Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM - fixing this without the OAM disk?

There is microsoft windows XP Professional version 2002  Service pack 3 installed on the computer
I tried to turn on the computer  but this came up.
I don't have the original disk to install and fix the problem.

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup
Using the original Setup CD-ROM

Select ‘r’ at the first screen to start repair.
I would hold off on a the Repair Install that Elizabeth23 suggested for now.

I think it is time for you to create a bootable Hiren's CD and boot into it Mini XP Mode and choose the Registry repair Wizard.

You already ran chkdsk /r, which is the first thing you should do anyway. Since it didn't work, you may very well need to "go back in time," as it were. Wunders published great instructions for this. Look at his reply in this thread:

Let us know how you fare.

For simplicity's sake, here are those instructions:

On another machine, create a "Hirens Boot CD":  You must burn this with the "Burn Image" feature of a CD Burning program.
  Hirens Download:  < >
[don't get fooled. The actual download link is in light green at bottom next to a disk icon with arrow]
  Burning Instructions:  < >

Once you create the disk, boot your laptop from this disk.  At the first screen, select "Mini Windows XP" and let it continue to boot.  After it boots, go to the "HBCD Menu" and select:
   Programs -> Registry -> Registry Restore Wizard
Follow the prompts in the registry restore wizard, selecting the last restore point before your problem to restore from.  When done, shut down your computer, remove the CD, and reboot.  If all goes well, you will be back in Windows.

To make sure everything is copacetic, you should perform a "System Restore" using the same restore point you picked using the Restore Wizard:
   "How to restore Windows XP to a previous State"
    < >

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Last updated May 31, 2020 Views 20,493 Applies to: