Thursday, November 17, 2005

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM"

This error arises when the System registry hive is either deleted or corrupt. System registry hive contains configuration information necessary for the system to boot.

Option 1: The first thing to try is to run chkdsk command from the Recovery Console and then reboot the system.

Note: If you don't have Windows installation disk to access Recovery Console, then this ISO image can be used to create a Windows Recovery Console CD. Download the ISO image and burn it to a CD/DVD (ImgBurn can be used to burn ISO images to CD/DVD). Boot the PC using this disk to access Recovery Console.

If chkdsk does not solve the problem, then the System file should be restored from backups. There are two places to look for the backups, one is the System Restore folder and the other is \Windows\Repair folder.

Option 2 (Using backups from System Restore feature): From the Recovery Console, navigate to the folder \System Volume Information\ folder of the root drive, using the command:
cd "C:\System Volume Information"

Here, locate and navigate to the folder whose name begins with _restore using the command:
cd _resto~1

This folder contains many subfolders which have names of the form RPxxx, where xxx is a number indicating the restore point. Locate an RPxxx folder which has the highest number as its suffix (highest xxx) using the command dir command. Then navigate into that folder using the command:
cd RPxxx (don't forget to replace xxx with the corresponding number!)

Now, there will be a folder named snapshot. Navigate to this folder using the command:
cd snapshot

There should be a file named _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM, copy this file to the \Windows\System32\Config folder with the name System using the command:
copy _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM C:\Windows\System32\Config\System

Reboot the system and check whether Windows loads properly.

Note: Option 2 works only if System Restore feature of Windows XP is enabled. If System Restore was disabled or if option 2 did not work for some reason, then try the next option.


Option 3: While installing Windows, the setup backs up the System registry hive in Repair folder. If the System Restore feature is turned off, then this backup can be used to restore the System hive. From the Recovery Console, navigate to folder \Windows\Repair, using the command:
cd C:\Windows\Repair

Copy the System file to its original location using the command:
copy System C:\Windows\System32\Config\System

Reboot the system and check whether Windows loads properly.

Note: There is a disadvantage in this method! Since this backup is created during the installation of Windows; system configuration and driver installations (made after fresh installation) will be lost after restoring this backup Registry hive file.

More resources can be found here and here.

218 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For people who want to try this:

1. You need to use quotes in cd "system volume information" because of the spaces.

2. Once in the RPxxx folder you need to navigate to the snapshot subfolder to find the actual _REGISTRY_ etc files.

3. MS suggests to replace all 5 files (hives) rather than just the system file, ie system, software, sam, security and .default

And even if you do all this it might not work, as I have found. Don't know the reason yet, but still getting the same error message. Any suggestions? HD damage, or a boot virus perhaps?

Alex S

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I replaced all the _registry_* files into the proper config locations, overwriting them. The error message that tells me to hit "r" went away and I can get just passed the windows loading screen but then the system reboots. I've tried all the methods on the internet in the last 2 hrs only to end up having to do a full restore, bummer.

Thanks for the walkthrough, helped quite a bit and I hope it helps others :)

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a note to the posters above - thanks so much, saved a me a lot of time fixing a friend's computer.

Janeway

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thatks for sharing. I ran a chkdsk and it worked. Thanks again!

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks alot for this!
The official fix on microsoft's site doesn't work properly in firefox. :-@

Anyone that has problems READ THE FIRST COMMENT, POINT 1 AND 2 ARE IMPORTANT! (just wanted to give people a better chance of seeing that, it is really important)

I also got rid of the programs I'd installed recently in case they had caused the problem.

Thanks again for the walkthrough.

6:53 PM  
Blogger swatkat said...

Hi all,
Thanks for visiting! And, thanks for pointing out the mistakes. I've corrected them in the main post. I hope it would help...

Thanks agian :)

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If using the file from the highest numbered RPxxx directory doesn't work, try others going in decreasing order. I went back 2 and was then able to boot successfully.
Thanks for the walk-thru Swatkat.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Raven said...

Thanks this helped!!

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Article + Alex S's comment of replacing all 5 hive files worked wonders. Many thanks.

3:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was of great help to me. It worked perfectly. Thanks!

