Fix XP: Windows Could Not Start Because the Following File is Missing Or Corrupt

Fix XP:  So, you attempt to start your Windows XP-based Operating System and the hard drive churns several times and you get the following error message on screen:

Windows Could Not Start Because the Following File is Missing Or Corrupt:


You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows setup using the original setup CD-ROM.
Select ‘r’ at the first screen to start repair.

DON’T BOTHER.  There is a better way.  Basically, the SYSTEM file of the Registry Hive is corrupted.

And the better solution involves some of the steps found in Microsoft Support Article

This involves starting the PC using a Bart’s X-PE (pre-install environment CD) which can start the PC and read the NTFS file system on the hard drive in order to access the c:\System Volume Information directory which contains restore points of the registry.

Incidentally, if you know how to build a Bart’s X-PE utility CD, then your skills likely include the repair method in this blog post.  Just saying …

We will use Bart’s X-PE to boot and then navigate to locate a snapshot subfolder, such as Microsoft’s example:  C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot

In Bart’s X-PE:

  1. Start Windows Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder options.
  3. Click the View tab.
  4. Under Hidden files and folders, click to select Show hidden files and folders, and then click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box.
  5. Click Yes when the dialog box that confirms that you want to display these files appears.
  6. Double-click the drive where you installed Windows XP to display a list of the folders. If is important to click the correct drive.
  7. Open the ‘System Volume Information’ folder. This folder is no longer hidden.Note This folder contains one or more _restore point folders within a snapshot sub-folder.

Create a Tmp folder such as C:\Windows\Tmp folder and then copy the following files from the Snapshot sub-folder into the C:\Windows\Tmp folder.  These are the 5 files to copy to \tmp:


IMPORTANT NOTE: Rather than using the most recently saved snapshot – restore point, I would recommend using the second to the most recently saved SNAPSHOT folder to obtain your backup copy of the registry hive because the most recently saved SNAPSHOT may contain a backup of the corrupt registry hive file as well.  You can, however, try to use the most recent snapshot.  I will.  If you can copy the _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM file to a /tmp/ folder, then it may not be corrupted.  Just make sure that you use all 5 registry hive files from the same restore point so that they have common or coinciding registry entries.


Using your newly-created \Tmp folder such as C:\Windows\Tmp folder, you will need to rename the following files as shown:


Then, try copying the following 5 registry hive files (which are currently “in-service”) to place them in a backup location before you actually delete them from the in-service location as follows:

del c:\windows\system32\config\sam

del c:\windows\system32\config\security

del c:\windows\system32\config\software

del c:\windows\system32\config\default

del c:\windows\system32\config\system

[In other words, move the above “in-service” files to a backup location in case you need to restore them in-service for whatever reason.  You probably won’t be able to copy ‘SYSTEM’ because it is corrupt.  You can rename it to SYSTEM.CORRUPT, or something similar.]

Now, replace the 5 registry hive files with the renamed snapshot files:

copy c:\windows\tmp\software c:\windows\system32\config\software

copy c:\windows\tmp\system c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam

copy c:\windows\tmp\security c:\windows\system32\config\security

copy c:\windows\tmp\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

Restart your PC to the Hard Drive rather than starting from Bart’s X-PE CD-ROM utility.

Stay tuned for the rest when I update this post . . .  I have not actually performed the repair on this PC.  It has worked many times on other PC’s.


If you find this useful and saved your system from a complete install, please consider making a small donation to support this website. Thank you.

Beef Chili Recipe

Frank’s Beef Chili Recipe:


2 tbls. virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion
1.5 lbs of ground beef chuck
2 cans 15.5 oz. dark red chili beans
2 cans 15.5 oz. of water
1 can 8 oz. organic tomato paste (nothing added)
2 level tbls. chili powder
2 tbls. apple cider vinegar
Optional – 2 or 3 dashes of ground cayenne red pepper (if desired to make chili chemically hot)
1 tsp. of table salt (or to taste)


Add olive oil to a medium-sized stock pot and set stove to medium heat
Dice large Spanish onion and add to oil and simmer
Add ground beef chuck and brown the beef in the onion and oil
If desired, drain and discard the excess oil from the beef
Rinse and strain the dark red kidney beans with water to remove detergents and syrups
Add the kidney beans to stock pot
Add water to the pot (2 or 3 of the 15.5 oz. cans of the water)
Add 8 oz. of tomato paste
Add 2 level tbls. chili powder to pot
Add 2 tbls. apple cider vinegar to pot
Optional – Add a couple dashes of ground cayenne red pepper to your own taste (be careful because it can get very hot and the pepper changes the taste of the chili)
Stir this entire mixture
Simmer on stove at medium-low to medium for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often to prevent sticking
Add a little more water during cooking (if necessary to maintain desired consistency and prevent sticking)
With 20 Minutes cooking time left, taste the chili to see if you want to add another 1/2 tbls. of chili power and/or another 1/2 tbls. of apple cider vinegar to your desired taste.
Add approximately 1 level tsp. of table salt (or to your desired taste)

Copyright 2012 (frank), All Rights Reserved