Windows XP Systems files Corrupt - Command Prompt Needed

After a failed  Windows Update my laptop (XP SP3) will not start/load Windows. It just sits there with blank, black screen.

After much, much digging and running various recovery utilities... to no avail... one is reporting that the following files have errors:

Windows/system32/config/system
Windows/system32/config/sam
Windows/system32/config/software
Windows/system32/config/default
Windows/system32/config/security

Microsoft's knowledge base (article: 307545) says to use the command prompt in the 'Recovery Console' to copy them to a temp folder, then to delete the originals, then to copy the same files from the 'Repair' folder to the original system32/config location. This will allow Windows to start/load and then you can get on and run 'Repair' from the recovery console...

Sounds good so far... however...

When I run the 'Recovery Console' from the original Windows XP CD I only get as far as it asking me which OS I want to repair. 
I enter the number 1 (There is only OS installed located at C:Windows)...

Then nothing happens!!

I am NOT taken to a 'Enter Admin Password' option
I am NOT taken to a 'Command Prompt'... 

Nothing at all happens!!
The laptop just sits there doing absolutely nothing!!


Q1: How do I get to a command prompt so I can copy/move and delete these five system files so I can get Windows to Start/Load?
Q2. Or is there any other way to get Windows to Start/Load?

PS. I tried to re-install the XP OS but it sits looking for an existing version of Windows and can't find one!
PPS. I tried upgrading to Windows 8 but it says the Product Code I entered is not correct... when it is the number on the certificate stuck on the Laptop case.

Ideas anyone?


Sounds like a keyboard issue (or a setting for the keyboard in the BIOS needs to be altered).

Tell us more about your hardware. For instance, what is the make, model, and model number of your PC? Is your keyboard wired or wireless? If wired, is it USB or PS/2?

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It's a Dell Vostro 1700 Laptop. Keyboard is integrated,

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When I run the 'Recovery Console' from the original Windows XP CD I only get as far as it asking me which OS I want to repair. 
I enter the number 1 (There is only OS installed located at C:Windows)...

Then nothing happens!!

I believe you need to press the Enter key after you type 1.

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PS. I tried to re-install the XP OS but it sits looking for an existing version of Windows and can't find one!
I just re-read this. Your hard drive might be shot. Best run a diagnostic on it.

Is all your important data backed up?

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After a failed  Windows Update my laptop (XP SP3) will not start/load Windows. It just sits there with blank, black screen...

To avoid confusion & duplication of effort, please post any/all further follow-up in replies to your original thread => http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_xp-windows_update/windows-update-failed-and-xp-is-corrupt-or-deleted/034ce700-7610-4473-b891-6450ad5c330 (17 December 2012, 17:23 UTC)
--
~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
Microsoft MVP (Windows Client) since October 2002

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After a failed  Windows Update my laptop (XP SP3) will not start/load Windows. It just sits there with blank, black screen...

To avoid confusion & duplication of effort, please post any/all further follow-up in replies to your original thread => http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_xp-windows_update/windows-update-failed-and-xp-is-corrupt-or-deleted/034ce700-7610-4473-b891-6450ad5c330 (17 December 2012, 17:23 UTC)

In Don's original thread, you told Don to open a new thread in this forum. He made excellent progress using Recovery Console to get the laptop booting again. Unfortunately, now the history of what Don has done is left behind. I'll recommend to Don that he copy and paste his successful progression from the former post.

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PS. I tried to re-install the XP OS but it sits looking for an existing version of Windows and can't find one!
I just re-read this. Your hard drive might be shot. Best run a diagnostic on it.

Is all your important data backed up?


FYI. Don had another thread and PA Bear asked him to create a new thread here, after Don made progress using Recovery Console. Below is what Don did to get the laptop back to its current state.

Quotes from Don's original posts:

 

Don883 asked on

 

Windows Update Failed and XP is Corrupt or Deleted. Can't Repair or Re-Install OS. HELP!

 

"An auto update last week with security and OS updates has failed. 


The update invoked a shutdown/re-boot sequence to 'Complete and configure the update' and the laptop went to a black screen (as it re-started) and Windows never came back up. It never got to a screen saying "Configuring Step 1 of x" and just sat there with black screen for over an hour... No mouse cursor and no keyboard functions... dead!

