If you get the error:
Windows could not start because the following files is missing or corrupt
\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM or \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SOFTWARE

  1. Insert and boot from your WindowsXP CD.
  2. At the first R=Repair option, press the R key
  3. Press the number that corresponds to the correct location for the installation of Windows you want to repair.
    Typically this will be #1
  4. Enter in the administrator password when requested
  5. cd \windows\system32\config
  6. Depending on which section was corrupted:
    ren software software.bad or ren system system.bad
  7. Depending on which section was corrupted
    copy \windows\repair\system
    copy \windows\repair\software
  8. Take out the CD ROM and type exit

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