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

Posted under Vista, XP by ifoundafix

The other day while browsing the Internet I Found A Fix for a recent problem I was having. The issue is described as follows;

The computer would not boot up. I received the message “Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\”

This will also repair most boot up problems such as the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)…The solution and description to this error is set out below;

Firstly. Run a CHKDSK.

Start by booting from your Windows XP or Vista CD. Press R for Recovery Console. From here you meed to run ‘Chkdsk /p’ . Type exit and the computer should reboot into normal mode. I always recommend after this you then run the chkdsk again from the Windows side (only slightly different). If the computer reboots normally;

Click on start, run and type ‘chkdsk /f /r’ and type ‘y’ when prompted to do so. You should then reboot the pc and allow the chkdsk to run again.

If not, continue reading.

Secondly. Perform the System Restore

1. Start your PC and boot from your Windows XP or Vista CD. Press R for the Recovery Console.

2. Once Inside the Recovery Console type the following commands to change the directory to the system restore directory:

cd \  

cd system~1
or cd “system volume information”

If you receive an Access denied error, read below, otherwise move to step 3.

a) Type the following commands to change the directory to c:\windows\system32\config :

cd windows
cd system32
cd config

b) Rename the system branch of the registry. That will allow us to access the system restore folder from inside the Recovery Console. In case the process fails and you want to perform a Windows Repair you will need to rename system.bak to system again.

ren system system.bak

c) Type exit to leave the recovery console and to restart the computer.

d) Go back into the Recovery Console.

e) Re-enter the commands:

cd \  
cd system~1
or cd “system volume information”

3. Type: cd _resto~1 and hit enter

Alternatively, type DIR and hit enter to ascertain the proper name of the folder.

If there is no _resto~1 folder or if there are no restore points inside it: Try this on I Found A Fix

If the _resto~1 folder exists, inside it there are several folders named RP100, RP200. These are restore points. RP100 is the oldest restore point. You should take the highest number being the most recent restore point.

Type DIR and hit enter to view what Restore Point folders are available. If no restore points are available you may have to consider reinstalling Windows. Otherwise choose the most convenient Restore Point folder. Supposing we have RP300 available let’s type in:

Cd RP300

Change the directory to snapshot:

cd snapshot na hit enter.

Restore the main registry branches manually. If you are being asked if you want to overwrite type in y to agree.

copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software

copy _registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy _registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy _registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default  


Type exit to reboot the system. The computer should start the computer normally. If not, you can repeat the steps and try the different restore points.

I would like to acknowledge the assistance and thank Myfixes.com for their solution which can also be found here

I hope you too have Found A Fix!

  1. Susan Coffey Said,

    i do not have a cd for this solution, all that came with pc is a re-boot cd, is that the cd I use
    my problem is as follows on windows xp
    windows can not start as file is missing or corrupt

  2. admin Said,

    You should be able to work around this problem using the steps outlined here;


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