Windows XP could not start because \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM is missing


  • I'm not a tech person.  I have Windows XP Professional on a Dell Optiplex 170L.

    Powering up Wednesday, I received the message, "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM."

    I've done the Internet search for answers, trying every possible solution that I could find.

    I printed Microsoft Support Article 307545 and have tried to work my way through it using Windows Recovery Console and my system's Windows XP Reinstallation CD, changing BIOS to start up from the CD ROM drive, etc.

    First, using another computer, I downloaded Guided Help both to a CD and to a flash drive and tried to upload that to my computer but the file would not read.

    Then, I followed the "manual steps to recover a corrupted registry" (referred to by 307545).  I was unable to copy the first file ( c:\windows\system32\config\systemc:\windows\tmp\system.bak ) which is mentioned.   The system told me that the file could not be copied.  I did successfully copy the remaining four files which I was directed to copy.  However, after being unable to copy the one, I did not proceed with deleting/copying the other files as instructed.

    I have even tried some other suggested steps, including opening the casing, disconnecting the hard-drive cables from the motherboard and waiting a couple of minutes to see if the system would reset -- all to no avail.

    Am I doomed to reloading Windows and wiping out all of the data on my hard drive?

    Friday, January 22, 2010 3:42 PM

All replies

  • yes i got the same problem but i didnt try to replace the file but just reinstalled windows but was amazed to see that each and every single file of mine was not missing
    Friday, November 05, 2010 4:14 PM
  • search ubuntu and download it then use usb creator or somehting lke that and make a usb bootable version of ubuntu and then start up your computer then press f12 or watever you use to go to boot devices and then run your usb and run ubuntu NOT INSTALL then after that go to computer and whatever has your windows on it got o windows and  go to the path you need for the specified file and copy to the mem stick which you have to remove and put inwhen you get to this step then copy it over and your done copying POTATO BOB RUELZ(yes i meant to spell it like that):) <("<)

    Monday, November 15, 2010 7:43 PM
  • If you have the install cd, I suggest that you try to boot from it. Let it load all the drivers, and get to where it offers you the three options( repair using recovery console, install, or exit setup.) Choose install, and part of the way into the process, it will find your damaged installation, and offer to repair it for you. All this does is delete the system files and hives. It will not affect your files, data or anything else ! Just be sure to pull the disc from the drive before the second reboot, to avoid the endless setup loop most users experience at that point.
    "http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/default.aspx/". This is MICROSOFT'S new, FREE, fully automated, anonymous support portal, which can help users resolve windows and other product issues with a few mouse clicks. BOOKMARK THIS SITE, EVERYBODY !!!
    Saturday, January 08, 2011 7:25 AM