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I can't get Windows XP Professional started!

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by BR88, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. BR88

    BR88 Flightless Bird

    Everytime i start my computer, it comes up with a black screen saying:
    Windows XP Professional could not start due to damage in/ or missing file:
    \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM\ press r to repair, but nothing happens.

    It's a laptop and I have no XP CD for it. The computer came with XP on it,
    so all I've got is a product key on a label.
    I can't start it in failsafe condition or anything else when I use F8, it
    just goes back to the previous???

    I can, however, enter the BIOS settings screen (F2), if that's any help.

    I was wondering if I could just delete the whole thing and use the product
    key or something to re-install XP???

    Either that or any other help is very welcome!
     
  2. John John - MVP

    John John - MVP Flightless Bird

    BR88 wrote:
    > Everytime i start my computer, it comes up with a black screen saying:
    > Windows XP Professional could not start due to damage in/ or missing file:
    > \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM\ press r to repair, but nothing happens.
    >
    > It's a laptop and I have no XP CD for it. The computer came with XP on it,
    > so all I've got is a product key on a label.
    > I can't start it in failsafe condition or anything else when I use F8, it
    > just goes back to the previous???
    >
    > I can, however, enter the BIOS settings screen (F2), if that's any help.
    >
    > I was wondering if I could just delete the whole thing and use the product
    > key or something to re-install XP???
    >
    > Either that or any other help is very welcome!


    You should have either a set of recovery CDs or DVD from the computer
    manufacturer or the laptop should have a service partition which can be
    used to restore the laptop to factory conditions. Without one or the
    other, (or without a Windows XP CD) you can't reinstall the operating
    system. It might help if you give us the name and model number of the
    computer, someone reading here might be acquainted with the different
    restore options for the machine.

    You could try to use the Recovery Console to repair the problem. Make a
    Recovery Console CD as explained here:
    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic276527.html and then boot
    to the Recovery Console and run a chkdsk on the drive (chkdsk /r) and
    then see if the computer will boot properly. If the computer doesn't
    boot properly try this:

    How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from
    starting
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

    This may also be helpful:

    Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console for advanced users
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058

    John
     
  3. Paul

    Paul Flightless Bird

    BR88 wrote:
    > Everytime i start my computer, it comes up with a black screen saying:
    > Windows XP Professional could not start due to damage in/ or missing file:
    > \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM\ press r to repair, but nothing happens.
    >
    > It's a laptop and I have no XP CD for it. The computer came with XP on it,
    > so all I've got is a product key on a label.
    > I can't start it in failsafe condition or anything else when I use F8, it
    > just goes back to the previous???
    >
    > I can, however, enter the BIOS settings screen (F2), if that's any help.
    >
    > I was wondering if I could just delete the whole thing and use the product
    > key or something to re-install XP???
    >
    > Either that or any other help is very welcome!


    WinXP has a feature called System Restore, where the OS makes copies
    of key files, such as the registry files. It is possible to get out
    of this mess, if System Restore was operational at the time of failure.
    If System Restore was disabled for some reason (happens sometimes with
    malware or procedures involving malware removal), then you may not be able
    to get back to your previous good working system state.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

    The things to note about that procedure are:

    1) You're replacing the corrupted file, with a relatively "empty" file.
    That means, the first stage of the procedure, is only there
    so that you can get the computer booted. If the computer were
    to boot, the job is not finished. An "empty" file won't have
    all your settings and customizations. Many things could be broken.

    2) The step involving System Restore, is what finishes the job.
    That replaces the "empty" temporary file, with an archived
    copy that System Restore made within the last couple of days.
    That restores almost all of your registry customizations.
    Only the odd setting you changed within the last couple of
    days, might not be kept. So the full procedure, including
    using System Restore, to put back "good" registry files,
    gets you almost exactly back where you were.

    "The procedure that this article describes uses Recovery Console
    and System Restore"

    Recovery Console is something that comes with a real WinXP CD.
    It can also be installed to your system, as a boot time option,
    using a real WinXP CD.

    But for machines like Dell or HP, there might not be a boot
    time option to start up in the Recovery Console. There are some
    options for doing it - I've seen at least one small ISO9660
    image, which contains Recovery Console on it, for download.
    It is possible, that a more advanced OS like Vista or Win7,
    could have a maintenance option that does much the same thing.
    It really depends on how desperate you are. You can always
    head off to a computer shop, and get them to do the necessary
    steps. (They would use the "slaving the hard drive" option,
    which I describe next.)

    http://neosmart.net/blog/2008/windows-vista-recovery-disc-download/

    Another option, if the recovery console is not (easily) available,
    is to slave the hard drive from the laptop, to another computer.
    If the 2.5" hard drive is IDE type, it has a 44 pin connector.
    You can use a 44 pin to 40 pin adapter, to connect the drive
    to a desktop computer. You can also get 44 pin IDE to USB
    adapters, and plug in the 2.5" drive to a USB port. Then,
    using regular file operations, you can do the step that
    involves moving an "empty" copy of the file into
    place, while the hard drive is slaved to another computer.

    You'd still need to put the disk back in the laptop, then
    boot it, and then use System Restore and restore to a recent,
    known good restore point. And then you'd have a populated
    registry file back in place again.

    Once the machine is working again, come back for some suggestions
    on backup strategies, burning a copy of your recovery partition
    or whatever. The user manual for your computer, may have had
    some valuable information, on things you should do immediately
    after purchasing the computer, such as burning a copy of the
    restore partition. In your current situation, the only thing
    that would really have helped, is having a recent backup of
    C:, because such a backup copy would have covered the case
    that the WinXP System Restore function is broken.