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swatkat, fantastic advice! You would not believe how many sites I read through but none, not even MS support site, offered this caliber of advice. And by caliber, I mean advice that actually solved the problem. Thanks.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tried chkdsk, didn't work. Restored system file and that did work. Thanks a bunch.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help!

I have this message and it tells me to select r at first screen to start repair but nothing! If I reboot with the windows disk, just get the same message. How do I get to the Recovery console from the first boot up screens? I could then follow the insructions posted...thanks

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to add to my previous post, I get the error message if I boot up either from hard drive or windows disk and whatever key I press, I can't progress to another screen.

Is there a shortcut key to the recovery console?

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same problem, i can get to command prompt via a reinstall disk but it only shows me the dvd drive as 'A:' and I get "Invalid drive specificaton" if i try to change drives from A: to C:

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks alot

a very helpfully side.
chkdsk didnt change anything but changing the registry worked and i must not reinstall the computer.

peter k.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This worked and saved lot of time.

Chkdsk did reported issues of bad sectors and could not fix the problem. But the copyying the registry file did made the machine worked.

You can use a simple bootable CD from Bart PE to boot into the machine and access the Hard drive

http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

Naresh

2:18 AM  
Anonymous Rao said...

Thanks Buddy..

It Worked..

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Don't have the windows setup CD to get the windoews setup screen on. What do I do? Thanks!

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

worked great ....

legend

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that after copying all 5 of the latest hives from the lates snapshot folder it did not work.

I went back to a hive 'set' a couple days older, copied these files and my system works perfectly. Thanks!!!!!!!

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VERY helpful information. I only replaced the corrupted hive and it worked just as advertised.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Mark Sellin said...

Thanks, CHKDSK was all I needed -- maybe took me a total of 10 minutes. And two separate support people told me to use the restore disk, which would have forced me to restore all my apps. Good thing your page told me better -- I appreciate the many hours you saved me!

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Mark Sellin said...

P.S. I borrowed an XP install disk from one of my neighbors to get to the Recovery Console. You don't need to enter a key to make the repair.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It worked! Great help. The first method didn't help for me. But the second section did the trick! Thanks!

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!!! thought I lost my whole machine. The first method worked like a charm.

5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you swatkat, worked like a charm from my latest rp directory.

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd MAN ... Thanks very much it worked first time. Although I've worked in IT over 14 years and have an MSc in IT ... you put it in comfortable language so easy to follow. Cheers!

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is excellent! I could fix my system.

Thanks...

3:30 PM  
Anonymous uday kiran said...

thanks alot you were very helpful your involvement of logic is excellent

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worked like a charm! Thank you for posting the fix.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it partially worked: i logged into the system, but the windows toolbar is missing

7:10 AM  
Anonymous orhan said...

Thank you very much for your assistance Swatkat, second method works perfectly. I could save all system without losing any information.
Tnx

3:12 PM  
Blogger swatkat said...

Glad to hear that the post was helpful.
Thanks for visiting.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I had a slight question on this, I can not get recovery console or system setup to work. I try running recovery console and I select 1 for the windows directory and it hangs. When I try to just install a fresh windows install (which should be fine since everything I need is on the home direcotry not documents and settings) It trys to search for a previous version of windows, which I could then try to repair that way, but instead it just locks up when searching for the previous version of windows. Is there anyway to fix this?

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this. Instructions were spot on!! worked for me first time.

YOu're a life saver!!!

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tried the instructions on the Microsoft website regarding this problem and they have not completely fixed the problem.

Unfortunately chkdsk did not fix the problem for me, but the second solution cleared the problem right up!!!

You are my hero!

12:02 AM  
Blogger Abh1jit said...

Thanks a lot buddy! I searched several sites including MS ones. But this site offered concise and accurate advice. Now I am off to backing up EVERYTHING from this PC while it has allowed me back in :)

11:23 AM  
Blogger blackout said...

Hey, the copying from restore point worked, however, now my desktop has been sitting there for about 30 mins saying "Applying Computer Settings".

However, it did load passed the point of telling me the file was corrupt.

