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Locked out of Windows because of a Corrupt Registry?

So you did not made a backup of the XP, 2000 or 2003 Registry, and you're locked out of Windows. Ok, relax, this is not the end of the world, your documents will still be there when we get you back into Windows.

If you have WinSafe XP installed simply boot to the Recovery Console and type
Type Winsafe.res You do not need to read anymore.

Now, the first question is, do you have FAT32 or NTFS? If you have your Windows Folder on a FAT32 partition this is going to be easy. You can use a Windows 9x or ME startup diskette and move the required files using MS DOS. If you don't have FAT32, . If you do not know what you have, insert a 9x startup diskette or CD and see if your computer can see the C drive. If not you have NTFS, read on. If you can read the C drive and you have Windows XP read the Section on Windows XP. If you cannot read it then read section on Repair Files after finishing this section.

If you have Windows on a NTFS partition, I hope you have previously installed the Recovery Console. If you haven't installed the Recovery Console and you are NOT locked out of Windows, install it now. To install the Recovery Console, insert your Windows CD, open the Run window, type the drive letter to your CDROM and :\I386\Winnt32 /cmdcon and then press enter. You will need to boot to the Recovery Console.

If you already are locked out of Windows and do not have the Recovery Console installed, you can still install the console. To install the Recovery Console, you will need your Windows CD. You will start reinstalling Windows using the R option. There are two R options, you want the first one offered; Repair Windows with the Recovery Console. This will install the Recovery Console temporarily instead of installing Windows. Then read the Section on Repair Files.


Windows XP

If you have Windows XP you can download WinSafe XP to backup and restore the Registry or you can continue reading and do it manually.

You're in luck, you have XP. XP makes current backups of the Registry in sub folders of the System Volume Information folder on the Windows Drive. This is a hidden folder, so you will need to remove the hidden attribute. Use the View Folders option in the Windows Explorer to view Hidden Files and Folder.

The Registry backup files can be found in the sub folder _restore{FB57....., The {FB57... can be anything that looks like {D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}. Then it will have a sub folder of RBx, the x is a number 0 to 1000. The higher the number the newer the backup is. The RBx folder will also have a sub folderSnapshot. Example: C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot. In here you will find files named:
_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM

Copy each of them to a temp folder in the Windows folder, like C:\Windows\newreg . Rename each file to remove the _REGISTRY_MACHINE_ part. Your new files will have names like SOFTWARE and SAM.

You will need to reboot to the Recovery Console or your startup diskette and move the files from C:\Windows\Newreg to C:\Windows\System32\Config and then reboot back to Windows. You should be back up and running Windows again with little or no lost information in the Registry. You can recover any information that is not in the new Registry using Registry Drill. See the Registry Drill section.


Windows 2k

Now the problem you will have is getting your old Registry information back. If you have a backup, it is now time to install it. If you do not have a backup or the backup is too old, read the Registry Drill section.


Registry Drill

Easy Desk has a tool, Registry Drill, that will load the Registry you could not boot up with into RegEdit. It can then create a repair file for you to import. See the help file in Registry Drill on how to make a repair file. This will allow you to import all your software settings into the current Registry.

If the Drill cannot load the damaged Registry, Easy Desk Software offers a service to repair the file. The fee is $50 if we can repair it


Repair Files

The Recovery Console will not let you move files around that are not within the Windows folder; so you will need to make two repairs to complete the restoration.

What we are going to do is to install a Registry that was created the last time you installed Windows. The Windows installation program made a set of backups for you. However, they have not been updated since you last installed Windows. This set of Registry files is pretty basic, and none of the software that you have installed since then is going to be in the Registry. Further on, we'll discuss how you can bring this basic registry up to date.

You will need to get to the Windows\ System32\ folder. Here you will find all your Registry files. You will need to locate the files (these files will have no extension) Default, Sam, Security, Software, and System. Rename them to something like Default.xxx so that they are available later.

Now you will need to go to the Windows\Repair folder, where you will find the backup files that the Windows installer made for you. Copy the files Windows\Repair\Default, Sam, Security, Software, and System to the Windows\System32\Config folder and reboot. You will be back in Windows. You will not have all your software functional but you will be in Windows to get your data.

To restore your system and settings without having to reinstall all your software, read the section Windows XP if you have Windows XP. If you have 2000 or 2003 read the section Windows 2k

 

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