    (Example of a relatively painless backup solution)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148454

    (This is the software it uses.)

    http://www.howtogeek.com/reviews/rebit-backup-software/

    HTH,
    Paul
     
  4. John Wunderlich

    John Wunderlich Flightless Bird

    =?Utf-8?B?QlI4OA==?= <BR88@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in
    news:DCC3C4D1-56D1-4106-B8EB-EA3AA2DB166C@microsoft.com:

    >
    > Everytime i start my computer, it comes up with a black screen
    > saying: Windows XP Professional could not start due to damage in/
    > or missing file: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM\ press r to
    > repair, but nothing happens.
    >
    > It's a laptop and I have no XP CD for it. The computer came with
    > XP on it, so all I've got is a product key on a label.
    > I can't start it in failsafe condition or anything else when I use
    > F8, it just goes back to the previous???
    >
    > I can, however, enter the BIOS settings screen (F2), if that's any
    > help.
    >
    > I was wondering if I could just delete the whole thing and use the
    > product key or something to re-install XP???
    >
    > Either that or any other help is very welcome!
    >


    You may be able to recover.

    On another machince, create a free Live Linux CD such as Knoppix:
    <http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html>
    Note that files ending in -EN are English, -DE are German.

    Then boot your machine from this CD.
    After that, follow the steps in the following Microsoft article:

    "How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from
    starting"
    <http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545>

    Begin at Part 2, Step 6. Use Linux to copy and rename files on your
    Hard Drive as directed (instead of the Recovery Console).

    HTH and Good Luck,
    John
     
  5. Randem

    Randem Flightless Bird

    Here are some things you can try, you may need to remove your HD from yor
    computer to attach to another computer as a slave drive or and external USB
    drive:

    1 - Test your HD for defects and fix if available use Western Digital Diag
    (WinDlg -
    http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=9999&sid=3&lang=en )

    2 - If drive is good or repairable then backup your drive to prevent
    accidental data loss (Acronis True Image -
    http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119&wdc_lang=en )

    3 - Most likely if the config folder is damaged you will need to do a
    re-install. Try an over the top install first before a complete clean
    install. That will save your programs and data if they haven't been corruped
    also.

    4 - Since you did not mention what brand or model computer you have, I will
    assume that it is a major brand like HP or Dell and that may mean that you
    may have a recovery partition on your drive as well. If it hasn't been
    corrupted also you can boot from the partition using the boot menu of the
    computer to access the recovery partition and do a complete recovery to
    factory defaults from there. This is also why we did the backup, you will
    need to copy your data from the backup to your system when you complete the
    recovery.

    5 - If no recovery partition then you will need to borrow omeones XP Pro CD
    so that you can create a slipstreamed copy with SP3 so that you can
    re-install the OS. If you have on your Windows Product Sticker the letters
    OEM you will need to borrow a CD from someone with the same brand computer
    you have (not model, meaning if yours is a HP then borrow a CD from someone
    who also has an HP with OEM on their sticker). This would be the only way
    that you can use the procuct license numbers on the Windows sticker on yoru
    computer.

    This should help you get on your way to getting your computer working again.

    --
    The Top Inno Setup Script Generator - http://www.randem.com/innoscript.html
    Free Utilities and Code - http://www.randem.com/freesoftutil.html
     
  6. Jose

    Jose Flightless Bird

    On Jul 6, 12:45 pm, BR88 <B...@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:
    > Everytime i start my computer, it comes up with a black screen saying:
    > Windows XP Professional could not start due to damage in/ or missing file:
    > \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM\ press r to repair, but nothing happens.
    >
    > It's a laptop and I have no XP CD for it. The computer came with XP on it,
    > so all I've got is a product key on a label.
    > I can't start it in failsafe condition or anything else when I use F8, it
    > just goes back to the previous???
    >
    > I can, however, enter the BIOS settings screen (F2), if that's any help.
    >
    > I was wondering if I could just delete the whole thing and use the product
    > key or something to re-install XP???
    >
    > Either that or any other help is very welcome!


    Was the issue preceded by a power interruption, aborted restart, or
    improper shutdown?
    (this includes plug pulling and power buttons)

    These can cause corruption in the file system which must be fixed
    before you do anything
    else.

    If any of those events have occurred (or even if they have not
    occurred), you should verify
    the integrity of your file system before doing anything else
    (especially "trying" things).

    It makes zero sense to start trying to copy files around on a hard
    disk that has a corrupted
    file system so this must be fixed first using the XP chkdsk program,
    and fixing that may resolve
    your issue entirely.

    Use the XP Recovery Console to verify the file system on your HDD and
    correct any problems
    and then try to boot your system - this may be all you need to do.
    Or, you are welcome to
    just start trying things that might work.

    Boot into the Windows Recovery Console using a bootable XP
    installation CD, or create
    a bootable XP Recovery Console CD.

    This is not the same as any recovery disks that might have come a
    store bought system. If
    you are not sure what kind of bootable CD you have, make a bootable XP
    Recovery Console CD
    and be sure.

    You can create a bootable XP Recovery Console CD when no XP media is
    available by following
    the directions in this link:

    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic276527.html

    After booting into the Recovery Console, you should be in this folder:

    C:/WINDOWS

    For each of your hard disk partitions, you should then run:

    chkdsk /r

    For example, from the Recovery Console prompt, enter:

    chkdsk c: /r

    Let chkdsk finish and correct any problems it might find. It may take
    a long
    time to complete or appear to be 'stuck'. Be patient. If the HDD
    light is
    still flashing, it is doing something. Keep an eye on the percentage
    amount to
    be sure it is still making progress. It may even appear to go
    backwards sometimes.

    The chkdsk /r needs to complete without any errors, so you may need to
    run it
    multiple times until it does.

    Remove the CD and type 'exit' to leave the RC and restart the computer
    and report
    back with your progress.
     

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