Error Message (System32) on Cloned Hard Drive

I run Windows XP Home Edition (SP3). Because I am running out of disc space on my old hard drive, I bought a bigger drive and have cloned my old hard drive. I removed the old drive before attempting to boot. The new, cloned drive initially booted successfully 2 or 3 times, and I did not note any problems with functionality. But when booting up subsequently, I received the error message:  "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: windows\system32\config\system". I have since re-cloned the new drive and it repeats the above problem: after initially booting successfully a few times the same error message appears.


After discussing the situation with Seagate (new disc and cloning software provider), I am proceeding on the assumption that there is likely a file corruption in my old XP which is manifesting itself in the clone. (Although I do not receive the error message on my old source disc and have no problem booting it up.)


I would like to run Recovery Console to try and repair the cloned disc, but here is my problem: the new disc is a Serial ATA (SATA) drive which connects through a host adapter in a PCI slot on my computer. My computer is an older one using parallel ATA.


When I insert the XP installation CD to attempt to run Recovery Console, the disc does not recognize the SATA drive as a hard drive, and so the disc will not boot to Recovery Console. My question: is there a change I can make in BIOS to enable some kind of IDE emulation, or to otherwise instruct the computer to load the SATA drive on the host adapter?


Question Info

Last updated December 24, 2017 Views 195 Applies to:
You might be able to change the BIOS on your system of unspecified make and model, but there are only certain things you can do (easily) from the Recovery Console and sometimes that is enough, but if you make a Hiren's Boot CD/USB you can do alot more - and if handles SATA drives just fine.

You can also make a bootable Hiren's USB stick for systems that have no CD/DVD drive but those are different instructions if you need them.

Here's how:

Make yourself a Hiren's Boot CD which you can download from here:

The ZIP file is large, so the download will probably take a little while to complete bit it is worth it.  Then unzip the download to extract the Hirens.BootCD.ISO file that will be used to create your new bootable CD.

Creating a bootable CD from a .ISO file is not the same as just copying the .ISO file to a blank CD.  You have to use software that understands how to burn a .ISO file to a CD to create a bootable CD.

In the Hiren's ZIP file are the BurnToCD.cmd file that you can double click to launch it, but I have never used it and prefer to use ImgBurn.

If you need a free and easy CD burning software package, here is a popular free program:

When installing ImgBurn, DO NOT install anything from UniBlue or the Ask toolbar (never install the ASK toolbar for anything).

Here are some instructions for ImgBurn:

It would be a good idea to test your new bootable CD on a computer that is working.

You may need to adjust the computer BIOS settings to use the CD ROM drive as the first boot device instead of the hard disk. 

These adjustments are  made before Windows tries to load.  If you miss it, you will have to reboot the system again.

When booting on the Hiren's CD you will see a menu of options.  Choose the Mini XP option.  Then it will appear that Windows is being loaded and you will be presented with a desktop that has the look and feel of the Windows Explorer interface you are already used to using.

One way to check the disk for errors is to open My Computer and right click your afflicted drive and choose Properties, Tools, Error-checking, Check Now... put a check mark in both the boxes and then Start.

Sometimes that doesn't work, so you can also click Start, Run and in the box enter:


Click OK to open a Command Prompt window and enter the following command (assuming XP is installed on your C drive)

chkdsk  c:  /r

This disk checking can take a long time (perhaps several to many hours) depending on the size of the volume, the amount of data on the volume and what the disk checking finds to do.

Let chkdsk finish and correct any problems it might find. 

Depending on the the speed of your system, the size of the volume, the amount of data on the volume and what chkdsk finds to do, it may take a long time for chkdsk with error correction to complete (several to many hours) or it may appear to be 'stuck'.  Be patient.  If the HDD light is still flashing, chkdsk is doing something so don't interrupt it.  It will finish eventually one way or the other.  Keep an eye on the percentage amount to be sure it is still making progress.  It may even appear to go backwards sometimes.

You may have to run the chkdsk  /r  it more than once.

If you want to see if you can adjust your BIOS here are some ideas:

Before making any adjustments, you should make a note of what the current BIOS settings are so you can change them back when you are finished.

The adjustment varies so here are some examples I have accumulated:

The adjustment is made in the BIOS and could be under Integrated Peripherals, SATA Device Configuration, SATA Mode or something similar.

Make a note of what the current settings are before making any changes so you can change them back when you get done or if things get worse.

After you make the changes, save them and see how things look.  You may have to try a few things to get it to behave.

If you find the mode is set to RAID/SATA mode, change the mode to IDE.

If you find the mode is set to SATA, change the mode to IDE.

If you find the mode is set to SATA, disable SATA mode.

If you find the mode is set to AHCI, change the mode to ATA.

If you find the mode is set to AHCI Emulation Mode, change the mode to IDE Emulation.

If you find the mode is set to SATA, disable SATA mode and/or change the mode to ATA.

If you find the mode is set to SATA Native Mode, disable SATA Native Mode.

If you find the mode is set to RAID/Autodetect AHCI, change the mode to Combination.

If you find the mode is set to RAID Auto/AHCI, change it to RAID Auto/ATA (this was a Dell XPS 420)

On some system of unknown make and model, In the Integrated Peripherals menu, disable"On Chip IDE Channel 0

On an Acer Aspire 4720Z the mode needed to be changed from "AHCI Mode" to "IDE Mode"

The WWW says this works on some Dells:  "I had to set my SATA Operation to ATA instead of AHCI"

After making the adjustments, ACCEPT and SAVE the changes, and restart the system and see if it will now boot on the Recovery Console CD.

Here are some additional ideas about changing the BIOS to recognize the SATA drive to boot from CD:

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