It loads windows, and Dialog Box comes up with "Please Wait..." in the title bar.. and "Applying computer settings"

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Julia Smythe said...

thank you so much for all the help, was really worried my laptop was dying on me!!! at least its all ok now! cheers! jules

8:47 PM  
Anonymous help!!! said...

help! i've tried doing this but whenever i enter cd "c:\system volume information" it just tells me "the path or file specified is not valid".

wtf?

9:48 PM  
Anonymous srabin1 said...

GREAT, GREAT tip. You saved me from another mind-numbing and time-consuming reinstall of XP.

Thanks again!

SR

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swatkat, you are a legend. I came this close to running FIXMBR and potentially losing all of my data, when I happened upon your site.

Excellent instructions, clearly laid out.

Thanks so much.

Jon

6:40 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Great tutorial!!

This happened to my computer yesterday night and I was going to die. Tried chkdsk this morning and it fixed the problem! Thanks again man.

Jack

8:45 PM  
Blogger cbrillow said...

Thanks so much for this! Thought I was in for a reinstall and possible lost data, at best.

Did a chkdsk /p/r, but my laptop still wouldn't boot. Then copied the registry hive as instructed in the 2nd step, and I'm back in business.

The internet -- the greatest computer troubleshooting tool ever!

Thanks again, Swatkat!

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This totally worked!

Thank you very much for having this available. chkdsk didn't work for me but the second step did, my PC is back to what it was before the corruption.

Again thank you.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I consider myself fairly fluent and have a few tricks up my sleeve, but this one deserves a big huge THANK YOU!

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ran chkdsk and recovered from the same problem.

thanks a lot for sharing it

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1> Followed original instructions on this page.
2> Machine started to boot, but held on black screen - Did not get to "Welcome" Screen
3> Repeated 1 above except copied all 5 hive files as suggested.
4> Result: Successful boot into XP Pro Sp2

5> Big thanks to all posters

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other obvious (and really the easiest) solution (which worked for me when all my other attemtps didn't--including SysInternals ERD Commander complete run of tools) is to simply choose "use previous settings that worked" after repeatedly pressing f8 at boot-time (this has very easily worked on a number of different "un-bootable" occasions, actually--it's very simple and just as fast as booting a normal system)...

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i have a problem mi have a dell inspiron 1100 and i have the same problem posted here the thing is that my cd drive doesnt work and i cant get to the point i can write on the promp so i rellay dont know what to do can anybody help me plz

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Davester said...

Thanks alot, worked real good, saving me time, you are the man! Legend!

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello - quick question. I'm trying to follow these instructions on a laptop with no disk drive nor a working CD-ROM drive (it konked out about 8 months ago). How should I proceed, and is there a way? I would greatly appreciate if anyone knows how to proceed. Please let me know at zabagabe at yahoo.com. Thank you!

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I tried this method but from not booting up at all it now boots to an error message: "lsass.exe - system error - password update failed (not the exact message)
then the automatic reboot kicks in over and over to the same point. I have tried a repair install but still no joy.

3:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CHKDSK worked a treat - many thanks.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

searching for help here for another pc which will not start (system 32 file missing / corrupt message) but inserting OEM windows XP cd does not take me to a start screen or recovery console AND F8 does not work either... I have attempted to change the boot order to start from cd first instead of hard drive but blank screen is all I get so how can I fix this if I cannot even type 'run' or 'search' PLEASE CAN SOMEBODY HELP ME - all instruction inc. Microsoft assume these screens will be displayed

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this post. This saved me a lot of time and client is up and running.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Copying the previous Registry files will NOT work on a OEM installed XP. I have tried and now I am properly in deep doodoo...

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i am using a TOSHIBA laptop and when i start it up i just get a message saying : 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 steup using the original setup CD-ROM select 'r; at the first screen to start

when i put the disk in wich is called (Product Recovery DVD-ROM) it just restarts the computer and then does nothing and i just keep getting the same message over and over again pleese if anyone knowes anything can u pleese contact me on john_14_joke@hotmail.co.uk "thanx"

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Repairing the registry worked for me, although my computer is now running VERY slow. I fear the hard drive is dying...

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My hats off to you,BOSS!

worked great ....

THANX A LOT 4 UR HELP & SHARING!

SABEER

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Swatkat!

