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How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting the easy way

How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting the easy way

How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting the easy way

Corrupted registry? Google search for help only led you to this Microsoft support article. This at best is hard and tiresome, at worst impossible for most basic users. Well here is a quicker and easier way of fixing a corrupted registry in Windows XP using an Ubuntu live CD, which can also be used if Windows Recovery Console is not accepting your Administrator password. This is for advanced users only, if you're a basic computer user it's always best to ask for help from someone that knows what they are doing... Symptoms of a corrupted registry in Windows XP (as taken from the Microsoft support site) When you try to start or restart your Windows XP-based computer, you may receive one of the following error messages:

Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SOFTWARE Stop: c0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate System error: Lsass.exe When trying to update a password the return status indicates that the value provided as the current password is not correct.

How to recover a corrupted registry using a Ubuntu live CD Part 1 Boot your computer using an Ubuntu live CD. To do this download the Ubuntu CD image, burn it to CD and then boot your computer from this CD. This will start your computer up into a Linux desktop that in running from the CD without changing your system, from here you can start fixing your registry files.

Ubuntu live CD download http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download How to make the CD https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto How to boot from CD https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootFromCD

Hopefully you can download and make this CD on the computer you are online reading this on, if not try asking a friend with internet access and a CD writer to download and make the CD for you. Part 2 In Ubuntu you are going to make a backup of the corrupted registry files and then replace them with copies from the system snapshots that windows makes each time a change is made to your system i.e. when windows updates or software are installed. These are known as restore points. 1. Open up the hard drive with your windows install on it: At the top of your Ubuntu desktop is your menu bar with three drop down menus (Applications, Places and System). Open Places and look for your hard drive, it should have a hard drive icon and be called after the size of the drive so if your hard drive size is 80GB then name of the drive will be 80GB Media 2. Make a backup of the corrupted registry files: Make a new folder called "tmp" in .\windows\system32\config\ and copy these files into the new folder:

\windows\system32\config\system \windows\system32\config\software \windows\system32\config\sam \windows\system32\config\security \windows\system32\config\default

Then delete the originals. 3. Restore a copy of your registry files from system snapshots / restore points: Open the System Volume Information folder which is at the same level as the Windows folder. In this folder there will be a folder that looks like this "_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}" There may be one or more folders starting with "RPx" under this folder (where x is a number). These are Windows restore points.

An example of this path is "\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot"

Look for the highest numbered "RPx" folder this should be your last restore point from before your registry got corrupted. Now from the Snapshot folder under this "RPx" folder, copy the following files into \windows\system32\config\

_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM

Now rename these files:

Rename _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT to DEFAULT Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY to SECURITY Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM to SAM

Now reboot your computer, remove the live CD and Windows should be working. Notes: Remember This is for advanced users only, if you're a basic computer user its always best to ask for help from someone that knows what they're doing...   If you have any problems at this point use an earlier restore point just to get back into windows and use the System Restore to restore to a previous RestorePoint as outlined at the end of this Microsoft support article. This guide is done using Ubuntu but it should work with any Linux live CD that can access a NTFS drive.

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18 Comments
Community Gaffer
Cunning!
Seasoned Pro
Whilst you've got the live CD loaded, why not use it to evaluate Ubuntu?
Bear in mind that Linux is case sensitive. The files listed above are named SYSTEM SAM DEFAULT SOFTWARE and SECURITY.
I'm stuck... i don't seem to have any rights?! I use Knoppix (livecd linux). When i try to delete the files as mentioned i get an error that i do not have these rights. Any ideas? Many thanks for this help! It gives a person courage!
Dabbler
this link should help you http://lifehacker.com/software/disk-recovery/geek-to-live--rescue-files-with-a-boot-cd-192982.php or try running Konqueror as root (from a console sudo Konqueror)
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[...] 4 hours of trail-and-error with different people’s solutions.  I came across this wonderful solution.  Using my other laptop, I burned the ubuntu Live CD and booted it up.  The rest of smooth [...]
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[...] 4 hours of trail-and-error with different people’s solutions.  I came across this wonderful solution.  Using my other laptop, I burned the Ubuntu Live CD and booted it up.  The rest of smooth [...]
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Tried a Windows Service Pack 3 install on Friday the 13th... I kid you not! Guess what happended? Yep! Endless reboots and a 'broken PC'. This solution worked first time :-)
Rj
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This is awesome. I too used Knoppix . Worked like a charm after I figured out you had to right click on the mounted windows drive and change the write permissions.
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This guide is GRRREEAT, thanks for the help!!!
Excellent tip, as the dvd doesnt work (an old laptop with no usb boot) I took the drive out and accessed it via a usb2ide cable ... your fix worked perfectly! Thanks
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[...] Use a live cd such as bartpe ot UBCD, then boot on this cd. http://community.plus.net/blog/2008/...-the-easy-way/ Use Last Known Good Configuration To use the Last Known Good Configuration feature, first restart [...]
Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy wow this actually worked i did everything exactly as it said in the article after looking at countless other sites and then i found this one and thought what have i got to lose and it was NOTHING! brill solution very smart and easy even for those not that computer literate
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[...] do repair. Or he has to download from a link and burn and goes on. Or he can use a live linux cd http://community.plus.net/blog/2008/...-the-easy-way/ Bartpe 9.9 has also a minywindows xp on it. So he can boot on bartpe and choose mini windows xp [...]
Can this solution work on vista? Feedback would be much appreciated
Grafter
@VistaUser, as yet we don't have any solutions for this on vista.
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Thanks for this, I just used this fix to repair a Asus Eee PC that had This error "Stop: c0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate" Worked perfectly. Thanks heaps.
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Absolutely fantastic. Saved me a a big headache.