Fixed my computer

This morning, I turned on my computer and it said:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt
C:\windows\system32\config\system

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.

The simple solution was to boot up off the Windows Setup CD, and run CHKDSK /P, as described here.

However, in my case it’s a little more difficult because I have two SATA drives installed, that aren’t recognized by default by my Windows Setup CD. So I have to remember to insert a floppy with the correct drivers. And I easily forget this kind of thing because I only have to do this once every year or two. So… this post is mainly as a reference for myself, when I forget again.

I’m using Windows XP Pro, my motherboard is a “A8V DELUXE Socket 939 VIA K8T800 Pro ATX AMD Motherboard”.

First, I downloaded the latest VIA SATA RAID Driver package from www.asus.com. I used this even though my disks are configured as a RAID. Specifically, I used VIARAID220d.zip, but I know I’ve downloaded other versions that worked. The ZIP file had a section with drivers, and even a MakeDisk program that will format and create the floppy for you.

Next, I started my computer and booted of the Windows Setup CD. At one point, it asks you to press F6 if you have drivers you need to use. I pressed F6. Note: if you have a Multimedia keyboard, you might have to press the F-Lock key first (like CAPS-Lock), in order to be able to type F6. I don’t know how many hours that took me to figure out, back in December 2004.

That will allow the Windows Recovery Console to start up, from which I was able to fix my problem.

The other kind of error I’ve had involves missing HAL.DLL file “Cannot Find \Windows\System32\hal.dll”. This happens if I have my USB drive plugged in when I start up. Unplugging it and restarting fixes that problem. It also happened when I installed a new hard drive. In that case, I had to edit the boot.ini file to make it correct.

Whenever stuff like this happens, I get re-inspired to do backups often.

In fact, I just finished a full backup.

9 Responses to “Fixed my computer”

  1. Brian Pedigo Says:

    Switch to Ubuntu and you’ll never get that error again! :)

    Brian Pedigo, Windows-to-Ubuntu convert

  2. Mark S Says:

    Try fixing this problem without a floppy drive! It is a bummer that XP setup wont let you load HD controller drivers from a CD or other media.

    I have been running the Vista beta for a few months… so far so good. I like the updates. I guess I need to go read about this Ubuntu OS I have never heard of…

  3. Jonathan H Says:

    Or you could always upgrade to a mac ;)

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