View Full Version : Xp wont start - Windows\System32\config\system is corrupt

28-03-2004, 07:12 PM
for those of you who have commented on and helped me with my "failing" harddrive problem - i seem to have gotten that fixed. by taking out one of my floppy drives, it appears to work. anyway - to the main point. after taking out the floppy drive and booting up (well, tried to boot), my computer told me that \Windows\System32\config\system is corrupt, and it cant start. now usually something gets corrupt when my harddrive is turning off randomly, so i assumed that going into recovery console and running CHKDSK would fix it. (it did all the other times boot data was corrupted for various reasons, including the randomly turning off harddrive.) anyway. this time CHKDSK said that there were errors (well, i knew that already cause windows was saying that its funny config\system was corrupt) and i told CHKDSK to fix them. it did that for about 2 hours (as usual), and then proceeded to tell me that it had fixed them. however on restarting, it still had the same message. so i ran CHKDSK again, and it did the same thing. i tried running seatools, the only other HDD checker i had available, and it also told me i had errors, but i couldnt find a "fix" option. If anyone can tell me how to fix this, or reccomend some other disk-checking program, (not too big please, the computer i am typing this on has a 14k modem, and only a floppy drive), then that would be great. thanks.

28-03-2004, 07:50 PM
I'm not too sure of it's size but Steve Gibson's SpinRite (http://grc.com/) is mean't to be the best of the bunch. You have to pay for it though.

28-03-2004, 08:13 PM
I think thats the registry thats kaput.

You might be able to restore it from a backup.

28-03-2004, 08:21 PM
err - how am i meant to do that?

i have heard that windows backs its registry up everytime it starts, and if XP does that, then good - but how to re-install the automated backups? i dont usually backup my registry manually, because nothing like this usually happens.....

28-03-2004, 08:36 PM
Take a look at this article - it's for WXP - I guess thats the OS in question?

MS KB Article (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;307545)

28-03-2004, 10:15 PM
aye, thats the OS, and thanks alot too - it solved my problem and im now able to type this up on a computer that a faster modem.....

29-03-2004, 06:31 AM
Try starting in safe mode and then use system restore. It may work. If this fails then put in your XP disk and reinstall win over you present copy.

29-03-2004, 01:23 PM

Does it do an install over the old copy of XP and keep all your settings and files or does it blow it away and start again.???

I know of someone who has this problem. WIN XP PC won't boot after splash screen and he dosn't know the recovery consol password..

29-03-2004, 01:40 PM
It should install over the old one and rewrite any missing files. Though it usualy misses corrupted files. Win does give a warning that some files like my documents could be damaged.
I've got away with it a couple of times.

29-03-2004, 03:26 PM
i got it fixed, but booting into safe mode wouldnt have worked anyway, because the error comes right after the post, and before it starts loading anything OS. i think you have to do the system restore through dos (well, thats what i did.)

29-03-2004, 03:58 PM

He said it worked fine. Running a bit slow but will allow him to get his files off and do a complete reinstall

30-08-2005, 10:07 AM
Well this just happened to me as well and in trying to resolve it I tried safe mode with command line, the Microsoft article method, the recovery console and various recovery disks all to no avail. Windows really sucks (yes I know you probably knew this already) as I'd only just reinstalled from a previous crash, albiet not the same type as this. I'll have a look at SpinRite as I have a copy somewhere but Fedora Core 4 is starting to look very appealing.

30-08-2005, 10:54 AM
Very funny this thread comes up because Ive had this same issue twice in the past fortnight (Two different PC's), and Im going to take a look at a friends laptop today which also has apparently the same error?!

Any idea what causes it?

30-08-2005, 03:13 PM
Chill, this problem is caused by a damaged registry
The following will fix it
I've had to repair this problem many times
Last time was an hour ago in fact!!

