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Windows System restore with Ubuntu disk. windows system32/config/sytem or /software or corrupt hive file errors.   

Hey so you don't have a regular Windows XP disk and you don't have any way of getting or making one. You get an error at boot up like...
Windows could not start. Missing c:\windows\sytem32\config\system or  c:\windows\sytem32\config\software.
If Windows system restore was on at the time of failure then: No problem! If it really is just one of these files that has become corrupt you can replace them manually from your Windows System Restore folder using Ubuntu. Its a form of Linux. Below are step by step instructions that should help you through the process.

 This information is supplied without warranty. It can help if done correctly. Use at your own risk. If this Fixes your problem please give $2 with paypal link at the bottom of this article.

Don't forget to listen to your computer to see if it has the "Clunk of death" in the hard drive before starting any windows repairs.

Recovering from a corrupt hive, windows system32/config file errors or even some registry stop errors like c0000218 can be easy if you know how to get into system restore without windows being able to load. In an earlier help page I wrote about using a windows xp disk and using the recovery console to restore the registry.

This time I am using an Ubuntu disk to do a manual system restore. I have done this several times since I like to try what I post on the site. The Ubuntu disk will let you get to your files without putting your hard drive into another machine to move the restore files.

First you need to have or make an Ubuntu disk. The Ubuntu disk will give you a bootable CD to boot your system with. Visit here
(this link opens a new window so you wont loose this one) to download and get instructions on how to build your Ubuntu disk.

After you create the disk you will need to make sure your system with the corrupt version of windows boots to your CD or DVD drive first. If you don't know how to do this, click here and read the first part of this previous article.

Power up the corrupt computer and put the Ubuntu disk in it. Hit the reset button so your computer reboots to the Ubuntu disk.

Your system should boot to a page with two choices.

The first is a Try It! option and the second is an Install It! option. DO NOT USE THE "INSTALL IT!" option.  Click on the "Try It!" option. This will take you directly to the Ubuntu Desktop.

Your task bar is on the left of the Ubuntu Desktop. Find the red folder that says "Home" and click it.
A word of caution here. Do not click the button that is above Home because that will start the install process for Ubuntu. You do not want to install Ubuntu.)

A window will open kind of like Windows Explorer.
On the left pane of the window towards the top you should see your drives.
Click on your windows drive and Ubuntu will mount the drive and show you what is on the drive.
 If you see more than one drive and cant tell what one has windows on it then open one and look for a folder that says windows. If you don't see it then close that one and open the other and look for the windows folder. Once you see the windows folder you will know you have the correct drive.

For this article we will assume your windows operating system is on the C: drive. 

Now open the folder that says System Volume Information.

You will now see a folder that says _restore{bunch of numbers and letters} open that folder.
You may see several folders here, I had four of them. I opened each one till I found the one with a large amount of restore points as described in the next section.)

This is your system restore folder. You should see folders that say RPxxx RP stands for Restore Point and then there will be a number next to the RP. In the system I'm working with to write this article there are many restore points.  Many older machines will have restore points in the triple digit range. Rule of thumb is to use the second to the last restore point. You can go back and use an earlier restore point if the one you choose doesn't work for you.

Open the restore point you wish to use for your recovery.

Now open the folder that says snapshot. In this folder you will find many files. the files you are interested in are




I will guess that if your this deep you know how to copy and paste.
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM and Right click on the file.
You should see a menu come up and then regular (left) click on copy.

Now look in the menu bar on the left of your screen and at the bottom of the icons you should see one that looks like a hard drive.

Click it and it will open up a new window for your drive.

Open the
windows folder
Open the system32 folder (This may open really slowly)
Open the config folder

You will notice that there are several files named system and also several that say software. The ones we are concerned with are the ones that don't have a file extension listed after the file name. ie: System (not System.bak etc.)

Some people say you can just change the file extension of the .bak files of system and software files that are already in the config folder, but the .bak files may not work as well as the ones in the RP files. They normally don't work at all when I have tried to use them. My suggestion is to just use the ones from the RP folder.

Now Right click on the file that says
system and click move to trash. Be patient it will take a minute or two for Ubuntu to delete the file.

Right click an empty spot in the area where the system file was and paste the _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM  file into the config folder and rename it
Again you may have to wait while the file is renamed.

Now repeat the copy and paste process with the
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE    file remembering to delete the old software file before you rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE.

You should now be able to close the windows that are open.
Right click on the lower logo that is on the left panel representing your hard drive and click Unmount Drive.
Go to the upper right corner of the desktop and click on the little gear next to the clock.
Click Shut Down.
Ubuntu will give you a choice of Restart or Shut down. Click on Restart.
Ubuntu will go through the shut down process and then kick out the CD tray.
Remove the cd and hit the enter key.
Your computer should restart and if everything went well the computer should start to windows like it is supposed to.
If not you can go through this process again and try an earlier restore point.

Once again I remind you that once you have recovered your system you need to check your drive with software that can detect a bad drive. No sense in having the thing working again and have it quit after your repair. Better to know the drive is bad and replace it than go through all this just to have the drive die and loose it all again.

I hope this helps. Good luck.   

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