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gosta

Yikes! Help with Windows XP Home, please!

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I've no doubt that this is the wrong forum for this post but this is the only home I know, and I need quick advice. Give me 5, moderators! I just went to reboot to fly my new MD902 and I got a DOS prompt saying:"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:WINDOWS/SYSTEM32/CONFIG/SYSTEM"What is this file? An INI file? I've no way of checking as I'm shut out - this message is being typed on my Win98SE computer which, inevitably, has a different file structure. Aaargggh. What's more, I bought a bundled computer so I have no disks for Windows. Makes ya sick, dunnit?If anyone feels inclined to wing me the file (pleeeeeze, grovel grovel) then my address is MABeaumont@aol.com. Thanks. If you are so kind, then please post here so that I don't end up with four hundred of the slippery little devils.Mark "Dark Moment" BeaumontEDIT: Mmmm.... may be a bigger problem than I thought, as I can't access DOS and thus have no way of loading or repairing this file. Or do I?http://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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Ouch! That is a important file. That is where all the system stuff is. On my computer this file is 7.75MB which means it has something important in it. Since this file is system dependant, I doubt you can swap the file with another computer.In the mean time, try holding down F8 right before XP loads up normally. In the menu select "Last known good configuration" or whatever its called, and reply and tell me how it went.Hope that helped.

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Ouch and ouch again! Managed to get to that screen with options ... last known good config, safe mode etc. .... but:1. 'Last known good config' returns me to the same message screen, as above.2. 'Safe modes' bring up a listing of five files onscreen, the last of which is the (apparently) errant file, and then eventually goes to the problem screen, above.Should I consider suicide, or are there other alternatives?Mark "Dark Moment" BeaumontEDIT: After two hours of going round in circles, I'm still going round in circles. Can anyone else tell me how big their WINDOWS/CONFIG/SYSTEM file is? Is it, indeed, locally generated or can I replace mine with someone elses'? Even if I could get in to DOS to do that, which I can't right now.And I thought I knew my way around computers ... but this has me stumped. I just can't get in.I'm terrified of having to trawl the old girl around to CompUSA or something ... I just know what they'll say ... "better reformat your hard drive sir" or "sorry, but we wiped your hard drive by mistake" .... oh, woe is me.http://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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Yeppers......You are going to have to do a complete format and re-install......that sucks....If you have important stuff you need to get off the HD you may know you can do a parallel install of XP and copy all that stuff to a CD.I had that happen seven times until I got a good install of XP.I do wish you well. DONT DO IT WHEN YOUR TIERD.

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Are you serious, flynman? You had to do this SEVEN TIMES? What causes it then? Why has this file suddenly gone silly on me?Moving 60GB of stuff onto a CD is not really an option, LOL. I have to find a way to fix this file. I can't believe I have to reformat for one file. Trouble is, for sure, I can't get in there right now.Mark "Dark Moment" BeaumontEDIT: Surely, the first thing to try is getting hold of some Windows XP install disks, isn't it? Can I not try to overwrite what is there? Is it really necessary to talk in terms of reformatting?That would be weeks of work for me to get back to square one ... in fact, with FS I could never achieve it. I would lose so much. Here's hoping this isn't a major lesson in life ...I am getting the intro screen and can pull up the SETUP menu etc. I just can't load Windows, and I can't reach DOS to investigate.http://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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I believe there are WinXP setup floppies on Microsoft's site somewhere. With them, you should be able to get into the Recovery console, which is a 'restricted' version of DOS. You might be able to revive your system with that (you can type ? or help to display commands to fix stuff). Cant really use the floppies for much more than that though. That seems like the best you can do without a XP CD. You can try to get the data off with a NTFS driver (so you can access stuff from your XP drive) for Win98, but you cannot write to the NTFS drive.

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Hi Dark Moment,I got this right, the corrupt file is on your XP system, isn't it?In that case, you can just do a repair install, which will leave all your installed programs and files intact (except for your Windows settings). Just run your Windows CD, select install Windows, and you will be given the option to repair the existing installation (If memory serves correctly, it's on the same page as the option to format). And presto - fresh Windows and all your programs intact.Cheers,Gosta.http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg

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Sorry to say this but the only good windows version was and still is windows 2000... Iv been running mine for about 2.5 years and no downtime no errors and no BSOD's.Lets hope longhorn is better :(And i hope you get your problem fixed up.. reinstalling is a pain in the butt.GL

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I had this happen once. Sorry to tell you, but in my case it was a failing disk drive. On the bright side, I was able to install a new drive and slave the bad one to that, and then copy almost everything back.Have you checked for viruses that might do this? (Well, you can't, can you?) That was my first thought when this happened to me. Does anyone know if there's a virus which corrupts this particular file?

