Fix Windows XP in 8 Commands

So yesterday I fire up my laptop and get the following error:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

\\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 damn thing just wouldn’t let me proceed. It seemed that my registry values or hive had been corrupted. This consequently ‘fired up’ a lot of wasted hours trying to sort out this issue. After some research, I came across this article, which basically solves the problem in 8 commands, literally!

I’ll summarize it here:

Put in your Windows XP Setup CD in the drive and boot from it. Let it do its thing until it gives you the option (amongst others) to ‘To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R’. If you’ve got a SATA drive like me, then you’re in for some more trouble where it will most likely say that it can’t find your hard drive. You will have to go into the Setup of your machine when you start it and tweak the auto-detect options for the hard-drive (it worked for me) or load the drivers (don’t know how, didn’t do it).

Once you’re in the Recovery Console, select the Windows that you would like to repair (which is usually the first option, as it lists all the places it finds windows directory including the CD you put in!) and it may ask you to enter your Administrator password.

You should be in your Windows directory which may look like this:

C:\\WINDOWS

Now it is time to type in the magical 8 commands (for better understanding and details on further prompts; refer to the actual article linked above):

  1. C: CD ..
  2. C: ATTRIB -H C:\\boot.ini
  3. C:ATTRIB -S C:\\boot.ini
  4. C:ATRIB -R C:\\boot.ini
  5. C: del boot.ini
  6. C: BOOTCFG /Rebuild
  7. C: CHKDSK /R /F
  8. C: FIXBOOT

That should solve the problem and let you log in normally on your machine.

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5 Responses to “Fix Windows XP in 8 Commands”


  1. 1 Fikret March 19, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Well, that is not bad. You repair your OS and you have your files on your hard drive. But I don’t like the Recovery Console so much….
    I rather go to boot from the CD and then I type one famous command (or I select it with the keyboard) C:\format C:\
    My expirience is when WindowsXP starts giving you those error warnings it will soon give you the same or a error like this….
    This is the reason i like format C: more then the Recovery Console.
    Don’t get me wrong, I would not be pleased if you get the same or similar error in few days….

  2. 2 Sabah Hussain March 19, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Fikret: I understand where you are coming from but its not always simple to format your machine. In my case there are loads of applications that I would have had to reinstall. Perhaps for that I should save some mirror backup. Anyhow, so far I’ve not received any more errors. Thanks for your input.

  3. 3 Fikret March 20, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Why don’t you use two partitions on one hard drive?
    I don’t know, but for me it’s simpler using two partitions.
    On one partition I have my OS and some other unimportant files and app’s, and on my other partition I store all important files and app’s.

  4. 4 Sabah Hussain March 21, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Yup, that is what I normally do. Unfortunately, this is an office machine and came preinstalled with a lot of stuff as per our requirements.

    It would probably take some efforts to do that and might be worth it too. Let’s see. Thanks.

  5. 5 Ram Elio August 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Dear Hussain,

    I think you copied all from my site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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