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insert original win installation cd and reboot... when in boot mode make sure you are booting from CD, not from disk, when message asking that you "boot up from cd " appears, just press any key, and folow procedure, but do not install a new copy of windows ! There must be "repair your computer" option on your CD, for Win Xp - it is "recovery console" ! When repairing finishes restart computer and boot from disk (just do not press anything when you see message "boot from CD..." and let windows from HDD configure it self).
OK, lets go back to front.
Download the Hirens boot disc iso and burn to a cd. This has a utility to remove the password.
The missing system file is one of the registry hives. Connect the drive to another pc as a slave drive. This will allow you to look at the content and make the necessary changes.
Navigate to e:windows\system32\config (e: is the drive out of your pc that doesn't work) folder and rename the system file to something like system.old. Then navigate to e:windows\repair and copy the system file and paste it into e:windows\system32\config.
The file name you're looking for is simply called system, not system.bak or system.log, just system.
Put the drive back into the pc it came from and turn on. It shoul work but you may find that some programs may be missing or might not work as the system registry hive we've just copied may be quite old.
On start up press F8, you get different boot options listed.
Select "last known good configuration" If this doesn't work, try "boot into Safe Mode". Then restart once safe mode loads.
If neither of these work, you may have to attempt a "repair" of windows. Get a Windows Vista Operating system disk (same version of Vista, Home or Premium). 1. Boot from it (put it in CD drive and restart the laptop). 2. If you still get the same problem start up, you need to set the laptop to boot from CD. 3. Restart laptop, press Delete key or F2, or F12 (it should say one of these on the screen) to enter the Setup. or another key to get "boot options" 4. In Setup (BIOS) Use Right Arrow to find the Boot Options. Use the instructions to move the CD-ROM to first position, above HDD (hard drive). Press Esc, then F10 to save your changes and exit. 5. The Windows Setup CD Rom should now run. It should come to a screen where you are asked to press R to repair windows. 6. When it comes to the command prompt, restart the laptop Hopefully the laptop should boot OK again.
type f8 at startup and try last known configuration. if that doesnt work then safe mode. If that doesnt work then try to find a duplicate file (backup), try to find file with dos console - go to windows/system32 and type dir ntoskrnl*.* so youll find out if there was maybe a copy of this file.
IF you HAVE a Fast PC then sometimes its easier to install a fresh copy of windows, then to search for such errors.
Borrow an XP install disk from anyone. Since you are not installing a new copy you don't need a keycode or serial number.
I am willing to bet however that you are going to need to do a re-install having lost this file to corruption. The source of the corruption is the unseen elephant in the room. Be aware that if you can get the computer running move any personal files to new new folder on the C drive. One that you create and not in 'My Documents' or any other windows created folder. When re-installing windows any/all windows folders are deleted and new, empty ones are created resulting in your loss of everything.
1. Boot the laptop;
2. press F12 to go to boot menu;
3. Selected CD/DVD-RW Drive;
4. Press any key to boot to CD; worked fine...
5. Press R to repair;
6. At the recovery console, selected 1: C:\WINDOWS and hit enter;
7. This brought me to C:\WINDOWS> prompt;
8. Typed this C:\WINDOWS> EXPAND -R D:\I386\c_437.nl_ C:\WINDOWS\system32\c_437.nls
9. And got the error message: The parameter is not valid. Try /? for help.
IF the disk is in the D drive then use this command instead: expand d:\i386\c_437.nl_
The error: Window could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt; WINDOWS\SYSEM32\config\system
You can attempt to repair this file by loading the Win CD into your cdrom drive. Start the PC & press the F5 key every 2 seconds & windows boot menue will load.
Choose the cdrom drive that has the Windows CD in.
Select "r" at the first screen to start repair.
Once back in windows run a full system virus scan.