This worked for me after I finally got past the "access denied" error when attempting to get to the System Volume Information folder. Duh...MS says to enabled view hidden files feature in Windows. If I was able to get to Windows...well, you know!

Anyway, somehow I stumbled across something that led me to believe that I could access the recovery console with full access to all folders if I used a Windows 2000 boot disk.

It worked!

1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ROCK!!

CHKDSK failed but restoring from snapshot worked.

Thanks!

7:22 PM  
Blogger mjmuk said...

Excellent article that does "exactly what it says on the box", fixes the PC. Many thanks.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous tblas said...

Just experienced this problem on my son's older ABS gaming computer (ASUS SK8N, AMD FX51). Froze during gameplay and was not properly shut down. I couldn't get Microsoft's or other websites' ideas to work, but your chkdsk worked like a charm! Temp probe rose to 80 prior to the game freezing). Thanks for the help!

7:23 AM  
Anonymous liggyman said...

I was getting this same error.

When I tried to boot from the WinXP cd I would get blue screens after the initial drivers loaded.

The issue ended up being a bad stick of RAM.

10:36 PM  
Blogger LimitedTimeOffer said...

Excellent article, chkdsk didn't help, but the steps that followed to copy the system backup did.

Of course, my natural question is, WhyTF doesn't windows offer this as an automated option on startup if it encounters a corrupt system file???

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great help.

Laptop conked out and you helped me. I had to restore the backup system file and everything worked.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Help!
Thanks!

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just saved me a reinstall. Thanks!

11:01 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Tried chkdsk, didn't work. Restored system file and that did work. Thanks !

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is there any option of doing this by BACKING up all your files (i got very important files i cant delete) first before you reboot the whole thing? thanks.

2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life saver! Marvellous.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It worked for my sister's computer. Many thanks!

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you know - you are the man! I haven't been at a command prompt in years but your instructions (aside from missing a space here and there) were laid out perfectly and got me back up and running. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's fantastic, I'm truly grateful to you for the time taken to write this stuff down. You're a king amongst men!

11:27 PM  
Blogger mjmuk said...

Used your 'fix' again today and again it still works perfectly!!!

This is the third time this year that this has happened to me. I suppose that I have a deeper problem in the PC!! However, at a loss to discover what it really is...

Any suggestions?

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Randa Clay said...

You are awesome - thank you so much for such clear instructions. We thought we'd lost everything on the laptop, and you saved the day. Thank you.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Joey said...

You have an overwhelming post commend board thanking you and let me add another "Thank you Very Much" for your help in this matter.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You are my hero! Thanks so much!

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

I'd like to add my thanks for this information. I think I've got some bad RAM, or some other component is failing. The system just reset on me, and then wouldn't start. Partition Magic said the partitions weren't dismounted correctly. Some Linux-based tools were able to see all partitions fine though.
I couldn't get the Repair option when going to reinstall XP (Which turns out to be a good thing.)
Your clear instructions got my system back up in only a couple minutes.

2:35 AM  
Blogger leftymlb said...

Thank you so much for such a helpful set of instructions. My husband's PC was unbootable when I awoke this morning (he was panicking), and now it is again running perfectly -- following your instructions, I was able to not only recover, but to reset him to an earlier working time with a system restore.

Replacing all 5 hive files did the trick.

You're awesome.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic Guide! Thank you very much!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very detailed and easy to read. You saved me days of work!

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Double R said...

When I type cd_resto~1 it comes up "THE COMMAND IS NOT RECOGNIZED". What an I doing wrong? The only thing that I noticed is that when I type ~ on my problem computer it comes up at the top of the letter o rather than in the the middle! Is this the problem?

5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta say, you are the master. I tried several fixes when I was getting System Recovery errors and none of them worked. This one did. All Hail The King!

2:46 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Thanks for your help! CHKDSK worked great! Who would have thought, two years after posting this rant people are still using it.

Thanks again!

3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply running CHKDSK was the solution for me. It found some errors and returned to the prompt without "correcting" them since I had not used the /r switch. When it found the errors, I wondered if I should run it again WITH the /r switch, but I did not. I simply rebooted, and Voila! Everything back to normal!

