by November 1, 2004 0 comments

What would you do if your Win XP machine cras-hed and refused to boot up, even in safe mode? This could happen if your Win XP system files have corrupted due to a virus attack or misconfiguration of device drivers. You would try to somehow back up your data, re-install the OS and other software. It’s cumbersome, so here we’ll discuss system-recovery capabilities built into Win XP.

An important thing to note is that you must have the System Restore option turned on in Win XP. Though Win XP keeps it on, to recheck go to My Computer>Properties>System Restore. If the check box for the ‘Turn off System Restore to all Drives’ is not checked, then do so. To get Win XP to boot into its GUI, boot from your Win XP installation CD. Once it’s loaded the essential installation files, it will ask if you want to re-install the OS or repair your existing Win XP installation.

Direct Hit!
Applies to:
Win XP users
USP: Learn how to use the ‘Repair installation’ option of Win XP 

Press R and it will show you a recovery console. It’ll give a list of all Windows versions on your machine. Select Win XP,
enter the administrative password and issue: 

del c:\windows\system32\config\sam
del c:\windows\system32\config\securirty 
del c:\windows\system32\config\default
del c:\windows\system32\config\software
del c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config
copy c:\windows\repair\securirty c:\windows\system32\config
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config 
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config
copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config
md tmp

When you reboot your machine, Win XP should boot with the default settings. To restore the system to its original state you need to show all hidden files and folders in Win XP. For this, launch Windows Explorer, go to Tools>Folder Options.

Choose View tab, and in the list of items that follow, enable ‘Show hidden files and folders’, and uncheck ‘Hide protected operating systems files’. Now go to your C: drive, and right click on ‘System Volume Information’ and select ‘Properties’.

Under the Security tab, add ‘Administrator’ user. Then open this folder from Windows Explorer and go to the _restore{55706CDF-B36E-40D0-BEEC -BE01ED443C11}\RP1\snapshot folder. Here, the code in the ‘{}’ brackets will be unique to your machine. Copy and rename the following files to

File name Rename File name


Boot from a Win XP installer and get in to the ‘Recovery Console’. Then issue: 

cd \windows\tmp
copy * c:\windows\system32\config

Press A to overwrite, and reboot the machine from the hard drive. You’ll get your existing Windows settings. From Start>Programs>Accessories >System tools, click on ‘System Restore’ to launch the system restore wizard. Choose the date and time before the crash happened to restore the system. 

Sanjay Majumder

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