Recovery Console won't load

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0
Hi all,

I have a friends Gateway laptop that won't boot. I get an error that states, Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

I found this article - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

upon trying to access Recovery Console from the XP installation CD I get to the Welcome to set up screen and when I select R to open recovery console I get a message that says "setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer." It than says I should check to make sure that the hard disk is properly connected.

This made me think that the hard drive failed. So I booted from a ubuntu ISO disk and was able to see some windows files on the hard disk. I am now under the assumption that the hard drive is in working order but still cannot access recovery console.

He doesn't have an installation CD so I can't just reinstall over the old OS. I used my disk just for recovery console on it.


If anyone knows what to do next I would appreciate some help with this.

Thank you
 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868


Perhaps there was a need to provide SATA drivers during the file setup stage of getting to the Repair option. When you looked at the hard disk in Ubuntu, did you have to mount it or did it show up by itself? I suggest you go in again and rescue your friend's data while you still can in case that disk has failed.

Whle you're there, check in c:\windows\system32\config\ and see if there's a file called system.bak or system.sav, created fairly recently. If there is, rename system to system.old and the file you found as system.
[/#000ff]
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0
I did not have to mount it. I got all the way to \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM but the system file at the end of the string was unreadable and unknown to Ubuntu.
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0
Thanks for your response Saga Lout.

How exactly do I go about "rescuing my friends data" with the Ubuntu live disk? I know very little about Ubuntu I only used it to see if I could access the HDD. When I went to My Music and My Pictures I don't know if it was from the HDD or the Ubuntu OS.

As I said I don't know much about Ubuntu and haven't worked with the "live disk when the hard drive is inaccessible" concept much either.
 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868


Ubuntu doesn't have My Music or My Pictures so you were looking at your own files. At that point you can copy them and paste them into a memory stick or other external hard disk. This isn't a fix but a cautionary move to make the data safe so you can reinstall XP if you have to while having a copy of all your files in a safe place. The drives will show up in Ubuntu by their size so your hard disk will be the largest option and a stick wll show up as 8Gb, for example.[/#000ff]
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0


Thank you for your response Saga Lout!

As I said I am not too good at Ubuntu so I was unaware that it doesn't use My Pictures or My Music but alas, these folders appeared empty through the Ubuntu Live Disk. I will try to copy the folders to a flash stick and see if it renders anything on another computer.

Thanks

P.S.

I must point out that all of this started when he tried to install a software disk for Charter Internet Service. I told him he didn't need it and not to install it because it greatly slows down every computer it touches....... they didn't head my warning. I think it must be a coincidence as I have never heard of Charters software destroying a hard drive before.

 

aford10

Champion
Moderator
Oct 2, 2008
15,655
0
53,660
554
Installing the software couldn't have physically damaged the hard drive. If that's what the issue is, it's just coincidence.

Does the drive show in the BIOS?
 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868



Don't despair for your files if those folders are empty - Windows frequently leaves those and creates new ones of the same name within My Documents, for reasons I've never understood, so your music and photos may still be in there somewhere.

Given that you need a new hard disk anyway, you could take yours out and buy a converter to connect it to another computer via USB if you prefer navigating files in Windows rather than Linux.
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0


Hello again Saga Lout,

How would turning it into an external hard drive help if the disk is physically damaged? Would I be able to some how access files on the drive in this manner? Perhaps I could replace the corrupted file this way as well.

Thanks
 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868


It's only for recovery purposes - I doubt you could trust it again even if you pumped in a clean copy of a corrupted file.
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0


Yes I understand that part but you are suggesting that I should still be able to access other files on this hard drive by installing it in an enclosure and plugging it in to my other PC?

Because if that is the case that would be great. This "bad" hard drive is kinda small anyway so it could do for an upgrade as it is.

This whole thing about Windows recovery and repair not finding the hard drive lead me to believe that it was beyond getting any files out of it. If that is not the case and I can still recover the files from it than that is a good piece of news for me.

Thanks again Saga Lout
 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868


It's well worth a shot if the files are sufficiently important to you. If you're confident in opening up the other PC you could do without the converter box by connecting the disk as a slave to the existing disk. You'll need to check the jumpers so the Master/Slave relationship is preserved - Cable Select on both drives is the best bet.

That said, the converter box option is a good one because once you have it you can always use an external disk as a backup device. They aren't expensive.
[/#000ff]

 

tigsounds

Splendid
May 29, 2010
3,922
0
23,660
227


I guess we'll never know !

I'm inclined the SATA drivers are needed at the infamous "Press the F6 Key...." during startup.