Thanks a million!

Ike

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for this very useful post.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was spectacular help. though I did not replace all 5 files, it started w/o a problem. I think I am lucky because my backup files were only 2 days old.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worked great for me. Thank You!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant! saved my friends computer :D

8:45 PM  
Blogger nethbar said...

Running chkdsk c: /r from the repair console can also solve this problem if the file is damaged from a file system error. Most of the time it won't.

Also this problem can also be caused by bad memory/RAM or bad sectors on a hard drive. You can test for both with the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD).

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i put in the windows startup disc/cd and nothing happened. i thought i had to do that before i could startk anything else. please help...our office computer - it has all of our quickbooks files!!

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot! Worked excellent.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Beefy said...

Excellent!!!! Saved me hours! Now I can go outside and enjoy this lovely spring afternoon!!!

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Ola said...

Thanks a lot, solved my problem :)

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Jamie hutber said...

ha, normally i just reinstall windows worked like a charm, cheers very much.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Whew! This saved me. Thanks.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chkdsk worked like a charm. Remember if you have a raid system you will have to F6 and install the drivers so windows will recognise your drives.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous SmartAdvice said...

I eat monkeys and doodoo, and pirates are going to take over the world

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been the most concise and specific fix available on the internet. My hat's off to you. Thanks.

Regards

Sir Fluke

3:32 AM  
Blogger Wyanne said...

Thank you. It worked for me! I had a little bit of a problem after the command

copy _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM C:\Windows\System32\Config\System

It asked me if I wanted to overwrite the system Yes\No\All. For a non-computer tech person like myself, I was scared I was going to wipe out the whole computer with the wrong answer. I wasn't sure what to answer. Yes, worked. Yeah! Thank you again.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This works SO much better than Microsoft's method. Microsoft says to copy the files from C:\%windir%\system32\recovery to the target. That works about 20% of the time for me. Copying from System Volume Information has worked every time, so far! Just remember to follow the added information in the first comment!

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another satisfied customer!
Thank You!

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

far much greater and better than microsoft's bogus advise. it helped me 101%. i wish you could keep it up

6:59 PM  
Blogger NeeDz HeLP said...

cd "C:\System Volume Information" worked but when i type the command cd _resto~1 in it says the system cannot find the file or directory specified please help

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow thank you so much man! If not for this page would've been the shop for sure.



~DAVE~

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch! chkdsk said it repaired something, didn't fix the problem tho. I then followed the steps concerning copying the system recovery SYSTEM file and everything worked again! thanks so much, this thread saved me tons of time!!

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this fix. You have been a tremendous help!! Thanks again.

8:56 PM  
Blogger BCJ said...

Don't know if you will see this or not, but if you do and you have any advice, I would be most grateful. I have a Dell Latitude D600 and this problem keeps happening. I follow your directions and it gets me back up and running every time. But within a few days, weeks, or sometimes months, ALAS, it happens again. Now that you have helped me fix the problem, can you help me know how to stop the problem?

5:21 AM  
Blogger storminspank said...

Abs. brilliant. THANK YOU!

8:53 PM  
Blogger laptop battery said...

If you need the battery,you can visit here.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Joel said...

Thanks so much for this fix! worked perfectly and saved so much time!

had to replace all 5 hive files before it would reboot properly.

thanks again!

4:54 PM  
Anonymous duncan said...

thank you so much, i just ran chkdisk once from the recovery console and i fixed it! didnt think it would be that simple

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks alot, this worked perfectly!

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU! chkdsk didn't work, so i used the system volume information folder (always wondered what was in there!). Worked great. Very easy instructions.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt : \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

Super.... chkdsk did the job

chkdsk /p
chkdsk /r
Thanks

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Tikey said...

The first tip did the trick
great info
thanks

12:37 PM  
Anonymous RuthlessRyder said...

thnx dude

5:28 AM  
Anonymous JAJONES said...

Ok.. Did this, Windows started to boot, but would not start all the way. Got to Start Windows in Safe mode etc... well still would not start so I was going to try and replace the other hive folders, but now there is all of a sudden an Admin Password??? Never had one before, why now? Any ideas?

