\windows\system32\config\system HELP PLEASE
June 20, 2008 4:36 AM   Subscribe

I've really got myself a bad computer problem. At startup I get the error that the following is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system. More details after the link...

I've really got myself a bad computer problem. At startup I get the error that the following is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system.

The system prompts you insert your installation disk and enter the repair menu to repair it. When I do this the install cd can not even see my SATA hard drive let alone fix anything on it!

Since I could not get anything to work I just reformatted my computer and installed a fresh copy of Windows XP with SP2 on a different SATA drive. It has all of the recent updates applied.

Whew – problem solved and I have a nice fresh system. Yeah! WAIT! THE PROBLEM IS BACK!! WHAT THE HELL??!!

So now I am stuck once again with the same exact error. I can not find any good information on the internet on how to fix this problem so I need some real help here.

posted by Jackie_Treehorn to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's a detailed article on the Microsoft knowledge base.
posted by essexjan at 4:44 AM on June 20, 2008

The fact that you've (apparently) corrupted your registry twice tells me you might have a hardware issue. The usual culprit is bad memory. Burn a copy of memtest86+, boot it up, and let it run for a few hours. If you don't see any red error messages, then the RAM is probably good. Then I would start wondering about the motherboard (since this has happened on different hard drives).
posted by knave at 6:45 AM on June 20, 2008

One thing to check might be your drive cable. The fact that it's happened twice could mean there's a physical problem there, and it's passing garbled bytes into storage. A similar thing happened to me with an ill fitting cable that would work itself loose and slowly corrupt my system until I got that message or similar, and was unable to boot up.
posted by Sparx at 7:01 AM on June 20, 2008

I've seen the same problem on a motherboard that had two faulty capacitors on it. If you rule out the cables and whatnot, look at the tops and bottoms of each capacitor. If any tops are bulging or bottoms appear leaky, they need replacing. You can either replace the whole motherboard, or if you're feeling handy solder out the old caps and solder in some new ones.


posted by advicepig at 9:41 AM on June 20, 2008

In my experience this error can be caused by hard drive failure, but I've also seen spyware/viruses do this.... In the future you could follow the above noted directions from MS to fix it. Since you have a different hard drive, you could probably rule that out. What were you doing right before it failed? Do you download p2p stuff?
posted by Raichle at 4:59 PM on June 22, 2008

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