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Newbie here- couldn't read any replies on archived thread about this. Desktop crashed on boot with no warning, showing Windows unable to load due to this missing or corrupt file.

System was well maintained, clean:
Dell Dimension 4400
Pen 4 1600 megahertz
Installed RAM: 512MB
HD: 40GB 77% free
Windows XP Home w/SP2

No major problem, no hardware problems, no 'noises'-whirring or beeps.
Installation CD will not boot
Possible Dell 4400 motherboard problem?

Keep trying, or remove hard drive, try to recover?
Thanks,
anges35

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Last Post by tundrawolf
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Hello,

I just had this happen to me and I was able to fix it in 10 minutes. Mine was caused by a power bump right at boot-time and it caused the "%systemroot%\system32\config\system " file to become corrupted. This file is re-written at each boot-up.

What I did was access the drive from another operating system (Win XP) and went to %systemroot%\system32\config\ and renamed the old file from system to system.CRP(for crap:) ). I them renamed the existing file "SYSTEM.ALT" to "system" (without the quotes) and rebooted my computer. Everything was fine. It's safe to delete the crap file. I'm always in the habit of never deleting, always renaming when I troubleshoot.

In my case it was that fast because my PC dual boots. In your case you can either put the hard drive in another machine that uses NTFS (Win2000 or XP) or find one of those boot disk out there that will boot the machine from a CD and allow read/write access to your hard drive. BartPE or a Linux boot disk are options. Also look at bootdisk.com. He has a real nice ISO file that can be used to burn a boot disk that will allow read/write access to an NTFS partition.

BTW, %systemroot% is a Windows variable for the root (starting) folder of the operating system. I've seen Windows installed in C:\Windows and C:\WINNT.

Good luck!
-Dennis

Newbie here- couldn't read any replies on archived thread about this. Desktop crashed on boot with no warning, showing Windows unable to load due to this missing or corrupt file.

System was well maintained, clean:
Dell Dimension 4400
Pen 4 1600 megahertz
Installed RAM: 512MB
HD: 40GB 77% free
Windows XP Home w/SP2

No major problem, no hardware problems, no 'noises'-whirring or beeps.
Installation CD will not boot
Possible Dell 4400 motherboard problem?

Keep trying, or remove hard drive, try to recover?
Thanks,
anges35

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Thanks Dennis. I'm going to get the hard drive out and hook it up to my laptop which also has Win XP Home, SP2. I don't have the dual boot option, nor boot disc at this point.

While still looking for a cause, I came across this in a troubleshooting reference: Windows XP doesn't use the Config.Sys which is a DOS start-up file, so it's a bogus message on XP- something else is trying to access it.

I don't know what it was, but had tech out day before putting in new wireless router- this was my first reboot since then!

anges35

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Hello,

The 'system' file is the root of this problem. (BTW, that file is just called system and does not have any file extension). It is a component of the registry and way too fragile for my liking. It is about 3-4 MB in size and is constantly being written to during a computing session. Since it only takes a couple of messed up bytes to corrupt it, it should have a better level of fallback protection.

There is a Microsoft bulletin on how to fix this with the RECOVERY CONSOLE:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545/en-us

Instructions are straight forward and you wouldn't have to remove your drive, so that is another option.

Config.sys is on the root of your hard drive to allow some older applications to run and need provides a method to tweak DOS settings. It is not a component used for the XP boot cycle.

-Dennis

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config.sys is NOT config\system, and the msg was about the latter.. config has system, sam, software, security and default -they are all used for startup in XP.
Safety?: well yes, there are excellent levels of protection - just once in a while do a system state backup [like no-one ever does....] to update the files in %systemroot%\repair, [or put the backups into another folder eg repairnew ] in which case the restoration of your sys' health is straightforward; but those five files are also backed up in every system restore point......
The trick is to get at them - recovery console cannot access them inside the System Volume Information folder, and if you restart your sys using an earlier-created set of files then System Restore will not know they exist! .... so you restart your sys using any old set from \repair, then access SVI and copy out the five files from a restore point just previous to the crash to a C: root temp folder, and finally use recovery console to copy em in to where they belong, in system32\config. And restart - your sys is now at the state it was in just before the crash.
Which pretty much goes to prove - do not ever let your sys crash. Ok, it sounds involved, but it's just one step after another on a logical pathway.

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Hi pls help me:

\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

I dont know how... please help

config.sys is NOT config\system, and the msg was about the latter.. config has system, sam, software, security and default -they are all used for startup in XP.
Safety?: well yes, there are excellent levels of protection - just once in a while do a system state backup [like no-one ever does....] to update the files in %systemroot%\repair, [or put the backups into another folder eg repairnew ] in which case the restoration of your sys' health is straightforward; but those five files are also backed up in every system restore point......
The trick is to get at them - recovery console cannot access them inside the System Volume Information folder, and if you restart your sys using an earlier-created set of files then System Restore will not know they exist! .... so you restart your sys using any old set from \repair, then access SVI and copy out the five files from a restore point just previous to the crash to a C: root temp folder, and finally use recovery console to copy em in to where they belong, in system32\config. And restart - your sys is now at the state it was in just before the crash.
Which pretty much goes to prove - do not ever let your sys crash. Ok, it sounds involved, but it's just one step after another on a logical pathway.

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Hello, lieve, do you have an XP installation cd? You willl need it for the Recovery Console.

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I have this problem (System file with no extension missing or corrupt), except the cdrom in my laptop stopped working a long time ago. I also have no USB boot capability.

A friend is letting me use his windows 7 laptop to try to fix it, but the windows XP disk won't allow me to do anything from this newer O/S computer.

I have the ability to use the HDD from the older laptop as a thumb drive via a 3.5" USB interface I have, and I have the windows XP disk.

Please help!

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"I have the ability to use the HDD from the older laptop as a thumb drive via a 3.5" USB interface I have, and I have the windows XP disk."
Beauty! Here are the instructions: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
Note WELL that warning about OEM installations! They mean it! So don't do this if you have an OEM machine.
Otherwise... use your XP disk to start the Recovery Console, and then just do the steps for the Config\SYSTEM file, ignore the other files.

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I have this problem (System file with no extension missing or corrupt), except the cdrom in my laptop stopped working a long time ago. I also have no USB boot capability.

A friend is letting me use his windows 7 laptop to try to fix it, but the windows XP disk won't allow me to do anything from this newer O/S computer.

I have the ability to use the HDD from the older laptop as a thumb drive via a 3.5" USB interface I have, and I have the windows XP disk.

Please help!

I didn't think it would help but I ran a full surface scan in scandisk on the old hdd. It actually made it bootable again. So I used XX copy to mirror the hard drives and then clicked the "Make drive bootable" option and the computer is working again! Oddly with this new hard drive the computer is 2/3 times faster than it was before.

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