about the error would help. Try booting off the XP CD and do a Repair Install.


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by BorgInva In reply to Windows XP and System32

I tell people that not every problem with computers is due to a virus or worms or SPAM. They are caused by buggy software and people too.

She may need to have a XP CD on hand.

One thing you can try is booting off the XP CD. See if it leads you into REPAIRING the OS. Just have her read to you what is on screen. It should eventually give you an option to repair.

If the C drive is formatted in FAT32, have the computer boot and as soon as it starts to show the welcome screen or something, have her hit F8 as if there was no tomorrow. It will probably give a keyboard error beep. If so, then stop. Hitting F8 should take you into a menu where you can select COMMAND PROMPT. Go into it and type:
cd c:\windows ENTER
or (depending on how it was installed)
cd c:\winnt ENTER
Which ever one it takes you in, do:
dir system32 ENTER
If it shows you contents, then system32 exists and the problem could be anything and everything.
If this is the case, see STEP 1.

If you are looking at a reload, she will not loose her person info. Just programs installed. Now this will only work if the partition is in FAT32 (I am so against NTFS). Have someone, if she not have one already, create a 98 boot disk. Boot off of it. No formatting required. Just type:
ren window winbak ENTER
ren progra~1 probak ENTER
There, now you can install a fresh copy of Windows without formatting. Whatever the drive of the CDROM is holding the XP CD, type in place of the "x":
x:\i386\winnt ENTER
This will start the install. Just intall. All her personal files are still on the drive. If she saved any in \program files or \windows, they will be in the bak directories you renamed. Just move them over. I prefer to keep all personal docs and stuff, not i MY DOCUMENTS but I create a folder called "personal" right on C.

Not enough space for me to continue typing. I will add COMMENTS.

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by BorgInva In reply to


ALL my stuff goes in one place, in organized directories of course.
Oh, back to what I was typing, she will have to reload which ever programs she needs, but all her personal files are intact without formatting or shipping you a drive to backup.

Now if any of this helps, or not, this will:
Once XP is installed, update every update from Windows Update (the icon should be right on the top of START, or just open IE and go to TOOLS>UPDATE or something like that. Definitly update to SP2 and then Windows Media Player 10. I have done it a few times and the security is worth it. The Windows Firewall helps a bit too.
Afterwards, get an AntiVirus program on there. I recommend Norton 2004 Antivirus/Internet Security combo. Gives you a AV and a firewall.
For a FREE AV, or even as a backup AV, use AVG FREE v6 at
For a FREE firewall, or even as a third option (you still have WIndows Firewall which will beactive by default on SP2 install unless you turn it off), go to
Now add some anti-spyware with these FREEBIES: (Spybot 1.3) (Ad-aware 6)

Hope something here helps.
God bless.

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by Michael34 In reply to

Yea thats the problem I am facing though is chances are its NTFS seeing its XP Home which most every PC I have done work on has NTFS already installed (Only reason I am aginst NTFS is because I have had lots of issues with the page file and a temp one being created when the origional is fine). Anyhow the PC is a HP so there is no real XP CD that I am aware of so I am guessing its HP's recovery software which probably blows. Usually I always do installs using FAT32 because I like it much better than NTFS but we may not have that option here seeing we are 3000 miles apart and no one in her family really knows that much about computers so it may be an issue trying to guide her throught the boot disk creation and so forth. As for SP2 right now I am totally aginst it because all the installs of SP 2 for XP that we did at the school site I work at ended up causing all the PC's to Blue Screen and error out costing us lots of time we did not have.

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