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Broken computer...


Jonnycake
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So, my parents computer recently....well decided it would become dead.

Okay, so the error I get at startup is:

Windows could not start because \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM is missing or corrupt.

So, obviously I figure I'll just throw in a linux live cd and start up and get the files off of them that we need backed up, but here is the problem - the cd drive is broken as well (which I didn't know until about an hour trying to figure out why the live cd wouldn't start). This means that I can't replace that file or get any files off of it since I have no access. I would use a flash drive but I have no idea how to get it to start up off of it.

My question is: is there any way I can get the files off?

Theory: Mount the internal hard drive as an external hard drive on a seperate computer and backup the important files - will this work?

If not, how else could I get the files off if at all?

Thanks in advance.

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Yup, putting that internal HDD into an enclosure and connecting it to another computer will absolutely work, provided it's just windows that's gotten messed up and there is nothing structurally wrong with the drive.

You could also set the jumper setting to slave and put it into the working computer internally if you don't have an enclosure handy.

You may also want to look into having some recovery tools ready in case your machine recognizes the drive, but you are unable to browse the files due to corruption. I've had a lot of luck with something like this: http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm, and you probably want to have it installed on the working computer before you connect the other one, as every time you access a corrupted drive, you run the risk of overwriting files.

Good luck!!

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Thank you so much, I'm gonna try it tomorrow, I hope it works, if not I'll be back.

Edit:

BTW, I think it is just windows that got messed up because we recently had a virus and that's what I think messed up the file.

When I get the files off I'm gonna try to figure out if the virus is what deleted/corrupted the file with some reverse engineering :D *dances around happily at his chance to experiment* :P

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Thank you so much, I'm gonna try it tomorrow, I hope it works, if not I'll be back.

Edit:

BTW, I think it is just windows that got messed up because we recently had a virus and that's what I think messed up the file.

When I get the files off I'm gonna try to figure out if the virus is what deleted/corrupted the file with some reverse engineering :D *dances around happily at his chance to experiment* :P

In that case, when you log into the working computer, make sure that you either have an antivirus installed, or are not logged in to an administrator account. Or both :).

When you boot the drive, if you can see the files, hit it with an AV to clean it up while its in isolation before you bring the files over, that way you don't infect your good computer too.

You may also want to use Unstoppable Copier, as you can do source="external drive", destination="folder on working computer hdd", and it will also attempt to copy and repair damaged files as well.

Let us know how it goes!

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Is this the IE8 boot.ini thing?

Sounds more like a borked registry, as thats what those files are for in the folder, "WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\".

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In that case, when you log into the working computer, make sure that you either have an antivirus installed, or are not logged in to an administrator account. Or both :).

When you boot the drive, if you can see the files, hit it with an AV to clean it up while its in isolation before you bring the files over, that way you don't infect your good computer too.

You may also want to use Unstoppable Copier, as you can do source="external drive", destination="folder on working computer hdd", and it will also attempt to copy and repair damaged files as well.

Let us know how it goes!

Or use a live linux distro.

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just use barts pc

Version 1.03 3-Jan-08 where x: is the XP boot drive

Barts PE

2config = CD to x:\windows32\system\config

2sysvol = CD to x:\System Volume Information

copy1 = copy snapshot files to x:\1

copy2 = copy x:\1 snapshot files to x:\…\config

SetPath = Set path to CD:\XPREGFX automaticly, if not run:

setpath Cddrive where CDdrive is the cdrom Drive letter no colon

1. Barts Menu: GO, Command Prompt (CMD). Prompt will be X:\i386\system32

2. CD \

3. SetPath

4. ?: computer boot drive. Normal C:

5. MD \1 To be used in COPY1

6. 2CONFIG

a. Should be in the registery directory ?:\windows\system32\config

b. MD YYMMDD - Make directory todays date. Where YY=year, MM=month, DD=day

c. COPY *.* YYMMDD - Copy all files to it. Just in case

7. 2sysvol System Volume Information

8. CD _RESTO~1 (normal _resto~1 is only directory, I have see _restor~2 too)

It will be _restore{lots of number}

9. DIR

to find the newest RPxxx directory which is the largest number

10. CD RPxxx remember you can't backspace pass the endline.

11. CD SNAPSHOT If there is no SNAPSHOT directory pick another in step 10 CD .. to go back to 10

12. If you do a DIR you will see_REGISTRY_MACHINE_xxx (4 files) and REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT.

