Demystifying Win XP Errors 

PCQ Bureau
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You must have come across many errors/problems while working in Win XP. While these errors look very critical, they are actually not. Let's see some of these problems and how you can resolve them.


1. Missing NTLDR or NTDETECT.COM not found 

Occurs if you haven't shutdown the OS properly, and for some reason the NTLDR and NTDETECT files get corrupted.

Solution: If you have a FAT partitioned C drive, boot your system with a Win 98 bootable floppy. Using a Win XP CD to copy the files, NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM from the i386 folder to C:\. If you have an NTFS partition on C drive, boot the system with the Win XP CD. From the installer press R to repair, the installer will give a list of all detected Windows on your system. Press the number shown in the list corresponding to correct installed path. Enter the administrator password when asked. You will get a command prompt and issue:

Direct Hit!
Applies to: Windows XP users

Troubleshooting common Windows XP problems

C:\> copy d:\i386\NTLDR c:\

C:\> copy d:\i386\NTDETECT.COM c:\ 

(d: will be replaced by the actual CD drive letter)

2. Corrupted or missing \Windows\System32\config

You face this problem when any device driver or a software component gets corrupted.

Solution: Boot the system with the Win XP CD. The XP installer will prompt to repair the OS. Press R for it, and then select Correct Windows Installed path. Then, give the administrator username and password as asked. At the command prompt, issue the following:


C:\> cd \windows\system32\config

C:\> ren software software.bad

C:\> copy \windows\repair\software

C:\> ren system system.bad

C:\> copy \windows\repair\system

3. You get the blue crash screen and your system gets rebooted. You want to restore the machine to the last working state 

Happens when Win XP system files gets corrupted due to reasons such as corrupted system files, virus attack and mis-configuration of device drives.

Solution: Boot using the Win XP Installation CD and select the option to repair (press R). You will be asked to enter the administrative password for the selected Win version. Give the password and you will get a command prompt. Here, issue:


C:\> del c:\windows\system32\config\sam

C:\> del c:\windows\system32\config\securirty 

C:\> del c:\windows\system32\config\default

C:\> del c:\windows\system32\config\software

C:\> del c:\windows\system32\config\system

C:\> copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config

C:\> copy c:\windows\repair\securirty c:\windows\system32\config

C:\> copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config 

C:\> copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config

C:\> copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config

C:\> md tmp

C:\> exit

The 'exit' command in the end will reboot your machine. This time Win XP should boot properly with the default settings. Now open explorer window and from its file menu, select Tools>Folder. It will open a 'Folder option' window. Here, select the View tab and change a few 'Advanced Settings'. Under 'Hidden File and Folder' set 'Show hidden files and folders', then uncheck the 'Hidden protected operating system files (Recommended)' check box and click on the OK button. 

Then open 'Local Drive C:' and you will find a hidden folder called 'Systems Volume Information'. Right click on it and select Properties from the context menu.

Here select Security tab and then add the 'administrator' user. Now from the Windows explorer, open the path 'C:\SystemVolumeInformation\_restore

{55706CDF-B36E-40D0BEEC-BE01 ED443C11}\RP1\snapshot'(the '_ restore...' string within the braces might be slightly different for you). From here, copy the following files to 'C:\windows\ temp'.






Rename these files to Sam, Security, System, default and software respectively. After this, reboot your machine from the CD and get in to the 'Recovery Console' as before. Then issue the command that follows.

C:\> copy c:\winows\ temp\* c:\windows\system32\ config


Now, boot your machine from the hard drive, you will receive all your existing Windows settings. Then from the Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools click on 'SystemRestote'. This will open a wizard. Click on Next and you will get a Calendar showing all the restore point dates. Select the data before your system had crashed and click on Next and then on Finish.

4. 'This system is going to shut down, save all information. This shutdown was initiated by NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM ... must restart because the remote procedure call (RPC)service terminated unexpectedly.'

This happens due to a virus attack such as blaster or if the RPC service gets terminated due to certain reasons. 

Solution: Run anti-virus software on your machine and check for any blaster worm. If found, run a blaster patch, which basically turns on the Windows firewall. Still if you face the same problem, then it might be due to some other programs that are terminating the RPC service.


You can solve this by setting a parameter in the RPC service. Go to the Control Panel>Administrative Tools and click on Services. Now, from the list of services find RPC (Remote Procedure Call). Double click on this service and you will get RPC properties sheet. 

In the RPC properties sheet click on the Recovery tab and set the first, second and subsequent failure parameters to 'restart the Service' and click on OK. Reboot the machine and you will never receive RPC error again. 

5. 'C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\ AUTOEXEC.NT". The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application.'

You may get such an error message when you run any 16-bit Windows or MS-DOS program. This is due to the corruption of 'AUTOEXEC.NT and CONFIG.NT' file. These files generally get tampered by trojan infection.

Solution: Run an anti virus on your machine and remove all trojans. Then issue the following commands. 

C:\> copy c:\windows\repair\autoexec.nt c:\windows\system32

C:\> copy c:\windows\repair\config.nt c:\windows\system32 

6. HAL.DLL missing/corrupt

It occurs due to corruption of the BOOT.INI file. 

Solution: Boot your machine with the Win XP installer. During the set up you will be asked to repair the existing Windows installation. Press R and you will get a list of the installed versions of Windows. Select one that you want to repair. Then issue the following commands.

C:\> bootcfg /list 

C:\> bootcfg /rebuild

C:\> exit

Now, reboot your machine and find your system up and running.

Sanjay Majumder