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you! Without this site my son would be without his computer and I would have to spend money I don't have to "fix" it from a shop. In a little less than an hour, with the marvelous help of this site, I was able to get his computer back up and running!

Thank you again Swatkat! You ROCK!

7:25 AM  
Blogger ComputerGeekNerdDorkPocketProtector9000President said...

Thanks. I did exactly as you posted, and it worked like a charm. Sure am glad people like you post information like this. Even more glad I had another computer to reach this :)

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing. Thank you so much!

Worked on the chkdsk first time.

I saw some other posts that required copying of system32 files (that didn't exist) but no luck. Wish I had found this sooner.

Thank you

3:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow....Awesome!!! After trying everything on the Microsoft site, the second steps after chkdsk worked perfect for me an got me back into Windows. Thanks so much!!!

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tried replacing system hive and it got me to the windows screen but then it would just restart!

i tried replacing all 5 hives but only 4 worked..
default didn't work....

about to try a earlier date! hope it works!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tried replacing system hive and it got me to the windows screen but then it would just restart!

i tried replacing all 5 hives but only 4 worked..
default didn't work....

about to try a earlier date! hope it works!


not working for me!
any other ideas??

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your help. You saved me a lot of trouble.
Now, why did this happen in the first place? Virus??? Bad hard drive??? Any suggestion?

1:36 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks, this worked for me as well...I was just about ready to reinstall windows!

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st set of instructions worked sick. Thanks much for the specific, concise outline. I'm on the road again...

6:14 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Worked like a charm. BTW, I did this on a laptop with OEM-installed Windows XP. Mentioning it, because one of the comments above said that it wouldn't work on OEM-installed operating system. Well, it did for me (DELL Vostro 1500). Thank you, thank you, thank you!

1:31 AM  
Blogger BBrian said...

This wasn't the correct solution for me, turned out my RAM was bust, removing one stick solved my problem. I figured it was this when WinPE, BartPE and safe mode all crashed at some point on me.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The part navigating to the restore folder was confusing. Never doing this before, I kept typing it as "cd_resto~1". It took me a while to realize that there is a space between cd and _.

Other than that, this worked brilliantly. All I remember was that my computer restarted to remove a virus. It froze when my desktop rebooted, and I got to the whole "Windows could not start..." Unfortunately, the chkdsk didn't fix the problem initially.

Thanks very much to the author for posting this information! It's much simpler than what Microsoft recommended to do.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Option 2 worked for me. Thank you very much!

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I would hug you if I could. I exhausted all other methods I had known, but Option 2 did the trick. Thank you so much!

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also would like to add my thanks for this helpful information. I restored from a backup in the System Volume Information and got my neighbor's computer working for them again quickly and easily.

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You saved my day! ;-)

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same problem as Joe...

I tried the chkdsk thing but same error occurs after reboot..then after that i experienced a new problem:
I cannot get recovery console or system setup to work. I try running recovery console and I select 1 for the windows directory and it hangs. When I try to just install a fresh windows install, It tries to search for a previous version of windows, which I could then try to repair that way, but instead it just locks up when searching for the previous version of windows. Is there anyway to fix this?
Please help! Thanks..

heartheren_62@yahoo.com

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same problem as Joe...

I tried the chkdsk thing but same error occurs after reboot..then after that i experienced a new problem:
I cannot get recovery console or system setup to work. I try running recovery console and I select 1 for the windows directory and it hangs. When I try to just install a fresh windows install, It tries to search for a previous version of windows, which I could then try to repair that way, but instead it just locks up when searching for the previous version of windows. Is there anyway to fix this?
Please help! Thanks..

heartheren_62@yahoo.com

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same problem as Joe...

