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I have an instalation of windows xp. It has corrupt registry hive (SOFTWARE). I am able to access system32\config folder but I have no registry backup. System Volume Information folder contains only two files and in repair folder are files 4 years old. I tried to load hive to Regedit (even win 7 one) but it says its corrupt. Is there a way to repair it?


I tried Registry Drill but I have not success.

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Have you followed through this: How to recovery from a corrupted registry - Even with the 'old' repair files it should work as windows will detect anything else required after the repair. – HaydnWVN Apr 30 '12 at 8:43
@HaydnWVN: Yes but c:\windows\repair contains 4 years old files so they are useless. I do not have a problem to access disk but I need the xp working as before failure. – IvanH Apr 30 '12 at 9:54
Just extract the user files then install the operating system. If you followed the directions in the link, then you have done what you can, some problems cannot be fixed. – Ramhound Apr 30 '12 at 11:08
@Ramhound This is my final solution, but I have a file and data are still inside. So it should be possible to repair it. – IvanH Apr 30 '12 at 11:18
The files although 4 years old might not be 'useless' - try the repair with them and it might give you a working system! Many files will obviously then need updating (by Windows Update) so the steps mentioned are a 'repair' to get a working system to recover your files. The next 'ideal' step (after recovering all your data) would be a complete reinstall. – HaydnWVN Apr 30 '12 at 14:42

Windows restore points contain registry hives, if you have restore points these can be used to restore the registry to a previous state.

I would make a full disk image before you try this manual restore.

Here is how to do a manual system restore in XP


A. Connect your non-bootable hard drive to another computer, as a secondary drive or use a usb adapter or enclosure and boot into windows. If you can see your data on the drive, back it up Now, then follow the rest of these instructions.

B. Open Windows Explorer. Click on Tools|Folder Options|View. Check the box beside "Show hidden files and folders". Apply your change.

NOTE D: may not represent the hard drive you connected to your PC, it may be E: or F: or G:, it all depends on how many other drives (including cd/dvd) you have in your PC, So subtitute the appropriate drive letter in the instructions below.

C. Navigate to the D:\System Volume Information folder. You will see a folder named something like _restore{.........} the dots represent an alpha-numeric sequence. In this folder you will see folders named RP0....RPnn. Find the one with the highest number. These are your System Restore points. In the highest numbered folder you will see a folder named snapshot. In this folder are registry hive files which you need to recover your system:






D. Create a subdirectory; i.e, D:\Windows\TMP. Copy these files to the TMP subdirectory. Rename them:






Note Be sure to lose the period (.) in the file named _registry_user_.default

E. Delete the files in the D:\windows\system32\config subdirectory with the same names.

F. Copy the D:\windows\tmp files to the D:\windows\system32\config. subdirectory.

G.Put your drive back in its original system. Your system should start normally. If you get the same error repeat the procedure and choose another folder ( RPnn) (next highest number). You can repeat this procedure choosing lower RPnn numbers until you get operating again.

If you are denied access to any folders you will have to take "Ownership" of the folders first.

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That's all included in the KN article i mentioned in my comments to the OP who mentions his Restore Point files are '4 years old'. – HaydnWVN Apr 30 '12 at 14:43
In System Volume Information there are no subfolders. I have no useful backup. I need something to repair the file. – IvanH Apr 30 '12 at 15:07
Manual restores are a pain in the butt.. Good luck. – Jeff F. Apr 30 '12 at 15:14
@IvanH, all that is left is to do is a XP repair install, there is no magic windows registry un-corrupt tool. – Moab Apr 30 '12 at 15:22
You have been given all the known solutions, there is no magic tool or solution. – Moab Apr 30 '12 at 19:21

The error you're being given is misleading - the problem is not a corrupted registry. It is a damaged HAL of an unknown cause.

If you had the knowledge you could possibly rewrite the HAL required for Windows to run, overwriting the damaged area. But without knowing what's damaged and extreme indepth knowledge of how the HAL is constructed you don't stand a chance. It's well beyond 'Superuser' and more along the avenue of Microsoft's programming team. I certainly wouldn't know where to start (I'm Microsoft Certified and I've been repairing/installing/building PC's & Servers for over 12 years).

Reinstall is the easiest, most complete and best option. Not to mention the quickest solution to your problems.

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Today I fixed almost the same problem on the Windows XP machine of my brother. He had this error:

Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

Since he didn't have System Restore enabled, there were no Restore Points.

The steps at Fix a fragmented or corrupted SYSTEM hive file with Recovery Console | TechRepublic fixed it.

In my own words:

It might be that one of your registry files have become so fragmented so the NTLDR cannot load it. This is a known issue in some Windows 2000 versions, but appears to be an issue with Windows XP too.

Replace SYSTEM by SOFTWARE to defragment the other hive.

  1. Boot into the Recovery Console
  2. Execute these commands (you can put them into a small text file DefragCFG.txt and execute it in the recovery console using BATCH DefragCFG.txt)
  3. Wait until the system has rebooted.
  4. Create a Restore Point

What happens is that the fragmented SYSTEM.OLD file is copied to a (less fragmented) SYSTEM file which the NTLDR can load.

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protected by slhck Oct 4 '13 at 9:28

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