How to recover a Windows system that does not
start because of corruption in the registry
To recover a Windows XP system that does not start because
of corruption in the registry, you may need to use Recovery Console and
System Restore manually.
A. Start the Recovery Console to back up the existing registry files to a
new location, delete the registry files at their existing location, and then
copy the registry files from the repair folder to the System32\Config
folder. After you have finished this procedure, a registry is created that
you can use to start Windows XP with the initial setup of Windows XP.
1. Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert
the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
2. When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery
3. Select the installation that you want to access from the Recovery
4. Type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank,
just press ENTER.
5. At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines,
pressing ENTER after you type each line:
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak
copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
6. Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer will restart as normal.
B. Copy the registry files from the System Volume
Note: the System Volume Information folderis not available in Recovery Console
and is generally not visible during typical usage so that you must make the folder visible
following these steps:
1. Start Windows Explorer.
2. On the Tools menu, click Folder options.
3. Click the View tab.
4. Under Hidden files and folders, click to select Show hidden files and
folders, and then click to clear the Hide protected operating system files
(Recommended) check box.
5. Click Yes when the dialog box that confirms that you want to display
these files appears.
6. Double-click the drive where you installed Windows XP to display a list
of the folders. If is important to click the correct drive.
7. Open the System Volume Information folder. This folder is unavailable and
appears dimmed because it is set as a super-hidden folder.
Note: If you receive this message "C:\System Volume Information is not accessible. Access is denied",
please following this article to gain access to the folder:
How to access to the System Volume Information
||8. Open a folder that was not created at the current time. You may have to
click Details on the View menu to see when these folders were created. There
may be one or more folders starting with "RPx under this folder. These are
9. Open one of these folders to locate a Snapshot subfolder. The following
path is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:
10. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following files to the C:\Windows\Tmp
11. Rename the files in the C:\Windows\Tmp folder as follows:
• Rename _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT to DEFAULT
• Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY to SECURITY
• Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE
• Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM
• Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM to SAM
These files are the backed up registry files from System Restore. Because
you used the registry file that the Setup program created, this registry
does not know that these restore points exist and are available. A new
folder is created with a new GUID under System Volume Information and a
restore point is created that includes a copy of the registry files that
were copied during part one. Therefore, it is important not to use the most
current folder, especially if the time stamp on the folder is the same as
the current time.
The current system configuration is not aware of the previous restore
points. You must have a previous copy of the registry from a previous
restore point to make the previous restore points available again.
The registry files that were copied to the Tmp folder in the C:\Windows
folder are moved to make sure that the files are available under Recovery
Console. You must use these files to replace the registry files currently in
the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder. By default, Recovery Console has
limited folder access and cannot copy files from the System Volume folder.
C. Delete the existing registry files, and then copy the
System Restore Registry files to the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder:
1. Start Recovery Console.
2. At the command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you
type each line:
copy c:\windows\tmp\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\tmp\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\tmp\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\tmp\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\tmp\default c:\windows\system32\config\default
Note Some of these command lines may be wrapped for readability.
3. Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer restarts.
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How to access to the System
Volume Information folder