Make sure the system is booting form CD
Insert XP CD
Select Repair
Enter 1 for which installation yopu want to repair (assumming XP is installed to root of C drive)

Change to the c:\Windows folder
Change to System32 folder by typing "cd system32\config" (no quotes) Press enter
Type "dir system" (no quotes) Press enter
Type "ren system systembak" (no quotes) Press enter
Type "dir" (no qoutes)

You should now see a file named systembak and no file named system

Type "copy c:\windows\repair\system" (no quotes) Press enter
You should get a message "One file copied"
Type "exit" (no quotes)to reboot

Some apps my act strangely aftyer this restore and need installed
But it will allow you to backup data and turn off system restore to mdelet old restore points and create new ones
Depending on how the system is setup all may be ok and nothing else will need done

30-08-2005, 10:56 PM
Cool - I thought I'd tried that previously but left a gap between system and bak. That moved me on to the next corruption - there may be a way to go it seems. Don't ya just love windows.

30-08-2005, 11:10 PM
Yes don't leave a gap, you can rename to system.bak (note the .) actually you can rename it to anything you like.
Depending on the corrupt file the same process applies if the file is 'system' , 'software' or 'security'
These are the most common 3 that this error will occur on
You can write a wee batch file to run if you like, saves a lot of command line stuff

30-08-2005, 11:18 PM
Well now I have a system32/drivers/ntfs.sys missing or corrupt message and the steps described at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822800/EN-US/ don't seem to work. Any ideas?

30-08-2005, 11:24 PM
I think you answer lies here... (http://win-xp-sp.blogspot.com/2004/11/windows-could-not-start-because_30.html)

31-08-2005, 09:49 PM
Nope that didn't work but after a few more "fixes" I ended up back at the windows\System32\config\system error and now it won't respond to the fix outlined in this thread. Looks like fixing Windows corruptions is beyond mere mortals although I'm not beaten yet. Any other thoughts anyone - I'll try anything as my preference is still to restore the computer rather than reinstall, although no dopubt by tomorrow I'll give up and start again.

31-08-2005, 10:10 PM
Edit: shoulda read previous post

31-08-2005, 11:34 PM
I did - it didn't work

01-09-2005, 10:18 AM
BDH: Thanks heaps! That trick worked great

Sadly thou lsass is now complaining about the passwords not matching or something and it wont let me continue.

I cant even do a "repair" either, gives me that error after first reboot.

Any suggestions?

01-09-2005, 11:10 AM
Yep, you'll have to go the whole hog
You're used to command line seeing your a linux guru so shouldn't take long
I had this all written down to easily understand and can't find it now so you'll have to read thru MS Blurb and take out the bits you want
You won't have to do the "system" file
Just the "sam" and "security"
Don't do the "software" unless it's a last resort as this will stuff up all your apps
I never bother making a tmp dir either I just get in and do it as I posted above
The only changes I make are to the file names
Full blurb here:

01-09-2005, 05:15 PM
Will check it out.

Appreciate the help, thanks :-)

03-09-2005, 09:14 PM
Had no luck with that... Kept asking me for the Administrator password, and I had no idea what it was

Got the data off that I needed, and formatted



03-09-2005, 11:23 PM
I tried that and it didn't work - and the only way I can access my drive is using Knoppix. Kind of cute really that I need a Linux CD to access my windows installation, but haven't been able to transfer the files to a flash drive. Reinstalling looks like the only way forward.

03-09-2005, 11:28 PM
As long as the Thumbdrive isnt formatted with NTFS you should be perfectly fine :)

Just click on the desktop Icon for the Windows drive

To mount the thumbdrive RW you'll need to:
mkdir /mnt/thumbdrive
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/thumbdrive

That should do the trick :)



04-09-2005, 12:09 AM
I stumbled across how to transfer the files and now I'm happily filling up the drive with the stuff I didn't want to lose. Fortunately 98% of the drive was backed up anyway but of course Windows always crashes at the most inconvenient of times.