Windows System 32 Config System Error Message

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Windows System 32 Config System Error Message

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I have a Dell Dimension 8400 With Windows Media Center XP.  I'm getting an error message "Windows could not start because the following file is

missing or corrupt: \Windows\System32\Config\System 

I've tried rebooting in safe mode and last known configuration without success.  I tried loading the Dell supplied Operating System CD but nothing happens.  (The disc drive does sounds its motor is not working well).

Any thoughts?

 

All Replies
  • John Quimby,

    Thank you for using the Dell Community Forum.

    Go to a command prompt and type in CHKDSK c:/r

    This will fix errors, find bad sectors in your hard drive and recuperate still readable data.

  • Every time I hit a key, it tries to reboot and sends me back to the error message.  How can I get  to a command prompt?

  • John Quimby,

    Boot to the disk and choose the Repair Option to see if that will work.

  • I used the F12 button to get to the boot device menu and ran a hard drive diagnostic.  It gave my hard drive a "pass".  It indicated my DVD Drive was "incomplete". 

  • John Quimby

     

    Suggest you first read my replies in this thread, click here

     

    If you try to use Recovery Console & at the command C:\> then type in chkdsk /r you will probably end up not being able to access previous account data

     

  • If you now suspect CD-ROM drive also has problems then either replace it or buy a USB connected CD-ROM drive but only if the Dimension 8400 BIOS indicates ability to boot from a USB device?

     

  • I have some good and bad news...

    The good is my DVD drive works.  I went to Bell Boys' prior string and pointed the sequence of the boot up to my DVD drive and the system loaded.  I followed all instructions and everything seemed to work.... 

    The bad news:  for some reason, the OS failed to complete it's loading cycle.  I left it on all night.  It got to "Network Connections" and would not move. 

    I tried re-loading the OS and now it's asking me where I want the OS loaded.  My only choice appears to be the hard drive.  I am concerned, though, because I'm receiving messages indicating my data "may" be lost.

  • Hi again John

     

    To do an XP Repair Install, it’s critical that Repair appears as an option

     

    Quote “The bad news……OS failed to complete it's loading cycle.”

     

    Are you saying the Repair option did appear & after pressing the letter R, Windows repair started but then it stalled at some stage??

     

    Or

     

    Repair Install successfully completed but then after reboot, Windows didn’t load properly?

     

    Did you first disconnect ALL external peripheral devices (includes Network adapter cable) but excludes monitor, keyboard/mouse?

     

    Quote “I tried re-loading the OS and now it's asking me where I want the OS loaded.”

     

    That sounds like the Repair option did NOT appear, if correct & you proceed then the process will continue but will do a Clean Install & yes you will then lose your personal data

     

    1. Can you please clarify the above?

     

    2. I know you ran diagnostics from the F12 key menu

     

    Have you tried running diagnostics by booting Dell Resource CD & running Full/extended test?

     

    3. Repair Install & Clean Install type processes will stress the HDD & fail if the HDD is suspect

     

    Maybe you should be thinking about buying a suitable USB connected HDD type enclosure unit & trying to recover personal data (if important)

     

    Repair Install successfully completed but then after reboot, Windows didn’t load properly?

  • Hi Bell Boy,

    Thanks again for helping me!  I've responded to your questions. 

     

    1. Can you please clarify the above?

    Question: "Are you saying the Repair option did appear & after pressing the letter R, Windows repair started but then it stalled at some stage??" 

     

    2. I know you ran diagnostics from the F12 key menu

     

    Have you tried running diagnostics by booting Dell Resource CD & running Full/extended test?

    I have not.  Do I do this at the f12 menu?

     

    3. Repair Install & Clean Install type processes will stress the HDD & fail if the HDD is suspect

     

    Maybe you should be thinking about buying a suitable USB connected HDD type enclosure unit & trying to recover personal data (if important)

    This is very important.  Are there any particular types I should consider?  I have been thinking about adding a HDD type enclosure to my Scientific Atlantic DVR.

