2

Yesterday I had a fully working PC... I was typing away when suddenly the screen went black. I thought there was a power cut but then realised it was only my PC that had fallen silent. Because there was absolutely no sign of life, no LED on the motherboard, no beeps, no fans, I assumed that the power supply had failed. I replaced it. Then upon powering up I saw the big colour windows logo with the progress bar underneath for a while, then the screen went black for a few seconds, then it flashed a blue screen with white writing for about half a second, before continuing to a bios? screen giving me the options to boot normally or in safe mode etc. With great difficulty and using a video camera!, I finally managed to get the text that appeared for half a second:

STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
\SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE
or its log or alternate.
It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

Beginning dump of physical memory
Pysical memory dump complete.
Contact your system administrator or technical support group for assistance.

FYI, there are two hard drives in my Windows XP (32) PC with Gigabyte GA-M68M-S2P motherboard.

Is there any hope? And if so what can I try next?

EDIT: All fixed! Amazing stroke of luck! Just as a wild experiment I decided to change the boot sequence in the bios, swapping the order between the two listed hard drives. My assumption was that it would now try and boot from my old drive which had god-knows-what on it (I couldn't remember why I even had it). But to my amazement it booted perfectly from the drive I had been using all along. Its as if the process of losing power had somehow switched the boot sequence to the wrong drive, and my swapping had just switched it back to what it should have been.

3

I would start by running a Hard Drive diagnostic to ensure that the hard drive hasn't failed. If it has, I would recommend replacing the HD and reinstalling the OS and seeing if you can recover any personal files. If the HD passes, do the following:

  1. Using either a Live CD or a Windows XP boot disc, boot the computer and access the files on the C: drive.
  2. Backup the config files. In c:\windows\system32\config make a copy of everything and append the extension .bak to it. I would also place them in a separate sub directory.
  3. In the "C:\System Volume Information" find the most recent folder and open it. Go into the subfolder "snapshot" and copy:

    _registry_user_.default
    _registry_machine_security
    _registry_machine_software
    _registry_machine_system
    _registry_machine_sam
    Copy these files to the c:\windows\system32\config directory

  4. Rename the files to:

    default
    security
    software
    system
    sam

  5. Reboot the computer. You have just manually restored the OS to a previous backup of the registry which seems corrupted.

This should hopefully bring the computer back to a bootable staus.

  • Thank you for your answer, and I've up-voted it. But see OP. – Mick Jan 25 '14 at 11:42

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