Fix for \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM missing or corrupted


Hello everybody we often used to see the following error message when we turn on or system.

“Windows could not start because the following files is missing or corrupt

But we have a easy fix for this. lets check the steps to be performed if we face that problem in our system.

Step 1 : Insert and boot from your Windows XP CD

Step 2 : At the first R=Repair option, press the R key

Step 3 : Press the number that corresponds to the correct location for the installation of Windows you want to repair. Typically this will be #1

Step 4 : Enter in the administrator password when requested

Step 5 : cd \windows\system32\config

Step 6 : Depending on which section was corrupted:
ren software software.bak or ren system system.bak

Step 7 : Depending on which section was corrupted
copy \windows\repair\system
copy \windows\repair\software

Step 8 : Take out the CD ROM and type exit


~ by ramanathan on October 21, 2007.

104 Responses to “Fix for \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM missing or corrupted”

  1. This is a very bad idea. I had this exact error message. I went through the steps and I got the blue screen of death–even worse! So I tried to go back to using the repair console and now it wants an administrator password–which there has never been a password before. So now I’m locked out of repair console. Just use the “official” method–

  2. Hi Friend, i understand the situation very well. but you should understand some thing the resolution given here did not guide to delete the Security or the sam file in the same folder. your Passwords are saved only in these files.. but the resolution only guides to replace the Software or the System file which will not delete the password.. so you can very well get inside recovery console without any problem until u did not delete Sam and Security files.

    Still the link will help others to use the official method also…

    I really Appreciate your Comments…!!!

    • i tried ur formular but am no getting a blue screen with this message “hard error, unknown hard error beginging dump physical memory if am booting via safe mode but if its a normal booting its is corrupt config software

  3. every single help thing for this on the web is for windows XP i cant find one for windows 98, someone please help

  4. Well my friend please let us know what help you want regarding to Win 98….????

  5. Thanks Buddy..ur solution worked and ur site is added to my favourites

  6. how can i apply this fix if i do not have a recovery disk/\?

  7. Am I going to lose my pictures and music?

  8. Ok, I have differnet problem with this and any help is appreciated. Working via phone with my sister whose computer started this error after replacing a power supply.

    Our problem is it never sees the window XP disk upon boot-up. Gives us a winfast prompt then ggoes right to the error message?

    The cd does light up when booting and the computer gives her the little beep. We also cannot get it to do anything when hitting F8 during boot up. Any suggestions??


  9. Hi Greg,

    Alter the boot sequence by going to BIOS. try by setting the first boot device to be your optical drive.


  10. Your fix worked like a charm. Took about 4 minutes all together and this machine is quite a bit older.

  11. im on a friend’s computer typing this.

    i dont have the cd, would i be able to use a friend’s xp setup cd?

    i called my friends, but they all lost theirs =(

    is someone willing to let me borrow their’s? buy? i really need to at least recover my files…

  12. Thanks Ramanation, Finally got my hands on the computer. Got to the repairt screen but itnever asked for PW, went straight to DOS prompt. Then would not let me into the path/directory windows\system32\config. Tried everything I know so I am trying to format the drive. Not sure that is going to work I may have bad drive. Thanks again

  13. Thanks a lot Ramanathan! I got the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM corrupted problem. I tried your method, only had to copy the system file from \windows\repair folder. Windows XP then boot up OK.
    By the way, The computer is running Windows XP Home, but I can used XP Pro CD to repair it.

  14. No Issues Godwin…!! you can use the win xp pro cd to get into the recovery console…!!

  15. it worked greata for after several other tries using different sites… thank you

  16. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! After many attempts to fix this either on my own or with “help” from other sites, your idea was quick, easy, and painless. Thanks so much.

  17. Ramanathan,

    I get the system error instead of the software error. After pressing 1, I am never prompted for the adminstrator password. Also when entering ren system system.bak I get “file not found” However ren software software.bak works fine. what could be the problem

  18. Hi Neil

    No issues…!! Just follow Step 7…!!

  19. Ramanathan,

    still no luck. WHen gettin to step 2. I also have a number 2 option listed as D:\minint. SHould I perform the steps using that partition?

  20. i have this problem and theres no repair option , on the disk or pc. what the heck do i do?

  21. thx, ramanathan. .

    it works in my pc. .

