How to restore the registry when Windows XP won't boot at all

many thanks to the PC Guru

If the Windows XP registry is badly corrupted, you may be unable to start Windows even in safe mode, preventing you from using System Restore. However, you can restore the registry backups contained in a restore point using the Recovery Console.


To carry out the steps described below you must have access to a Microsoft Windows XP installation CD, which you can boot from to access the Recovery Console.

If you don't have a Windows XP CD, you can carry out the same steps using a different boot CD such as Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD. The same principles, if not the same commands, could also be applied when using a Linux-based recovery disc such as the Ultimate Boot CD.

Check the boot priority in the Bios settings to ensure the computer will boot from CD-Rom.

Boot from your Windows XP CD.

Start Windows Setup.

Press R to access the recovery console.

Select your Windows installation.

Type the administrator password (just press enter if you don't have one.)

Enter the following commands:

CD C:\

CD ?system volume information_resto~1?


Pick the restore point (RPx) you wish to use, using the folder date stamps to guide you.

Enter the commands:

CD RPx (x is the restore point you chose)


Copy the registry backups so that they overwrite the existing registry files:

COPY _registry_machine_system C:\Windows\System32\Config\System

COPY _registry_machine_software C:\Windows\System32\Config\Software

COPY _registry_machine_sam C:\Windows\System32\Config\Sam

COPY _registry_machine_security C:\Windows\System32\Config\Security

COPY _registry_user_.default C:\Windows\System32\Config\Default

Type the command exit to close the Recovery Console and restart the computer.

Applies to

Microsoft Windows XP

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