[WINXP] \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM missing or corrupt

If you get the error \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM missing or corrupt you can follow these steps to fix this problem:

  • Boot a linux distribution of your choice. I prefer Ubuntu
  • Mount your windows partition
  • If exist rename (or move) the corrupt file \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM to \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM.old
  • Now open the folder “system volume information\restore (with some numbers)\RP (with a number)\snapshot.
  • Copy the file _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
  • Rename \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
  • Restart the computer and you will see Windows is starting again :)
  • Now point to start > programs > accessories > system tools > system restore
  • Restore your windows a couple of days earlier

If you don’t restore you windows you must manually fix the file permissions. Everything looks fine but if you see your event viewer you see a lot of (networking) profile troubles.

You can do the same trick with

_REGISTRY_USER_DEFAULT
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM

MS Support article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
My inspiration for this article: http://forum.computeridee.nl/showthread.php?t=48294 (Dutch)

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