  22. i have the same problem..but the thing is i’m not getting
    “R” as in repair in the beginning when u have to edit it…all i’m getting format and other stuff…help

  23. thank you very much it helps.

  24. Well ur fix got me to the windows startup screen but then I just get a black screen. Any ideas now?

  25. Thank you very much Ramanathan!After struggling to repair the system I came across your post. It was so easy and quick.Now my system is back up and I have access to my files again.
    Thanks again, you saved the day!

  26. Is there a risk that I will loose my photos and other important files when I try this solution?

  27. Every time I try this I get an error saying that the directory could not be found. I tried just typing “dir” and it says an error occurred while it was enumerating the hard disk.

    Does this mean that my hdd is dead or what?

  28. What if you have an OEM version of xp home and only have a recovery DVd -it did not come with origianl program cds?

  29. helo ..

    juz insert the xp CD got to R option in
    c:> type chkdsk c: will fix the problem guys


  30. Problem: i insert the recovery disk and it is not recognized. Before the problem i attempted to install Kubuntu 8.04 inside of windows when the computer shut off on mo. Not only is the KDM ( kubuntu display manager) missing but system 32 as well. so upon boot up i get the select OS menu and no repair or format even with the disk in. I really need a solution with school coming up.

  31. I have inserted CD into my disc drive. But nothing coming up in regard to entering the windows setup. I just left with the screen saying corrupt file. How do I get the CD to start up?? Thanks

  32. ok. I got up to the step of putting in adminstartor password. I dunno what the password is. Is there any other way to get pass this??

  33. great help fixed it perfectly. big thanks

  34. Hello!

    How would I go about getting it fix. I have a sony vaio vgn-ax580g which does not have a cd-rom drive nor do i have the xp cd. the laptop is running on windows media center edition 2005.

    Thanks in advance!

  35. Fixed it in one go. I was so affraid my disk was corrupt. But this work great. Only had to replace the System file.

  36. On Step 7 it says to copy the system or software file. I get a file not found error. Am I missing something

  37. hey I have lastxp installed and i have a 40gb seageate and another type 80gb hard disk. The Xp is installed on the 40gb but I get the problem System32/config/system missing or corrupted i have formatted and reinstalled xp but after some time i still get the same problem
    PS. when i move the power cable on the hard disk it spins some times it doesn’t so i have to find the pos of the cable so that the hard disk works?

  38. Thx , very help 😉

  39. i recommend using this fix for the system error only. I had problem with the software and lost all my documents. it worked though.

  40. but now my system is on a continuous reboot. aster the windows xp first intro page it rebbots before goin to desktop…please help

  41. I’m looking everywhere, on every web site and they all say the same thing.. after i press “r” i don’t get the numbered menu except i get ” press ‘R’ for standard gateway system recovery options. you will boot into the recovery partition or on cd if no recovery partition is found.
    Press ‘q’ to quit and to boot the OS on hard disk.”

    Then after pushing r it just asks me how i want to restore my computer..

    i dont want to restore my computer!

  42. I did your repair I got all the way to ren part then the copy part now it says overwrite system? (yes/no/all) do I want to overwrtie system???

  43. I cant find the fucking CD. I have 2 systems in my PC XP proffessional and Media center edition. Can i download the System file from the internet and copy it to the config?

  44. thanks if it doesnt work im gonna be really mad and than im gonna pk so many noobs on runescape

  45. can i use usb driver???? my comp cant insert cd….

  46. i got another option that works most of the time but you will need a second com[uter to do it. 1)remove the hard drive from the bad computer and install it as a d: drive into the other computer. 2) boot up the other computer and log in as someone that has administrative rights. 3) go to cmd prompt and run “chkdsk d:” 4) run regedit, click on the HKLM key then click “file/load hive” 5) browse to “D:\windows\system32\config” and open the file “system”. you will get a message that states it repaired a corrupt key or had to replace it from a backup. 6) exit regedit, shut down computer and reinstall drive in origional computer. when you boot computer it may reinstall some hardware, but that is better than not having a working computer. Keep in mind that the drive can be going bad and this solution may be a short fix. if this works for you i recomend a backup just in case the drive fails again

  47. i have no cd how can i fix it

  48. sucks all the config of my windows has gone!
    maybe the files are there but now all my progs and installs is shit
    all the drivers are gone and more stuff..
    all the connections configs gone.. all XP is now in big problem !

  49. bad

  50. thank you very much my friend.. it helps me a lot…..

