Question about Dell Inspiron 6400 Notebook

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On March 9, 2009 a FixYa user marketing282 submitted the same problem that I am having but the solution given by ButtFuzz did not work. I have an out-of-warranty Dell Inspiron 6400. 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: WINDOWSSYSTEM32CONFIGSYSTEM'' 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. I have tried to use a USB memory stick to copy the i386 directory like ButtFuzz submitted but since I can't get into Windows I can't read the stick to copy it.

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I don't suppose you ever installed the recovery console on your system, did you? When you power on, do you see an option before the advanced startup menu to boot either windows xp or recovery console? If so, you could run the repairs from there. See this article.for the ms knowledge base guide to recover a corrupted registry.
Have you gone into the bios to see whether you can set the system to boot from a usb hdd or cd drive? That would work, if you don't need drivers installed to do so. You could pick up a cheap external usb cd drive and run the recovery console from there.
Otherwise, check and see that the cd drive is being properly detected in bios. (See here.)
Are you saying you can boot into safe mode? No, I think not. Or you could then try running chkdsk to check the hard drive for corruption. You might luck out and discover it was able to repair the affected files. Instructions here and here.
Well, see this article about recovery console. I don't know whether you could attempt to install it using combofix and the xpsp3 download in safe mode with networking. I've never tried that. Not workable in your situation, I think, but that's an idea, at least...
You might have to bite the bullet and replace that cd drive. A local tech shop might have one laying about, or you may find one refurbished or used on ebay that would serve...
Not a quick fix, but it would work...
Enough rambling...Maybe someone else will have a better idea for you.
Good luck.

Posted on Sep 06, 2009

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