Windows XP - C:\Windows\System32\Config\System is corrupt

Your Windows operating system is not able to start because the file, [Windows XP] C:\Windows\System32\Config\System is missing or corrupt which indicates that the system registry hive is corrupted. To have it back up and running, during the start of the boot sequence you have to press the F8 key which takes you to a menu. Choose Boot using the last known good configuration option that loaded Windows XP operating system with the previous configuration files. The other way is to boot the system with the Windows XP Installation CD. Once you are in setup, start the Recovery Console. Type in the appropriate commands and press enter after every line. Also change the C letter in the commands with the drive letter for your Windows XP operating system.


You're getting the following error message:
C:\Windows\System32\Config\System is missing or corrupt. 


  • Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive then restart the computer.
  • Click in order to select any options that are required to start the Pc from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
  • When "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
  • If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you want to access from the Recovery Console.
  • When you are prompted to do so, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.

In Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after each of them:

*md tmp       

  • copy c:windowssystem32configsystem c:windowstmpsystem.bak *copy c:windowssystem32configsoftware c:windowstmpsoftware.bak *copy c:windowssystem32configsam c:windowstmpsam.bak *copy c:windowssystem32configsecurity c:windowstmpsecurity.bak *copy c:windowssystem32configdefault c:windowstmpdefault.bak *delete c:windowssystem32configsystem *delete c:windowssystem32configsoftware *delete c:windowssystem32configsam *delete c:windowssystem32configsecurity *delete c:windowssystem32configdefault *copy c:windowsrepairsystem c:windowssystem32configsystem *copy c:windowsrepairsoftware c:windowssystem32configsoftware *copy c:windowsrepairsam c:windowssystem32configsam *copy c:windowsrepairsecurity c:windowssystem32configsecurity *copy c:windowsrepairdefault c:windowssystem32configdefault

Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer will restart


Thanks to sri for this tip on the forum.
Published by aakai1056. Latest update on October 15, 2014 at 12:09 PM by Jeff.
This document, titled "Windows XP - C:\Windows\System32\Config\System is corrupt," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (
Installing Windows XP using USB Flash drive
Windows XP - Minimum System Requirements