  51. what if your laptop does not have a disk drive

  52. This worked great. Saved my life ;o)


  53. I hope someone can answer this. I have the Windows XP disc, and before it gets to the Welcome to Setup screen, it crashes before I can enter “R”. What does this mean, what should I do? Thanks

  54. It crashes actually right before it says setup is starting Windows.

  55. Thank you verymuch Mr. Rmamanathan. Its helps me a lots..
    Keep it up.

  56. I tried your simple fix on SYSTEM and it worked fine 🙂

    After the fix, I had to re-install some drivers (video, sound, etc) and then everything was restored.

    Thank you very much!


  57. after i enter R, its says Please Power On you hd

  58. setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer ! 😦

  59. Have a system32\config\system error on my laptop, running Windows XP, need set-up cd which like most people I no longer have, any help to get system up and running would be really appreciated as my laptop has all my course work stored on. Can I download a disc to USB flash drive ?

  60. worked like a charm! thanks lots =)

  61. thanks a lot…….!

  62. gr8888888888888888. lots of thxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  63. my computer says missing or corrupt system 32 i dont have the recovery cd what can i do

  64. To everyone who is like, “I did this, but now it wants an admin password. There never was one,” if there never was one, there isn’t one after the repair! Just hit “Enter”!

  65. Good Bless U safe mylife i think now i can enter winxp and into the file checking error page.. thax

  66. Amazing, Worked like a magic, Thanks so much

  67. heey, my notebook has this promlem.
    but, its a toshiba nb200, and you cant insert CD’s. there is no where to put it ? can you please help me with this.
    thank you 🙂

  68. Thank u very much , it solved my problem ,thanks teacher !!!

  69. LEGEND!

  70. Getting the same error message on my netbook that does not have a cd drive to put a cd in for a fix.

    Any advice?

    • How about connecting a usb cd drive? or u need a bootable usb pen drive atleast… not necessary it should be xp… it can also be a win 7 pen drive..

  71. Hi there, i’m getting this message on my computer; but when i tried to go to bios it said no files found.

  72. have same error message – but don’t have a windows xp cd – what else can i do?

  73. when i put the recovery disk in it doesn’t start the disk when i reboot the computer? it just keeps showing the System Error Message ???

    any ideas?

  74. ok i changed the boot sequence to start with cd and now when i strike any key to boot from cd it goes to blue screen of death! 😦

    the error message is:
    STOP: 0X0000007E (OXCOOOOOO5, OXF748E0BF, OXF78DA208, 0XF78D9F08)

    pci.sys – Address F748E)BF base at F7487000, DATESTAMP 3b7d855c

    any help would be greatly appreciated!

  75. followed instructions up to step 3, typed 1 when requested to choose which installation I wanted to log onto (windows installation 1: C:\WINDOWS) and nothing happens; tried pressing 1 ENTER, still nothing. What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions?

  76. thanks….but no input on the blue screen error?

  77. dear
    i need to be repair windows xp cruppted files but i need not lossing my pc drivers and sofwares no need for reinstallation these how can i process my repairing, thanks

  78. worked completely fine on a DEll inspiron 1100 series. thankyou very much

  79. THANX A LOT…………..

  80. Good day to u, concerning your tutorial on how to recover corrupt or missing registry when windows refuse to start, when i got to step three and entered 1, nothing happened, i was not promted for any admin password. What do i do?

  81. I entered my administrative password and it tells me its invalid. What do i do pls?

  82. brief history. Dell Dimension E521 computer. received the C000218 error. ran chkdsk no luck. Followed instruction from microsoft Article 307545, however received message system file cannot be found, so upon exploring view the dir for c:\windows\system32\config and noticed the system file was missing, system file was also not in the repair dir. there was a system.bak file so i copied it and renamed the system.bak to system. No i really messed things up cuz now i am getting the lsass.exe error and it is asking for a password to get into the recovery console when it never has before. please help

  83. very bad idea it is not successfull for in this case,

  84. 100% Working ………………
    Thanks Brother…….

  85. what if i dont have the xp cd ?


  87. Thanks a ton.
    1st time in my life, I repaired a windows ‘file missing’ error. I used to reinstall the windows.

  88. thanks

  89. What does OSRI… mean?

  90. Thanks for the 8 steps. This is the only website whose step works. Thanks again for the step so that I could fix my problem

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