UH-OH...I need some good news...

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by sypher, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. sypher

    sypher

    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    This morning I went to work on some photos...turned the computer on, and came back a few minutes later to this:

    WINDOWS COULD NOT START BECAUSE THE FOLLOWING FILE IS MISSING OR CORRUPT:
    \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

    It then said some nonsense about using the xp disk to repair the problem.
    I tried loading in safe mode and got the same message.
    So I grab the old xp cd slapped it in, ran it, and got this message:

    SETUP DID NOT FIND ANY HARD DISK DRIVES INSTALLED IN YOUR COMPUTER

    When my computer is loading up before I get the first message, I can see that it is recognizing my two hard drives.

    I used my computer yesterday and had no problems. Please tell me there is an easy fix and that I am not going to lose anything on my hard drives.
     
  2. bioalkemist

    bioalkemist Guest

    Probably a hard drive with a bad sector. Best thing to do is replace that drive, but if it happens before you can do that, you might use a "Live" CD such as Knoppix to at least recover your data. Of course, if you're smart, you won't be keeping any of your data on the same HD as your OS.

    Another option is a program called SpinRite - it's supposed to find and repair bad sectors on hard drives and would probably work in your case. It costs some money but if you're desperate it is an option.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. mallaig

    mallaig

    796
    Mar 12, 2006
    Brian, a corrupted registry hive is usually caused by software writing to the registry during the shutdown process. It can also be caused by hardware, such as CPU, memory, memory controller or HD controller failure. Mostly it's the former reason, though.

    If you have the System Restore service enabled (by default) you can use the recovery console to repair the registry. See here how to do that.

    The other method is to stick the HD into another computer or an external case and copy your data off. Chances are good that the HD is not corrupt, but only the registry on it. Of course, you can also put another HD into your computer, install Windows on that and add the old drive as D: to rescue your stuff.

    Hope it helps.
     
  4. sypher

    sypher

    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    Funny you should say that. I just came up with the funds to get another hd so that I wouldn't have to....
    If all else fails I will look into getting spinrite
    thanks for the post.


    Tim,
    first thing I did was look it up on ms site. Unfortunetly I have the OEM version and it seems that once you go in it creates user id's and passwords that did'n't exsist before, which won't allow you to finish the process. Another issue that I have are the drives are raided.
    I think I might try to do a recovery install. If I remember correctly once you get past the first menu, three options being a)install b)repair c)exit, going through the install option, it will allow you to do a recovery install (I think/hope) otherwise I will terminate the install so the drives aren't reformatted. Does that sound right?
     
  5. mallaig

    mallaig

    796
    Mar 12, 2006
    You can try and do a repair installation. However, that usually copies over the system files it needs to boot, but doesn't fix your registry which is constantly modified by Windows.

    I presume you don't use a dedicated RAID controller (the onboard RAID controllers are NOT dedicated). You need a floppy disk with the RAID controller drivers on them. Windows needs to load them to access the drive(s) attached. When you get to the first blue setup screen it should say something along the lines of "to add additional controller drivers press F6". Press F6, the installer will continue preparing the setup files and eventually ask for a floppy disk with your RAID drivers. This is all happening before you get the option to repair or install Windows.

    The possible outcome for this fix is that you get to boot into Windows with a naked registry. That means it has lost all the information about the system's configuration, which software is installed, etc. Your files, however, are still there and should be accessible at this point.

    If that doesn't work out, I suggest to stick in a new HD which is NOT using the RAID controller and install Windows on there. Then install the RAID drivers which should give you access to your old Windows drive and the data on it.

    Knoppix (as suggested by bioalkemist) can get you access as well if you don't have a second drive handy. It's a Linux flavour that boots entirely from CD, however, I don't know how well it supports your onboard RAID controllers or data recovery from the RAID array. But it's free and you should look into it if none of the other stuff works.

    Hope it helps.
     
  6. sypher

    sypher

    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    Tim,
    you are right, it is only a software raid, and I do have the floppy with the raid. Unfortunately I haven't had time to just sit down and work on it, and probably won't until tomorrow evening. I appreciate your help and will let you know how it turns out.
     
  7. Walter

    Walter

    Jan 13, 2006
    Columbia, Maryland
    Walter Rowe
    I keep a spare disk drive completely set up with basic XP installation for cases just like this. I can boot off the spare drive and use it to retrieve data from the failed drive.

    Go to http://www.runtime.org/ and get their products. I have retrieved thousands of files off of drives with bad spots. It is the best money I ever spent on PC utility software. I keep it installed on the spare XP recovery drive I mentioned above.
     
  8. Brian

    I had a client with exactly the same error message. Although we finally determined it was a hardware issue and replaced the computer (cheaper than fixing it), the data on the drive was OK.

    We were able to do the Windows re-install you mentioned and got it to work for a day or so. This provided plenty of time to off load files to a network share.

    There is hope.

    Cheers!!

    Ken
     
  9. sypher

    sypher

    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    I just had a thought...if I was able to get into dos prompt couldn't i just do "dskchk_r" to find and repair the bad sector?
     
  10. Schnauzermom

    Schnauzermom

    Apr 13, 2007
    Michigan
    You can go to safe mode, command prompt, and run a chkdsk....I haven't found it to work particularly well with that error, but it's always worth a try. :)
     
  11. sypher

    sypher

    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    Lisa,
    I would if I could, but I can't even boot into safe mode:(
     
  12. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Might work.
    Boot from a floppy
     
  13. Schnauzermom

    Schnauzermom

    Apr 13, 2007
    Michigan
    You can't get into safe mode command prompt only? Hm. Got a 2nd computer you can hook it to, to run the chkdsk?
     
  14. sypher

    sypher

    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    Good News

    I finally had some time yesterday to sit down and play with my computer...I was able to get everything up and running, and as far as I can tell I haven't lost anything. Now I'm just crossing my fingers that nothing goes wrong, at least until I can get my hands on an external hd. I had the money saved until I saw an offer on a 28-70 that I just couldn't resist:redface:.
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions.
     
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