Windows XP Crashed? Here's Help
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OK, troops, are you still with me? Good. It'll look like you're re-installing Windows XP, but don't worry, you're not. This is just a screen showing you that your computer is loading enough files from the CD to actually do something, anything but that awful blue screen. Now when you see the screen that asks you if you want to install Windows, don't! Just hit R for recover, and you'll see the ominous Recovery Console. Don't let that intimidate you; the Recovery Console is your ugly, black-suited friend. It will have a dark, bleak screen, with the following stuff:

Microsoft Windows(R) Recovery Console

The Recovery Console provides system repair and recovery functionality.
Type EXIT to quit the Recovery Console and restart the computer.


Which Windows Installation would you like to log onto
(To cancel, press ENTER)?

Go ahead and hit the number 1 on your keyboard, or whichever number corresponds to the operating system you were using when havoc struck. Enter your administrator password, and then hit enter. You're in! Now it's time to run with the big dogs! Do not be afraid, dear reader, I am here to help you.

If you type the following commands into your computer, it will work magic, akin to going back in time. There are three parts to this process, but believe me, they take much less time than reinstalling Windows XP and all your applications. So follow along with me, and keep in mind that each command must be typed exactly as you see it here. Please note that this procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed to the C:\Windows folder. Make sure to change C:\Windows to the appropriate windows folder if it's at a different location. The copy commands will answer you with a little "file copied" message. The delete commands just move on to the next line. Because of the way your Web browser displays individual lines, a command might look to you like it's two lines, so I've separated each command by an empty line. But anyway, type the whole command in one line, and when you've finished typing that command, hit the Enter key. Be sure to include the spaces I've included between each word here:

md tmp

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

delete C:\windows\system32\config\system

delete C:\windows\system32\config\software

delete C:\windows\system32\config\Sam

delete C:\windows\system32\config\security

delete C:\windows\system32\config\default

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

copy C:\windows\repair\default C:\windows\system32\config\default

Now you can relax for a minute. You've made it through the first part! Way to go! Now what did you just do? I'll tell you. You first made a temporary directory called "tmp" (md tmp), and then into it, you copied all the files that boot up Windows. Then you deleted all those startup files, one of which is the stinker that got you into this mess in the first place. After that, you copied into that same place fresh startup files from a special repair directory. When you reboot, Windows will look for those files where it always does, and there won't be a stinker in the bunch. The only thing is, there won't be all your settings for all those applications you run every day, either. But not to worry. Right now, you're sitting in something like a lifeboat -- it's not the original ship, but it'll get you back to where you need to go. We'll get everything back to that comfortable place, but only after we go through steps 2 and 3.

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