I pulled the power from it and re-booted and it came up with the black screen saying Windows didn't shutdown etc... and I have tried all start options (Normally, Command Prompt, Command Prompt with Network, Last known Config...) and nothing... just a black, empty screen. 

I tried a Windows Repair from the orig OS cd... this runs and prompts me to select the OS to logon to... one option available showing at "C:\Windows". I type 1, hit enter and nothing happens. Black screen.

I tried a Windows Re-install and it starts setup... loads drivers etc then starts looking for an existing installation... nothing... just sat there for over 45 minutes doing nothing... 

I bought a 'Win XP to Win 8 Upgrade' and that starts and asks for the orig os product code... I type it in and it tells me it's not correct even though it's the number on the Authentic Windows Certificate stuck on the rear of the Laptop.

Note: The XP OS was fully up to date prior to the last (failed) update. Please Help!!
------
Don883 replied on
Safe Mode does not boot.
None of the boot options work (Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Command Prompt or with Networking, Last known config, Normally etc)... nothing. All I get after selecting any option is a black screen and nothing happens!

I tried a 'Repair' using the original Win XP CD and when it asks me to select the Windows install i want to repair (There is only one.... C:\Windows) I type in the number 1, then ENTER... nothing... just a black screen.

Choosing to re-install the OS from the original Win XP CD results in the process loading drivers then it informs me it is "Searching for previous versions of Microsoft Windows..." and it will sit there forever (I waited 45 minutes) doing nothing.

It is as if the OS has been deleted or the main boot files are screwed!

Even the Win 8 upgrade won't install as it tells me the original product code I entered is wrong... when it isn't! It appears it can't 'see' the original install either!

Surely an failed update cannot screw a computer to the point where nothing can re-install/repair/upgrade it back into life?

Please advise. Thanks!
 
Don883 replied on

19.12.12 - 09:00 - Update:

By using a utility that boots from the CD and allows me to open a command shell, I have been able to establish that the following Windows system files are corrupt (i.e. causing the non-boot issue):

Default
Sam
Security
Software
System

By following the KB article previously referenced, I used the command shell to rename these files to OLD[x] (where x = the original filename). As I could not find a 'Repair' folder I copied these 5 files from my Wife's Dell Vostro 1710 laptop (bought at the same time) into my C:\windows\system32\config folder.

I then removed the boot CD and re-booted the laptop... success! It booted itself into Windows XP.

In this state, it thinks I am a new user and sets up my desktop with the standard 'Bliss' theme and sets up the default desktop environment. I can access the network drives and my wireless connects to our router.

Ii has 'lost' a lot of the shortcuts that I had set up in 'Start > All Programs' so I am currently adding them back in as I type this. 

System fonts are all different but I guess I can get those back to the standard ones I was using.

One thing: When I right-click on a file, or Start-menu item, Windows opens a message box stating: "Windows Installer is Loading"... it only has a 'Cancel' button. It 'loads' for a about 15 secs then disappears without apparently doing anything.

Annoying but progress? (I think).

Q. Should I now run Windows Recovery Console and effect a 'Repair' to see if it will tidy up the config?

I'll keep checking things in the meantime.

Thanks, appreciated!

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After a failed  Windows Update my laptop (XP SP3) will not start/load Windows. It just sits there with blank, black screen.

After much, much digging and running various recovery utilities... to no avail... one is reporting that the following files have errors:

Windows/system32/config/system
Windows/system32/config/sam
Windows/system32/config/software
Windows/system32/config/default
Windows/system32/config/security

Microsoft's knowledge base (article: 307545) says to use the command prompt in the 'Recovery Console' to copy them to a temp folder, then to delete the originals, then to copy the same files from the 'Repair' folder to the original system32/config location. This will allow Windows to start/load and then you can get on and run 'Repair' from the recovery console...

Sounds good so far... however...

When I run the 'Recovery Console' from the original Windows XP CD I only get as far as it asking me which OS I want to repair. 
I enter the number 1 (There is only OS installed located at C:Windows)...

Then nothing happens!!

I am NOT taken to a 'Enter Admin Password' option
I am NOT taken to a 'Command Prompt'... 

Nothing at all happens!!
The laptop just sits there doing absolutely nothing!!


Q1: How do I get to a command prompt so I can copy/move and delete these five system files so I can get Windows to Start/Load?
Q2. Or is there any other way to get Windows to Start/Load?