I tried the chkdsk thing but same error occurs after reboot..then after that i experienced a new problem:
I cannot get recovery console or system setup to work. I try running recovery console and I select 1 for the windows directory and it hangs. When I try to just install a fresh windows install, It tries to search for a previous version of windows, which I could then try to repair that way, but instead it just locks up when searching for the previous version of windows. Is there anyway to fix this?
Please help! Thanks..

heartheren_62@yahoo.com

1:33 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Could not find kernel image: linux error? booting back to XP Pro

I am one day into Linux and I will try to keep my issue brief. My wife's Dell 8400 which runs XP Pro is sick.
First problem (nothing to do with Linux);
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
Soooo... I created a "bootable" from download and burned the Ubuntu Live CD (Ubuntu 8.10) to run Linux to backup files before trying to restore anything. I was very successful in copying all the data files I need (just in case of a recovery glich). Ubuntu has a fantastic GUI!!!
Now here is the rub. I have removed the Ubuntu Live CD and have the MS WIn XP Pro Reinstallation CD in my CD drive to do recovery procedures per the MSs postings I have reviewed AND I now get the unexpected message;
could not find kernel image: linux
boot: (blinking curser)
Google had only 10 posts with this subject and all related to trying to get Linux running. Thats not my long term goal. My goal is to get MS Win XP Pro running again. And know I am asking for help on this forum.
ANY HELP ON THIS WOULD BE MET WITH GREAT REJOICE.

Thanks, Bob

10:18 AM  
Blogger LG said...

Thanks a lot Swat :)... Option 2 saved me from a reinstallation headache :)

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Satish said...

That was just fantastic ... no wonder it is one of the top google sites for this issue. My problem was locating my XP re-installation CD and knowing to press F12 (for some reason, I thought it was F8). Once I figured that out ... Option 1 chkdsk /r did not work for me. So went with option 2 and copied the last RPXXX and that worked like a charm. Thanks a bunch! You saved me probably $120 and an unnecessary trip to a PC fix store.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Massimiliano said...

Thank you sir,
i really appreciate your advises... imho next time don't post microsoft advices only yours...:D (yours advices are better :D).

So option 2 worked like a charm for me...

I was spending about 2 hours to run the chkdisk. So i reboot the machine (while chkdsk was running - i'm crazy i know.. :D) and than i did the magic with the Sytem Restore.

Ps. I'm a computer programmer with 8 year of experience..so i've seen/solved many winzozz problems never catched one like this ... :D No Boot No Safe Mode.....

Thank you again you saved me.

4:31 AM  
Blogger David said...

Solution 2 worked!

Thank you!!!!!

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Option 2 worked like a charm. Thanks

for those having trouble with commands make sure u put spaces where they need to go example:

cd(here) _resto~1
copy(here)_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM C:\Windows\System32\Config\System

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you very much,

option 2, worked perfectly for me

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before you try any recovery measure, check which volume windows is booting from. I had the corrupt system message on bootup and realised after a while the bootup order had changed so the PC was tring to boot off a backup drive. wierd

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aah now I know how this happened. I have an external USB backp drive for my desktop PC and I went and cloned a PC onto it as well. Even though it went into a separate directory t must have stuffed the boot order whn puging back into the desktop. still wierd

5:56 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

This site and all your commands worked for me. Better than this site:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B307545

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chkdsk not worked for me. But Restore option worked for me. Thanks a lot

11:05 AM  
Anonymous jackal said...

thanks for great post, hope you dont mind if i posted it at my blog
oldfirehand.wordpress.com

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just endured a horrible three hours when I thought I may have lost my computer. Then I found your instructions, and they worked just perfectly (option 2).

I just wanted to say - many many thanks for this, not just for having the instructions there in the first place, but for putting them in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, allowing someone like me, who has only a modicum of knowledge when it comes to computers, to know exactly what to do. Wonderful!

(I'm now going to go away and back up my data, of course...)

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was not able to get BartPe to work because all I had was a DELL XP restore CD. I was not able to boot to the recovery console I would get a Bad_pool_caller error. I wound up downloading Bartpe iso from a torrent site. Booted it up moved the file over and now my machine works. I am going to take a ghost image just incase! Thanks for your help

7:07 AM  
Blogger Kayla said...

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1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this information!!!

10:02 AM  
Blogger Razvan said...

Thank you very much Swatkat!
It work from the first time with chkdsk!

You are great man!

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You saved my day! Thanks a ton :)

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You help me save so much time and data without reinstall windows. THANKS a million!

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANKS SO MUCH WORKED FINE ! saved money lots :)

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worked like a charm. Need people like you on the net. Thanks.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help! Chkdsk worked first time, saved reinstalling windows all over again.

Mine showed the message after a power cut or fuse blew out.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saved my life and a ton of time. Thanks!

3:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good advice what i did is i copied 'system" file from repair folder and then replaced in the config folder only thing i had to do was i had to install all my drivers again

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Travis said...

thank you soooo much. I had to replace all 5 hives before I got a good boot. Also for those of us who aren't dos savvy one must copy the restore hives to replace them with the associates file names ie system, software, sam, security and .default. Except in my situation I had to copy _registry_user_.default to C:\windows\system32\config\default

aslo it didn't appear to be case sensitive.

thank you again

12:37 PM  
Blogger huchong said...

You need to use quotes in cd "system volume information" because of the spaces MS suggests to replace all 5 files (hives) rather than just the system file, ie system, software, sam, security and .defaul
NFL Jerseys

11:48 AM  
Anonymous airjet said...

Can you believe it? This article was written almost 5 yrs. ago, and it helped me with one of my computers today! Thank you, sir, for a great service!

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

thanks! save me from reformatting and re-installing all my apps and files! great tutorial and bookmarked for future use.. :)

10:40 AM  
Blogger Ciaran said...

thank you so much man.

option 3 worked for me. just need all my drivers again

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11/12/2010

Awesome...after hours and days of research, this is the only site that suggested first using chkdsk then rebooting the system. Here's what I did that solved my problem:
Used original WinXP disk and used it to boot into Recovery Console
At prompt, typed: chkdsk /r
Removed the WinXP disk from the drive, Rebooted into safe mode, then used System Restore to recover the computer to an earlier date.
Worked like a charm!
Thanks again.
Jonathan at Jubantime

12:39 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

thank you so much! option 2 worked for me!! this saved my life... :D

10:04 PM  
Blogger Sandeep said...

thanks a lot
chkdsk solve my problem

Thanks again

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help!

At first, I ran method 1 but it was taking too long. I also doubt it will help in my case. So after 45 mins and 72%, I just rebooted and started method two. Rebooted again and PC came up fine.

Thanks again!!!

1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Option 2 worked for me! I had to go back a few "RPxxx" directories, but the system came right up! THANK YOU FOR THE TIPS!!!!

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You saved my life and my client´s life as well!! LoL first i did Option1, then Option 2 and worked very well, i used a live iso from ubuntu to do option2. option 1 was needed in order to delete the hibernation temp file...

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for a halp

Merci beaucoup

Spasibo

Shnorhakaludjun

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

greatly helpful.............dont ave words..Tanks

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Paresh said...

ALL HAIL SWAT KAT...
Awesome dude
I had to first run CHKDSK and then only i could used option 2.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very helpful!! the CHKDSK fixed my problems

10:52 AM  
Anonymous laptop battery said...

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11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG What excellent help!
Have referenced you and this post in my help desk. Thanks

SBTS

8:09 PM  
Anonymous iPhone Developer said...

Thanks for pointing out the mistakes. I've corrected them in the main post. I hope it would help you.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Mark M. said...

EPIC! Excellent write-up. Kudos!

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did option 2 (system file) and it worked wonderfully. Thank you very much.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

04/09/11 - You have a link to get an ISO image, but something has gone wrong, because the link takes you to: http://markharding.com/

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just download bart pe,, boot the cd and run chkdsk

much easier

9:06 PM  
Anonymous oem software legal said...

Thanks for an explanation. I did not know it.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

a couple of things:

1.) Whenever I start a command with "cd" I get the following answer:

There is no floppy disk or cd in the drive.

2.) When I did the chkdsk, it said "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems."

Please help!

1:56 AM  
Blogger Thonti said...

thank you veryy mucchhh!!!!!! save me alot of time without re-installing the system god bless ...

7:33 AM  
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1:45 PM  
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4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Sir! CHKDSK worked for me also, but only after I booted off of a Windows XP CD-wouldn't work with the ISO image disk.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:21 AM  
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1:04 PM  
Anonymous iPhone Application Developer said...

I can get just pass the windows loading screen but hten the system reboots.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did option 1 and option 2 when 1 failed and I keep getting this "The system cannot find the file specified"

What now?

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thankyou friend

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