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Thanks, all. Captain Barf, that may be the way to go, I guess ... most other comments suggest repair from the Windows CD but as I said earlier that's what I don't have. So, maybe:Try the MS site for Windows XP rescue floppy stuff?Try MS for a Windows XP install disk?If neither of those can be done, install a new HD, load it with Windows and try to slave the existing drive?I just cannot believe that the doom route - sigh deeply and reformat my whole hard drive - is my only option. If so, I shall probably take up needlework.Reverting, but any further comments MORE than appreciated ...Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumonthttp://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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Great idea - but he doesn't have an install CD ! Don't you just love the pirates that caused MS to stop supplying the OS on CD. My new(ish) WinXP Home PC came with a "Repair" CD, but I've no idea what it does, or whether it works on a re-formatted/replaced HD.Alastair

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I haven't time to go back to MS KB again at the moment but I read it pretty thoroughly before I posted the link and cannot remember anything in the article mentioning the CD was even needed for the repair.Bill

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Thanks, Bill! Actually, I have just got that far, through Support Chat with Compaq/HP ... but of course, nothing works to plan. My computer won't let me follow the instructions as written (cannot copy this cannot copy that etc.) and now has come up with a password block. Since I never had one, I have new issues.Yaaaarrhhhhgghhhh! More soon .... somewhere, somehow, I will fix this. I'm NOT going to lose my data, dammit.Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumonthttp://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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Hi Mark - This may be off the wall but - can you get hold of an old DOS disk anywhere? Something that you could boot to? If you can, and boot to dos - go to the Winnt/System32/Config folder and look at all the files named system. Rename the "system" to "system.old" and look for one called system.sav - should be approx the same size as your "system" file. Rename that to system and try again.FWIW, I'm running xp pro and my system file is about 3M.Good luck - vgb

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Hi Mark,>Try the MS site for Windows XP rescue floppy stuff?Try MS for a Windows XP install disk?If neither of those can be done, install a new HD, load it with Windows and try to slave the existing drive?http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg EDIT: Of course, you can always put your HD as a slave into your Win98 computer, and save your files from there, if anything else fails.

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>Sorry to say this but the only good windows version was and>still is windows 2000... >>Iv been running mine for about 2.5 years and no downtime no>errors and no BSOD's.>>Lets hope longhorn is better :(>>And i hope you get your problem fixed up.. reinstalling is a>pain in the butt.>>GLMan sorry about this... its kinda silly of my to have writen that as it dosnt give you any help.....(late nights i guess)

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I feel for u Dark. I had to do this 4-5 times when I had a damned On-Board raid controller that killed my system files and also slowly my HDs time after time. U are right it is not possible to move 60GB of stuff to CDs. But HDs are very cheap now. What I finally did was get Drive Image and a 160 GB HD especially for backups.1. U can still make a backup of ur complete drive right now. So later u can copy all te stuff back especially all this modded FS2002 stuff).2. I make a complete image of my HD at least every two month. In case something goes wrong u can still go back to at least what was 8 weeks ago. If ur HD crashes ( and I had 3 HDs killed in 3 years) a repair install won't help u either.Good luck my friend,Alex

