General discussion

\windows\system32\config\system file missing or corrupt

It's been a while since I had to do this so I'm looking for a little refresher here. Just booted up on my XP partition with the message: "\windows\system32\config\system file missing or corrupt please use 'r' for repair. I know I've got to go through the repair recovery, but I can't remember if I use the fixboot from the DOS prompt or fixmbr. Any suggestions or cleaner way to fix this would be greatly appreciated, I guess if all fails it will be back to the dreaded fdisk!

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Reporting: \windows\system32\config\system file missing or corrupt
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Win XP install disk

Try booting up with the original win xp installation disk and choose repair upon bootup.

This should fix most problems with corrupt/missing system files. If that does not work, you may be stuck with reloading completely.

Hope you have a good backup!!!

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Thanks, I have tried the repair, just unsure of the fixboot or fixmbr step?

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You will want to use...

In this case you don't want/need fixmbr. Instead, use the following four lines:





You may find one or two programs that need to be reinstalled after you do that but everything else will be as it was.

Hope this helps,

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I'm having the same trouble...

I have the same problem, but when I try to fix it, on reboot I get a message telling me that "<windows root>\system32\ntoskrl.exe" is corrupted or missing.

So my conclusion is it's maybe a virus, or something like that, but I had mcafee installed and I still doubt it could be the case.
Do you think this problem worth trying "ubcd"? if so, which program should I run? if not, what would you recommend in spite of reinstalling windows (and which is really painfull because you need to retreive your drivers, programs,... and reconfigure everything) ?

thank you for helping me

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Mcafee is useless, I tried it for a while and it only gave me more viruses, so maybe that could be your problem. I would suggest a virus protector that gives better results than Mcafee.

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You may find, after trying many times to reinstall, or using other methods to repair or replace the missing file above, that you are still having the same problem. I did, and finally realized after considering what could cause repeated failure with this file, that it could be a bad hard drive. Eureka moment! It was the hard drive. A new one fixed the problem permanently. Although the old drive would accept installation, it apparently would fail to consistently find the critical file when rebooted. It took over 10 reinstalls, using various strategies, to come to the right conclusion. A grinding noise from the hard drive helped in that regard.

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Hi, all. I agree with Ol Smitty's post

This is likely 50% of the possibilities.

I rarely sign up for a site just to make one post, but...

Got this error, myself. Trouble is, can't press "r", can't boot from any discs (and, yes, had an OEM) and most times couldn't even get to the BIOS--and when I could the keyboard wouldn't let me navigate within the BIOS.

I build my own pc's, but I've been bad with this one, in that, I'm keeping IDE HDDs alive with a PCI card (nightmare to set up) so the primary HDD is OH about 8 years old.

After multiple reboots and trying to boot to disc and then just trying to get into the BIOS nothing would respond to me. Again, on the very few times I could get into the BIOS I couldn't move around to check boot orders, etc.

So....started to think..."that drive is kinda old, huh?" I haven't replaced it yet, but here's what I did next...I cut the power to that old master HDD, then powered that old HDD again, and rebooted.

Now I don't get the configsys error in the subject line here....I get "cannot find OS" over and over. Sorta makes me think HDD bad.

Haven't thrown in a new HDD yet, but all the above says the thing finally died. I get a successful post "code FF" with my board and even the gleeful beep, but even the BIOS was being quirky. This said to me that BIOS is saying "I see all your hardware, but your HDD is going in and out so I'm going in and out because I can't finger it regularly". Where a post should be all or none the HDD going in and out, I think, screwed with the limited brain of the BIOS; I could get in at times, but not move around; because to get a post it should be an all or none process with the hardware.

I guess my question would be, with my setup, and I DO have SATA drives, If I throw a new primary SATA HDD in there is it going to go for my remaining secondary IDE backup drive to format to? That would be bad, m'kay?

Anywho...I think this smells of hardware to me. If you know what you're doing, pull the power on your master HDD, then plug it back in and reboot. If BIOS can't even find the OS at that point, I think this is a dead drive issue.

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RE:\windows\system32\config\system file missing or corrupt
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Repairing windows\system32\config\software or system error

I see this is an older post but I found it in a search so others are probably finding it as well. I like John.Wilkinsons fix but it sometimes will not work. If you run into this issue then you can do a manual registry repair kind of like doing XP system restore (only without windows working). You need to have an XP disk and get the system to the repair portion of the disk. Your going to the command prompt. You need to get to the hidden restore part of windows and copy the software or system file that you need to fix into the registry. If you need a step by step heres a link:
There are also several other ways to do this. They are listed on this site. A quick and easy way is with the ultimate boot cd. There is a registry repair program in it that will restore your system with just a couple of mouse clicks. It is in the list of programs in the registry section. You can also move the files by taking the hard drive out and hooking it up to another computer and copying the files from the hidden restore point folder to the windows system32 config folder. Good luck

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