boot error, corrupt file any way to save it?


May 17, 2004
So this morning I left my laptop on while going to college and then work, after work I came home the laptop was off. Weird I thought I start it up and It keeps giving me an error that the "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: WINDOWSSYSTEM32CONFIGSYSTEM".
It tells me to instert the Windows XP cd, or set up cd.

Now I havent done it yet because I want to know is there anyway to save my stuff that I have on my harddrive? and DO NOT WANT IT TO FORMAT MY HARDDRIVE

The reason is I have FINAL PROJECTS for my term papers and also FINALS and all information related to college. I am really worried that I dont have it anymore and I dont know what I would tell my college proffesors. Please someone if you know how to save the portion of the disk thats not windows please help.

Thank you.

I also tried doing a start up disk, before coming to my senses realizing that my laptop doesnt have a floppy drive.

I think this cd that im using is not service pack 2 even thought my laptop had it on when it crashed. Any ideas what I can do thank you
Well, don't panic, and don't re-format. The absence of a single file, or corruption thereof does not mean that all the data on your laptop is destroyed.

1. Was your laptop password protected? Not just a boot, but also at the screensaver?

2. Could someone have gotten physical access to the comp while you were out?

3. Do you have a firewall in place? Was the laptop connected to a network? Does it have a wireless card?

Your first instinct is correct. Will the laptop boot from a CD? You need to get those precious files off the harddrive and safe as your first priority.

Even if it means taking it into a shop and having the hardrive removed and copied.

I bet your college IT dept. would gladly help you out here, and will have all the tools needed.

NOTE: Even if something really malicious happened like a format, that data CAN STILL BE RECOVERED as long as you DO NOT write to the drive under ANY condition.