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I'm in a little bit of a pickle.

I have a Win2K server VM which corrupts its SYSTEM, SOFTWARE, SAM, SECURITY, and DEFAULT registry entries every time it's shut down or restarted. I can boot into the recovery console and replace these registry entries with backups to get the VM to come back on, but my personal admin account was created AFTER these registry backups (I don't know the password for the Administrator account, so I get permanently locked out of the VM).

If I don't replace the registry files, I get a:

Windows 2000 could not start because the following file was missing or corrupt: \WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

If I replace everything but the SAM, I get a BSOD on boot with a

Stop: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}. The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SAM or its log or alternate

Keep in mind I have a backup of this VM and can log in the first time, but after the first shutdown the problem starts. I've tried almost everything I know. Has anyone else experienced a similar issue or have suggestions on how to resolve this?

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Quite a pickle!

If one or two registry hives consistently become corrupted for no reason, the problem probably occurs at shutdown and is not discovered until you try to load the registry hive at the next restart. In this scenario, the registry hive is written to disk when you shut down the computer, and this process may stop the computer or a component in the computer before the writing is completed.

Are you "turning off" the machine or gracefully shutting it down? (ACPI shutdown, or Start->Shutdown->restart/shutdown/whatever....too many hard shutdowns will lead to this exact problem.

After your initial boot and login, run chkdsk /r and consider using NTBACKUP to backup the system state. (Yes, I am aware that this is a VM, but win 2k doesn't know that!) make sure that you are using disk controller drivers that work with Win2k in you VM additions.

FINALLY DISABLE WRITE BEHIND CACHING, as your modern hard drive may be just to darn quick to shutdown windows before the "cache" is written to disk. This was a serious problem in Win98/ME and can still cause issues in win2k depending on just how fast your host drive is, assuming you are using the VMware IDE interface for your Virtual Disk.

For Windows 2000 & 2003

  1. Start at the desktop.
  2. Right-click on My Computer, then left-click on Properties.
  3. Click on the Hardware tab at the top.
  4. Click on the Device Manager button.
  5. Click on the + next to Disk Drives to expand it.
  6. Right click on the hard drive on which to turn write caching off, then left click Properties.
  7. Click on the Disk Properties tab.
  8. Click on Write Cache Enabled to remove the tick. It must not be ticked.
  9. Click OK.

Another option is to use VMDKMounter to recover your User Data and then start over, or replace the hive files quickly.

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I'm doing a start->shutdown/restart. I am going to try your suggestions and get back with the results! – Joe Mar 5 '12 at 23:27
With Chkdsk /r, I get a "Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" error. Also- write caching was already disabled. :-( – Joe Mar 7 '12 at 15:20

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