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Chapter 21 of the Saga-that's-probably-boring-for-most-but-useful-info-for-some ....Hi Alex, good to hear from you,Three drives gone on you? Jeez, what do you do to them? All that overclocking maybe ... perhaps you make them red hot and they melt, LOL.Where I am at now is despite talking to Compaq support online four times, CompUSA's tech people and researching various third party HD websites, I am a little wiser but not much. My computer is only two years old - and I only bought it just over a year ago - but of course now CompUSA say they have no compatibility information about it because it is no longer a current model on their shelves. Grrrr... that really makes me mad, particularly when they sold it to me and when they have the potential to make a new sale. Ah well. They did tell me that I could only use an EIDE drive, all of which have the same fitting (?) as Serial ATA drives as sold today supersede my model. Any experience on this issue?Compaq themselves would only give me info about their original manufacturer's equipment, of course, which is three times the price of say, Maxtor or Western Digital's stuff online, but at least it shows me I CAN add a drive. So I guess what I will now do is:1. Order another 80GB 7,200RPM drive from one of these guys. 8MB or 2MB buffer? I dunno. Do you?2. Remove the original drive. Fit new one. Stick in Compaq Quick Restore disk and format to original factory spec with Windows XP.3. Replace original drive as second drive. Use, or copy, data that's on it, ignoring the operating system on it.Will this work in your experience? Or will the motherboard go silly if I remove the original drive or anything? I have no idea what all the interfaces are. CompUSA want to charge me $130+++ just to fit a new drive but surely it can't be that difficult?Further comments grovellingly appreciated. I haven't been able to work or fly for three days already, and I'm not there yet.Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumonthttp://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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MikeIf Compaq fit it and make a mess then they will have to sort it out (and pay for it). In some ways that makes some economic sense provided they are going to set it all up properly so that you are put back in the same position you were before the failure rather than just slot a drive in, when $130 is a lot of money to pay for that. Your local computer store would do it for a lot less. I know my local store which is small (don't use PCWorld and the like) fit for free but that is the advantage of using a family run business.Rather than use Compaq's restore disk why not get, if funds allow, a pukka copy of XP so that you can do repairs if necessary. If you did this and used a new drive then everything would be set up as new and the system would sort what drives and peripherals there are.Bill

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<<>>That's tempting, now you mention it. I wouldn't be burdened by all those stupid "Welcome to Presario World" start-up screens and endless free offers for ISPs I don't want, you're right. And a fresh, clean version might save me all the probs I have with this bundled system in the first place, I guess. It's never run as well as my old Win98 system. Trouble is, upgrades are expensive enough at $100 but a virgin version (because it won't recognise any previous operating system, will it) is probably a lot more. Need to check.It's not Compaq quoting me $130 labour to fit a hard drive ... it's CompUSA. See no point going to a Compaq service center as they will only fit their own brand stuff.Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumonthttp://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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Hi Mark,$130 to fit a hard drive is quite steep. Have a look inside your computer, and see where the HD slots are, how they're connected, and then assess, if you really wouldn't want to do it yourself.As to the 8MB buffer, this will allow for quicker access of the data on the HD, which could improve performance in applications that access a lot of files from your HD (i.e. it's a little bit faster at getting the stuff into your RAM, but please don't expect some magic fps hike :)).But before you go out and get your new HD, I strongly recommend, that you double-check if the Compaq rescue disc really doesn't include an option to repair your Windows installation. Don't expect too much help on that from their customer service, though. *Rant mode on* I've now lived in Canada for two years and have found the attitude towards customer service in North America (US included) absolutely appalling. I call it the 'p*ss you off, rip you off' attitude. According to any service sector employee (public or private, makes no difference), getting what you want will involve being inconvenienced and invariably lead to you having to spend more money. I could give you countless examples, but suffice to say this attitude prevails in all types of institutions I've had the displeasure of dealing with, from government agencies to banks, phone and cable companies to computer shops, booksellers and academic institutions down to supermarkets, and even providers of most basic services, like coffee shops. I have now learned to work on the presumption that anything a service sector employee tells me is false. *Rant mode off*So, basically, now is a good time for you to learn a bit on how your computer works - it will save you a lot of money in the future :)Cheers,Gosta.http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg

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LOL Gosta, I like your perspective! What you say is exspecially true of the big computer retailers. Most of the time what one hears from them is exactly what will make a sale... not what will solve a problem.Mark... I also agree with Gosta's recommendation that you fit a second drive yourself. I would be surprised if your Compaq discs will be of any use to you (had some experience with their stuff in the past). You can go online to buy a 80Gb hardrive w/8mb cache for less than $90.00. I just checked newegg.com, and their price for a WD drive is $82.00. Now here's the best part... if you buy the drive from them you can purchase an OEM full install disc of WinXP for $100.00. Then you will own XP (which you should already, seeing as how you paid for it when you bought your computer. But that is another issue entirely).What he says about now being the time to learn more about your computer is right on the money!! You can add the second drive. And if you have problems, you know you can come here and gain plenty of help.$130.00 at CompUSA to install a the new hard drive? Not me!!! If they screw it up you're still no where. Even if they give you a guarantee that they'll do it right, where will you be if the muck it up? No better off than you are right now.Good luck,

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