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"C:\windows\system32\config\system was missing or corrupted"

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"C:\windows\system32\config\system was missing or corrupted"

  • Hi,
    I was working away quite happily on my 2 year old second user Inspiron 5150 last night when I got the infamous blue screen (a KERNEL Stack error) and a message to restart. When I did this I got a Cardbus NIC failure followed by the "no bootable device press F1 to retry or F2 to enter Setup" message. All the bootable devices had turned blue in the setup screen. My hard disk was being detected as 60 GB which is correct.
    I had a look in the knowledge base and found out about booting from my Windows XP CD and pressing R to use the Recovery console, which I did and ran CHKDSK /p which reported no errors. I then tried restarting and got the missing config message as shown in the topic title. I can do a DIR in DOS and see what's on my HD but when I try to change directory to C:/WINDOWS I get access denied.
    I don't want to lose my data (I have the files for a website that I've been working on for 2 months on there) so should I reinstall Win XP to a new directory or just overwrite the old one and reapply SP1 and SP2 ? I know I will probably lose My Documents etc but I think I can live with this if the other directories and data is safe using this method.
    Can anyone advise me what's the best way forward please ?
    Forgot to mention that I also tried to access the C:/DELL directory from DOS in case there was a Utility I could use to recover my HD but I also got Access Denied on this.  As I am the second user of this laptop I don't have the Dell Utilities or Drivers CDs. Is there somewhere I can download their contents using my Desktop so I can make a back up Utilities CD ?

    Message Edited by Jannii on 11-24-2005 04:10 AM


    I seem to have made this a sticky somehow can someone reset t to a normal post please. Sorry n00b at work.

    Message Edited by Jannii on 11-24-2005 04:12 AM

  • Sorry double posted :smileysurprised:


    Message Edited by Jannii on 11-24-2005 04:11 AM

  • If there's data on the drive you need that isn't backed up start here:

    Buy a notebook to desktop drive cable or an external USB 2.0/firewire 2.5" drive enclosure, attach the drive to a working desktop or notebook and copy your data for backup.


    Return the drive to the notebook. Boot, press F12 and run the extended diagnostics on the drive. If the drive passes, skip the next step.

    If the drive fails and you're under warranty, call Dell, report the error and they'll ship you a new drive.

    If the drive fails and you're out of warranty, bin it and replace it - any notebook 2.5" drive will work.

    If the drive passes, you can continue to try a repair (which fails more often than it succeeds) or bite the bullet and reinstall everything from scratch.

    Recovery usually fails to restore the registry; in about 70-80% of all cases, it's a hardware fault that causes the problem.
  •  I don't have a warranty as I didn't purchase the laptop new unfortunately. Many thanks for your advice.


  • Ok, so I backed up all my data and re-installed WIn XP from the CD but I'm now having two different problems. During the re-install it was unable to copy newdev.dll so I had to skip it  but the rest of the install seemed OK and Win XP boots up fine. Does anyone know which directory I should copy newdev.dll into as I am concerned this may be what is causing my other problems.
    1) when I try to activate Windows it tells me my product key is wrong !  I have checked it over and over and I am typing it in correctly as per the label on the bottom of the laptop.
    2) Win XP is not installing the drivers for my Ethernet card (Broadcom 440x), Sound card (Sigmatel C-Major Audio) or Video card (NVidia GeForce FX Go5200).  When I try to install them manually the setup programs fail with the message "missing setupDLL.cpp" which seems to be something to do with the InstallShield setup program.  I have also tried going into Device Manager and clicking on Update driver but nothing happens. Also when I try using the Add New Hardware wizard and browse to the inf file for my device it doesn't find any compatible devices to install.
    Can anyone suggest how I get round these problems as I obviously have no sound and the VGASave driver that XP has installed makes my screen flicker and I can't adjust the refresh rate.
    I am not so concerned about the ethernet adaptor as I use an Intel wireless card to connect to my home network.


    Message Edited by Jannii on 11-27-2005 07:19 AM

  • Did you test the drive before you reinstalled? If the drive has bad sectors, you could easily get the symptoms you describe.
  • Yes, I ran the diagnostics and CHKDSK /r and it said there were no problems. I have since tried to install norton systemworks and a couple of other programs that use Installshield and they all fail with the setupDLL.cpp error so I think I need to update the IS files before I ca install any drivers.
  • If you're using the Dell OEM XP CD, you should not need to enter a product key at all unless you're doing an install-over. If you are, it'd be a better idea to start over and format the drive.

    If you're using a non-Dell XP CD, the Dell CD key won't work.
  • Got it all resolved now thanks !
  • Hello!
    I just received the same error: C:\windows\system32\config\system was missing or corrupted.  The error message also told me to put in the XP operating disk, however, when I bought my laptop, we received a paper that said we would not need an operating disk (so why I didn't get one in the first place is beyond me).  When I did get an operating disk, I went through the installation with a Dell Rep. and she told me I would not loose any of my data. 
    After getting off the phone, I was able to see a desktop again but it had NONE of my information, icons, etc. on it.  When I look through some of the drives, I can see some word documents and some pictures but not all.  Also, I have no programs about my wireless internet connection or any other programs I have downloaded.  Dell said they will have to send me some CDs that have some of these devices?? 
    Does any one else have any other suggestions??  Thank you for your time!