let me preface this thread by saying i am in no way a computer savy person. i woke up the other morning and my laptop wouldn't boot. when i try and boot the system it says that \windows\system32\config is missing or corrupt. while normally i would have just reformatted and started all over, i'm feeling a little more adventurous these days. i have done some research about the problem and i have attempted to use two different methods to correct this problem, but neither of them has worked. and so i'm tossing up a hail mary, hoping that you may be able to offer me some assistance.

i'm working with a HP pavilion ze5500 with xp pro. i've had this problem numerous times but i've never been willing to try and fix it.

the first method that i've tried to correct this problem came from a website i found from a general google search. the website is


in using this method i have two major problems.

i am able to reach the step of C:\windows> cd system32\config
once i reach this step that's when everything goes awry.

this takes me to C:\windows\system32\config> and i type dir system, but is says that no matching files were found.

i even tried to go on even though no matching files were found but in the next step copy c:\windows\repair\system
it says that the system cannot find the specified file.

and that's where i get stuck on the first repair method.... the second isn't much better.

the second method that i've tried came from the microsoft knowledge base articles.


well this method didn't even get as far as the first.

when i type md tmp
i get a message that says " A directory or file with the name tmp already exists"

if i continue down the list i get messages saying that
the system cannot find the file specified, and that's as far as i've gotten.

i'm not sure if i've done anything wrong or if there is another method that i could try but any help would be extremely appreciated.

thanks in advance

12 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by trthleshro

on bootup hold down <Ctrl>+<Alt> choose the option command prompt
type scanreg
it should then detect errors in your config files you should have several config files saved choose the most appropriate file,please note that when you do so certain driver files for hardware may need to be re-installed,but at least you may be able to boot your computer.
Also please refrain from formatting your hard drive as much as possible as this will often lead to hard drive failure,and cross referanced files,long file names etc.
Because ghost files are often left all over your drive after a reformat.
You could purchase a disk utility that will over write the hard drive with 0's several times and then it will recheck your drive for any errors durring the same process.


i tried the <Ctr>+<Alt> and i received two different reactions.

first the computer flashed a column of numbers on the left of the screen. then it went flashed the HP symbol in the middle of the screen and it went to the \windows\system32\config\system missing or corrupt.

the next time i tried to fix the problem i didn't get any numbers and i got a blank screen. i had to use the power button to shut off the system, because nothing else would work.

any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.. thanks in advance..

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