PS. I tried to re-install the XP OS but it sits looking for an existing version of Windows and can't find one!
PPS. I tried upgrading to Windows 8 but it says the Product Code I entered is not correct... when it is the number on the certificate stuck on the Laptop case.

Ideas anyone?


Highly recommend you don't do anything with a Windows 8 upgrade at this state.


In your former thread, you stated:

 

1) You attempted, to no avail, to restore an Automatic System Recovery (ASR) backup and;

2) You used Recovery Console to replace the 5 registry hives and subsequently are able to boot the laptop; and;

3) This is your wife's Dell Vostro 1700 laptop with the problem & you have an identical Dell Vostro 1700.

4) You said you replaced the your wife's problem-laptop's 5 registry hives

                                                                             with the registry hives from your laptop ;

5) Now you are able to boot, but receive errors.

 

Please confirm that this is your current state before proceeding. I'd recommend using the Dell boot to restore to the original WinXP setup/install because it's really simple to do, but if you had a lot of software loaded post Dell's install, then I can understand why you went with replacing the registry hives.

 

Great (impressive!) job by the way!

 

The registry hives are created during the initial WinXP setup (1st installation/Setup). Athough your laptop is identical (hardware, bios) from a factory standpoint, once any Windows OS is installed, security features of the OS (such as embedding the license key) make them unique.  I know there is a step-by-step kb on MS site somewhere, but I couldnt' find it, so .... Follow these steps to restore your wife's laptop registry.

 

1. Go back to Recovery console and perform the same steps you executed in 2) above... to replace the 5 registry hives with the

 5 "original/initial setup" registry hives on your wife's laptop. Once you've deleted the 5 hives, replace them by entering the following commands:

 

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

 

NOTE: Right now your OS (and the System Restore utility doesn't know that restore points and recovery files exist so we have to tell WinXP where they are. The Steps outlined below will do that.

 

2. We'll now use the "System Restore points" (stored registry, hardware and software profiles, etc) backups (snapshot) located in the System Volume Information folder to recover the laptop. We'll copy the registry restore/backup information to a temporary folder, then reenter Recovery Console to restore the registry files, because Registry Console can't access the System Volume Information folder. Then we'll use those restore points to do a system restore so that WinXP knows it's proper configuration.

 

The System Volume Information folder is a hidden system folder that the System Restore tool uses to store its restore points in folders called _restore {GUID} folders. The _restore {GUID} folders are "snapshots" of the registry info and the GUID is "very long" hexidecimal identifier used by the OS (WinXP, OS kernel) .  Right now your OS and the System Restore utility don't know these files exist.

 

If you have problems viewing the System Volume Information Folder, please refer to this article.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309531

 

  • It's important that you choose a restore point _restore {GUID} folder that is pre-dating the "no boot" problem caused by the Windows update, a software installation or a virus (perhaps and if so, we'll fix that too). Typically I'd go back several months (even 6 months).  Look at the dates of the "snapshot" folders and choose one where you're absolutely positive the laptop had no issues. You may have to open the SystemVolumeInformation_restore {GUID} folderRP1\Snapshot  to see the date timestamp.

 

1. From the "Pre-dated" Snapshot folder, copy the following files to the C:\Windows\Tmp folder:

_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT

_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY

_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE

_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM

_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM

 

2. Rename the files in the C:\Windows\Tmp folder as follows:

Rename _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT to DEFAULT

Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY to SECURITY

Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE

Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM

Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM to SAM

 

3. Reboot to Recovery console and remove the 5 registry files. Then copy the files you saved in the tmp (temporary, temp) folder.

the command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:

del c:\windows\system32\config\sam
del c:\windows\system32\config\security
del c:\windows\system32\config\software
del c:\windows\system32\config\default
del c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\tmp\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\tmp\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\tmp\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\tmp\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

 

4. Now that the OS (WinXP) knows where the recovery files are, we can do a System Restore:

  1. Click Start, and then click All Programs.
  2. Click Accessories, and then click System Tools.
  3. Click System Restore, and then click Restore to a previous RestorePoint.

Please report back and let us know how it goes!

WR, Camile

 

 

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--
~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
Microsoft MVP (Windows Client) since October 2002

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Last updated April 17, 2019 Views 2,539 Applies to: