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Windows XP not booting up - changed environmental variables

by tessarotto / February 6, 2013 4:29 AM PST

Hi there,

Customer changed environmental variables value by clicking on my computer, properties, advanced, environmental variables, edit (user variables), and changed Variable value to the word "windows".
Now windows gives us a blue screen and does not load from any other mode, not even from safe mode.
I tried to boot from CD in order to perform a recovery but it gives me a blue screen (pci.sys error).
I can read the hard drive on another PC, no problems.
I was wondering how to change the environmental variables back to what it was.

Thanks in advance.

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Sorry. Guru deep water zone ahead.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 6, 2013 6:30 AM PST

Go get NTPASSWD and it has an offline registry editor. You can also use the microsoft KB article about loading the hive and editing it there. As you must be a guru I'll point what direction to go but stop short of a step by step.

The good news is their files are likely fine. Just pop in a new blank drive, reload and copy their files from the old drive then issue the bill for the work.
Bob

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Non guru methods.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 6, 2013 6:36 AM PST

1. LKGB or last known good boot should be fine as if this resulted in a bad boot, LKGB will get you working fast.
2. Safe Mode command prompt if it's working can let us launch RSTRUI.EXE to roll it back.

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Re: environmental variables
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 6, 2013 6:32 AM PST
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/environment_variables.mspx?mfr=true says they are stored in the registry. So restoring the latest backup from the registry is the thing to do.

A system restore back to before he did this should be fine, but can't be done from the recovery console. You need to boot into Safe Mode with Command Prompt to do that in XP. And I understand from you post that that doesn't work.

Booting from the XP setup disk should work, because that's independent from what is on the hard disk. Try cleaning the disk, a head-cleaner on the drive, copying the disk, another disk with the same version of the OS, or another drive. If you don't believe it should work, try it with another empty disk (wiped with DBAN or just with all the partitions deleted).

Kees
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