I got a called from my father the other day asking for a “favor.” His Dell Windows XP Home system refused to boot, giving the following error:
Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
It would then proceed with a memory dump. I figured it was going to be an ugly repair-type install on top of the existing filesystem, followed by reinstallation of all the [Dell cruft and] applications he uses.
I was pleased to find, via a quick google search, Microsoft KB article 307545, entitled How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting.
I followed it step-by-step, using the recovery console to swap copies of the registry around to make the system bootable, then extracting a recent good copy of the registry and putting that into place. The last step was to use System Restore to revert the whole system to its state (corresponding to the version of the registry). That part didn’t work, for whatever reason.
But, the system changes very little and the things my Dad wanted to have working all worked fine. It’s good to exercise these DR chops every now and again, and impressing my Dad was fun, too. 🙂