     

    Yes, that is what happened.  I did NOT disconnect all my peripheral items, however.  Could this have been my problem?

  • My response to your first question didn't  make it:

    1. Can you please clarify the above?

    Yes.  I did not disconnect the peripherals, however.  Would this have impacted the operation?

    Question: "Are you saying the Repair option did appear & after pressing the letter R, Windows repair started but then it stalled at some stage??" 

  • Ignore repeated last line in my previous reply, not sure how that happened, the Dell Forum web site link was acting up when I last tried to post – bizarre 

     

    Anyhow

     

    Remove ALL external peripheral devices as described previously

    Sometimes you also need to remove/disconnect any internal hardware added since PC purchase, e.g. additional memory sticks (RAM) but usually you would receive an error message clue

     

    Boot from CD-ROM device (as before) but this time with the Dell Resource (Drivers & Utilities) CD

    This will test if CD-ROM device is working OK with bootable media & allow you to run diagnostics again

    Select & run a full test (may take a while)

    When completed, if no error code/messages then remove Resource CD, insert XP CD, use power on/off button to reboot

    Once again look for the “press any key to boot to CD-ROM “ prompt & press the Enter key

    At the welcome to Windows Setup screen

    Do NOT press the letter R key to launch Recovery Console to repair Windows

    Press the ENTER key to select the option “to set up Windows XP now”

    Press F8 key to Accept the License Agreement

    Windows Setup will start searching HDD for existing Windows installation(s)

    If a valid Windows installation (normally just one) is found it will be displayed, normally something like C:\Windows

    That screen will provide the options:

     

    1. Press R to Repair (the critical option you are looking for)

    2. Press Esc key to Continue installing a fresh copy (the Clean Install you don’t want)

    3. Press F3 to Quit (always use this if unsure or Repair option doesn’t appear)

     

    If Repair option is available & selected then Setup will delete XP OS system files from HDD installation then start copying XP OS system files from CD/DVD to HDD (showing % progress) & will then auto reboot

     

    The Repair Install process should only take about 35 to 40 minutes to complete

    Remember to remove XP CD/DVD when completed & change BIOS boot device sequence back to normal

     

    If successful you then need to download & install ALL critical MS updates, the most time consuming part

    Don’t try to download or install too many MS updates in one session

     

    Reply if you require further clarification

     

  • I did the diagnostic testing after loading the drivers CD - everything is fine.

    I rebooted with the Dell XP DVD and hit enter to "set up Windows now".  This time, I have a screen which says:

    "The following list shows the existing partitions and unpartioned space on the computer".  Based on the data requirements, the only

    choice appears to be C: partition 2 [NTFS].    When I enter this selection I received additional prompts:

    "Format the partition using the NTFS file system (quick)"

    ""Format the partition using the NTFS file system "

    "Leave the current file system intact (no changes)".

    I selected the last option which gave a warning I could lose all the data in My Documents. 

    Should I put Windows in a different folder?  If so, how would I do this?

     

  • John

     

    What you are describing implies Setup couldn’t find a valid installed XP OS

    That doesn’t mean an XP OS does not exist on the HDD, it just can’t be found by Setup

     

    Rather than go on & explain other likely problems & reasons, at this stage I’d suggest you now try to recover personal data, assuming it hasn’t already been deleted

    Then if HDD is repairable, you can try other options without worrying about loss of data

     

    Using a second PC you can either connect suspect HDD as a “slave” or use a powered USB SATA external enclosure type unit, e.g. one of these, click here

     

    Assume you have checked HDD/mobo cable connections – a long shot but it does happen, otherwise your HDD is heading south

     

    Better if you create a new post in Disk Drives (HDD, CD/DVD, Blu-ray) Forum click here & ask the hardware experts for advice on most suitable powered USB SATA external enclosure to buy & if necessary best replacement HDD for your Dimension 8400 system