System Restore is assumed to be the best method to recover the system from Registry or System file errors. Its easy to perform and is effective, no doubt. But what happens when the system doesn't even boot to the desktop, neither in Normal mode, nor in Safe Mode. How do you do a System Restore then. For Vista and Win 7 users, its a piece of cake, since the WinRE provides them the direct option to System Restore from the installation/repair CD. But what for the XP users?
The following method is very useful and serves as a bliss for Windows XP users to recover their system from crashes due to Registry or System file failures. All you need for the method is a Windows XP installation CD. (This is not a re-installation process. All data and settings are intact after the operation.)
Step 1: Boot to the Recovery Console
Step 2: Accessing the Restore points.
- Insert the Windows XP CD into the computer.
- Turn the computer off.
- Setup the computer to boot from cd: either by pressing F2, F9 or Delete to go in BIOS and changing the boot sequence or by pressing F12 on Dell computers to launch the Boot Device Menu.
- As soon as you get the message 'Press any key to boot from the cd', hit enter.
- Wait for the Windows Setup to initialize
- At the Welcome to Setup screen press R to repair windows using recovery console.
- You will be prompted to choose a Windows installation. Press 1 on the top of the keyboard and then press Enter.
- You will be prompted to enter the Administrator password. Press Enter if no password was set.
Type the following commands in the Recovery Console.cd system~1
If you get an Access Denied error:
- Type the following commands to change the directory to c:windowssystem32config:
- Rename the system branch of the registry. That will allow us to access the system restore folder from inside the Recovery Console. In case the process fails and you want to perform a Windows Repair you will need to rename system.bak to system again.
ren system system.bak
- Type exit to leave the recovery console and to restart the computer.
- Go back into the Recovery Console and repeat Step 2.
If the _resto~1 folder exists, inside it there are several folders named RP1, RP2. These are restore points. RP1 is the oldest restore point. You can use dir
to view what RP folders are available. If there is no _resto~1 folder or if there are no restore points inside it:
Step 3: Choose the most convenient RP folder.
- Type the following commands:
copy c:\windows\repair\system system
- If you are getting a file not found error try:
copy c:\windows\repair\system.bak system
- Then type the following :
- copy c:\windows\repair\security security
- copy c:\windows\repair\software software
- copy c:\windows\repair\sam sam
- copy c:\windows\repair\default default
- You will be able to boot into a altered version of the operating system. Backup your files from the c:Documents and Settings folder and then reinstall the operating system.
Supposing we have RP3 available let's type in:cd rp3
Change the directory to snapshot:cd snapshotStep 4: Restore the main registry branches.
If you are being asked if you want to overwrite type in y to agree.copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software
The following commands are most of the time optional however the process might not work if they are not executedcopy _registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy _registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy _registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default
Type exit to reboot the system. Start the computer normally.