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System file corrupt and CD Drive doesn't work to run Install CD

Hi I have an Acer Aspire 3000 series laptop which has just recently broke down. When I turn it on it starts to boot up but very soon gets the error..."Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
My only option is to shut down or re-start the computer. I've tried running it in safe mode and most recent sucessful restore point but I still get the same error. The advice that is given when the error comes up is to put the install disk into the cd drive and try to restore it
from there, I however have a problem. The CD drive doesn't work. when a cd is placed into the drive you can hear it start to wind up but it always seems to stumble, the CD drive tries to start again a few times before giving up.
Is there possibly something easily fixable in the CD drive that I can do myself or an alternative method to get into the system and repair the above file. The resources I have available are a usb flash drive, the use of a usb harddrive and the use of another laptop.
NOTE: purchasing any new hardware is not an option at present.
I appreciate any help given.
John Curwood

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First: Boot into safe mode on "bad" laptop...

Open a command window...
(start, run, "cmd.exe", <enter>)
At the command prompt, type:
It will probably say something about cannot lock the volume, do you want me to schedule a disk check at next startup? Say yes and reboot...


Does the other laptop work, and does it have a functioning CD drive?


Copy the I386 directory of the XP install CD to the USB Hard Drive using the working laptop.

Then, boot "bad" laptop into safe mode.
Plug USB HDD into "bad lapttop", hope it is recognized and copy the I386 directory to the c:\ drive.
After the copy is complete, run


Choose upgrade if you wish, but I'd have the program replace the existing windows installation. Leave the HDD as is if asked, do NOT format it. This way, you can navigate around and find your "old" data on the HDD after Windows has finished installing.

Have your installation Key/Serial No. at the ready.

Posted on Mar 09, 2009

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