If there is none or one is a zero size go back to step 10 and pick another one.

14. COPY1

COPY registry files to directory \1 you made in step 5

your should have 5 files

DEFAULT

SAM

SECURITY

SOFTWARE

SYSTEM

If you don't your have to use different RPxxx directory. Delete these files first

I save them here because the last thing you do is set back to the last restore point, and I had corrupted restore

points.

15. COPY2 copies the files to the C:\windows\systm32\config folder

16. EXIT

17. RESTART to normal windows.

!YOU MUST GO BACK TO RESTORE POINT, so program and registry match!

18. Click Start and then click All Programs

19. Click Accessories and then click System Tools

20. Click System Restore and then click Restore to a previous Restore Point. The last one created.

21. If it all works then remove C:\1

Restore corruptions I have seen is

1. 5% Bad hard drive or bad memory

2. 5% Virus

3. 10% Adware

4. 80% Unknown

regfix.rar

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just use barts pc

Version 1.03 3-Jan-08 where x: is the XP boot drive

Barts PE

2config = CD to x:\windows32\system\config

2sysvol = CD to x:\System Volume Information

copy1 = copy snapshot files to x:\1

copy2 = copy x:\1 snapshot files to x:\…\config

SetPath = Set path to CD:\XPREGFX automaticly, if not run:

setpath Cddrive where CDdrive is the cdrom Drive letter no colon

1. Barts Menu: GO, Command Prompt (CMD). Prompt will be X:\i386\system32

2. CD \

3. SetPath

4. ?: computer boot drive. Normal C:

5. MD \1 To be used in COPY1

6. 2CONFIG

a. Should be in the registery directory ?:\windows\system32\config

b. MD YYMMDD - Make directory todays date. Where YY=year, MM=month, DD=day

c. COPY *.* YYMMDD - Copy all files to it. Just in case

7. 2sysvol System Volume Information

8. CD _RESTO~1 (normal _resto~1 is only directory, I have see _restor~2 too)

It will be _restore{lots of number}

9. DIR

to find the newest RPxxx directory which is the largest number

10. CD RPxxx remember you can't backspace pass the endline.

11. CD SNAPSHOT If there is no SNAPSHOT directory pick another in step 10 CD .. to go back to 10

12. If you do a DIR you will see_REGISTRY_MACHINE_xxx (4 files) and REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT.

If there is none or one is a zero size go back to step 10 and pick another one.

14. COPY1

COPY registry files to directory \1 you made in step 5

your should have 5 files

DEFAULT

SAM

SECURITY

SOFTWARE

SYSTEM

If you don't your have to use different RPxxx directory. Delete these files first

I save them here because the last thing you do is set back to the last restore point, and I had corrupted restore

points.

15. COPY2 copies the files to the C:\windows\systm32\config folder

16. EXIT

17. RESTART to normal windows.

!YOU MUST GO BACK TO RESTORE POINT, so program and registry match!

18. Click Start and then click All Programs

19. Click Accessories and then click System Tools

20. Click System Restore and then click Restore to a previous Restore Point. The last one created.

21. If it all works then remove C:\1

Restore corruptions I have seen is

1. 5% Bad hard drive or bad memory

2. 5% Virus

3. 10% Adware

4. 80% Unknown

I would say lets get the data off and safe before our friend Jonnycake gets too out of hand :).

@MRGRIM, I'd say that's a pretty good solution too!

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