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Windows XP Crashed? Here's Help

A salvage mission into the depths of Windows XP, explained by a non-geek


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.

1: C:WINDOWS

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. By the way, if you don't know your administrator password, just try hitting the Enter key, and if that doesn't work, well, there's a fix for that, too. Just go to the following site and get the necessary tools to get you in: http://www.petri.co.il/forgot_administrator_password.htm

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:



Section Addendum Note: In the following commands, we are simply copying some existing files to a temporary location. This way, if anything should go wrong down the line, you will at least still have access to the original files. These original files are not used again in this tutorial, but you should be aware that you made a backup copy of them in the folowing directory:

c:\windows\tmp


md c:\windows\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


Important Addendum Note: When attempting the copy operations above, you may encounter an error message saying basically "unable to copy". The way arround this is to simply replace the copy (and delete) commands above with the following:
cd \windows\system32\config
rename system system.kpp
rename software software.kpp
rename sam sam.kpp
rename security security.kpp
rename default default.kpp
I use the extension .kpp becuase windows XP sometimes likes to use the .bak extension itself and unlike the copy commands above, we are not putting our backup copies in the windows tmp directory, but rather we are leaving them in thier original directory (but with the .kpp extension, so that windows will ignore them.). As I said before, these are just backup files, but it is good to know where they are if the repair fails and you ever need them. Note: The delete is no longer necessary becuase rename is basically like a "copy and delete" operation in one.






Section Addendum Note: In the following commands, we are simply copying some repair (basically default window install) files so that we can get windows XP to boot. (It will look awful and none of previous setup and programs will show up, but that is fine.) We simply need to make windows runnable so that we can do the next parts (that will retore our full configuration as it was prior to the crash).



copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\system\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\system\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\system\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\system\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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Related Keywords:Windows XP crash, recovery Console, boot XP, how to fix XP, booting problems, wont boot, corrupted registry, tutorial, crashed, Charlie White

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