 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868



But but but - it got as far as calling up the Registry before it fell over, Tig! It was only at the attempt at repairing that when XP couldn't see the disk, pointing to a mounting problem.

 

tigsounds

Splendid
May 29, 2010
3,922
0
23,660
227


Yup, you are soooo right. I just chimed that in because you had asked the OP about this and didn't get an answer, then aford asked about the BIOS and still no answer. I clicked refresh and sure enough, the page was loading right. :lol:      That MS kb307545 article might be helpful here but everyone's afraid to use it.

I posted ERD Commander 2005 which allows an external restore point access but the OP in that thread has yet to come back and say Wow! (that thing is rather hard to get these days). Maybe this problem can be solved by a restore point?? Your OP is welcome to it, it surely wouldn't hurt to try. The only thing is ERD may not see the XP install, then OP has to do the kb307545 routine without messing things up by accident using the ERD Explorer function (near-identical to Windows explorer). I seem to remember ERD did find XP when nothing else could in the past.

It can be found
HERE and must be burned to CD as it is an ISO image.

This is just one of those problems I really like to see get fixed. OP participation always makes me dig deeper.

 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0


My bad Tig. Yes the SATA drive is listed in BIOS.

I have heard of ERD commander but no nothing of how it works I have never used it. Sounds like an interesting endeavor though.
 

tigsounds

Splendid
May 29, 2010
3,922
0
23,660
227
It became obvious things were not as bad as they first looked.

You should get the file and burn it to CD as it is very rare and it sure beats trying to work on NTFS drives using "NTFS for DOS."

You have little to lose doing the MS kb/307545 since everything is in shambles anyway. If it doesn't fix your problem you can still copy all your files out later, and you can "undo" everything you do. Just remember that if Windows needed the SATA drivers to be installed, ERD will need them too. ERD has the same "Press F6 to install 3rd party drivers" thing as Windows setup.

If you have your LAN drivers handy, ERD will load those drivers a bit later into loading and you can network your dead Windows computer files out to another machine easily.

If you do kb/307545, there is a great chance that ERD will be able to do a system restore point rollback, or, you can perhaps get into safe mode and have Windows do the restore point rollback, which is actually a bit better.

One "fix" that has worked well for others is to run chkdsk /f on the drive a few times. Often just doing that brings things back from the dead (who knows why? but it can/does).
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0
One "fix" that has worked well for others is to run chkdsk /f on the drive a few times. Often just doing that brings things back from the dead (who knows why? but it can/does).
I can't access command prompt to do chkdsk /f or I would have done that already.

This isn't my PC so I already told the guy that I was gonna try recovering his files by plugging his HD into an external case to see what I can save (I have no idea how much data is lost to the damaged HD) and then a new Hard Drive would need to be purchased.

Could I then transfer the OS from the now external HD onto the new HD? I have never tried this before.

Thanks
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0



I was quite sure of that but wanted to double check.
 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868


Cloning software is available - Acronis True Image is my personal preference. That literally makes a copy of the drive on to another, including Partitions - even a Recovery Partition if present. Unlike early cloning software, ATI can also exponentially enlarge the space alocated to each Partition if the target drive is large than the original.

Other cloners are available - Norton Ghost is one but like all former Peter Norton products, it may have gone downhill under Symantec. I recently upgraded to ATI 2011 for £23.95 but can't tell you the cost of buying from new.

EDIT: A clone is exactly that - warts and all - so if you have doubts about your existing installation, lose it and just retrieve the data.
[/#000ff]
 

yzerwing

Distinguished
Feb 12, 2007
88
0
18,630
0
I think I will be able to save the files from my Friends PC by plugging the HDD into an external enclosure and plugging it in to my PC.

I tried copying the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM file from my computer to paste to his HDD in the correct folder but I cannot copy the file because it is in use (obviously) I kind of expected that. Does anyone know where I can download the file and paste it in?

Thanks
 

Saga Lout

Titan
Moderator
Mar 31, 2010
21,459
2
73,215
1,868


Don't bother - it won't work. Your system will be completely different from his. Again, you need to be outside the system to move those files around - either in Linux or Hirens MiniXP but if there isn't a System.bak or System,sav it won't make the setup fly.[/#000ff]
 

tigsounds

Splendid
May 29, 2010
3,922
0
23,660
227
If you're going to toss the Windows install anyway, try the ERD Explorer repair, what if it fixed it? If you can restore the critical registry files, and do a restore point rollback, it all works again. If it works, go remove all passwords, and then put them back so you won't have a password issue someday in repair console, (a small probability anyway).

Even if it doesn't work, you can still copy out the files you want to save.