Windows XP Crashed? Here's Help
Page 4 of 4

Anyway, you're still not done. Don't worry, the magic is about to begin. Believe me, if you do this in front of your friends, they'll start thinking you're some kind of god. So, heavenly father, get ready to dazzle 'em.

Now it's time to place those files you just made visible to the Recovery Console where they belong. And to do that, we need to get back into the Recovery Console. So, make sure your CD is in the drive, and restart Windows, this time hitting any key when it tells you to do that if you want to boot from CD. Yes, you want to boot from CD, so you can launch your old cryptic pal, the Recovery Console. Type R after it goes through that file-reading routine that looks like an install but isn't. Then you're back into our dark-suited friend with its ominous command line. It's kinda like going into the basement to fix some broken pipe or something. But we're not scared. The command line is our flashlight and friend. Here we go:

Part 3
In part three, you delete the existing registry files, and then copy the System Restore Registry files to the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder:

From within Recovery Console, type the following commands:

Del c:\windows\system32\config\sam

Del c:\windows\system32\config\security

Del c:\windows\system32\config\software

Del c:\windows\system32\config\default

Del c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software

copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam

copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security

copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default

Now. You're done! Type exit and your computer will reboot into whichever restore file you chose. But wait. If it's not the right one, that's OK, you can now go into your System Restore area and pick a different restore point if you want. There's a whole calendar full of them in there. I bet you didn't know that Windows XP is watching just about every move you make, taking notes all the while. It can restore about any state you had on that machine. And the best part is, even when it's doing all that, it's still 10% faster than Windows 2000 according to our extensive tests here at the Midwest Test Facility. Here's how to get into that restore area if you're not happy with the current restore point:

1. Click Start, then click All Programs.

2. Click Accessories, and then click System Tools.

3. Click System Restore, and then click Restore to a previous Restore Point.

Sheesh, before this I hated the command line. Many of you probably still do. But when it saves your butt like this, you have to feel grateful. I should send out a badge of courage for all you intrepid souls who followed me into these dark gallows, the basement of Windows XP. I hope this routine was successful in bringing your computer back to life. I know how it feels to have your computer down for the count. As a wise old man once told me, "When your computer crashes, it's like your dog just died." He was so right. Excuse me now, I'm going to go get some work done on my Mac.

Charlie White, your humble storytellerCharlie White has been writing about new media and digital video since it was the laughingstock of the television industry. A technology journalist and columnist for the past eight years, White is also an Emmy-winning producer, video editor and shot-calling PBS TV director with 27 years broadcast experience. Talk back -- Send Chazz a note at

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