Windows XP pro - won't startup

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clueless! | 12:23 Sat 08th Mar 2008 | Computers
16 Answers
My XP computer won't startup - I've tried to use system restore disks but I get msg "an error occurred while setup was updating partition information on 238473mb........setup cannot continue" and I can't go any further.

I don't know what to do next as I'm not that knowledgeable about computers. Any ideas anyone? I'm hoping to avoid an expensive repair job!!


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Have you tried using the system through Safe Boot? It may or may not be of help to ateast get into the operating system. (Read about it here: )

Unfortunately, clueless!, this is a similar problem I encountered about a month ago.. My trip to the shop indicated a hardware problem. Since my computer (a PC) was about 8 years old and since even the diagnostic was going to cost about $125 (I'm in the U.S.) I decided it was time to buy a new one. The prices have really come down (I'm not rying to sell you a computer, by the way) for a far superior computer than my old Compaq. Another aside... I had read some of the horror stories about the Vista operating system. I can only say that I'm totally satisfied with it. The speed is amazing and the 1 gigabyte RAM (actually it simulates RAM) system greatly advances the useability.

Having said all that, Best of luck!
Question Author
Thanks for your response,

I'll have a read of the link you've suggested, as I hadn't been able to get into safe mode this morning.

I've looked on the internet and it would seem this problem isn't uncommon, and I think maybe it can be fixed but perhaps i'm not the one do to it!! As the pc is less than 18 months old I'm not looking for a new one if I can help it! I think it'll have to be looked at by a professional!

ps i've got vista on my laptop and apart from minor annoyances such as certain things not being compatible with vista yet, i've found it ok.
if it's got that bad .... personally I'd start again .... delete the partition - re-create, format and re-install.

better than trying to glue it together
just re-read .... thought you said system restore ... not restore discs....

that makes it a little more serious (possibly)
the big problem is (sorry 'bout this) you!!

a possible fix isn't that difficult .... but as one of the self professed clueless (and you 'aint alone)... it's not going to be easy.

most of the disc mfrs provide a toolkit for this sort of thing

for instance n-US&name=MaxBlast_5&vgnextoid=7add8b9c4a8ff01 0VgnVCM100000dd04090aRCRD

At this point ... I suspect that either your HDD is on the blink ... or that the partition table is corrupt. Relatively easy to fix ... but only if you know where you're going

the trouble is this sort of utility is extremely sharp!!
one slip ... and that's it.

If it's a desktop the easiest and cheapest solution is possibly to fit a new hdd (you could probably manage it without too much trouble

Question Author
ACtheTROLL, thanks for your input.

I may not have been clear earlier, the following may clarify matters.

The initial error msg was "Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM "

I found a possible solution on the Microsoft website by referring to this error message, (
which involves accessing the command prompt.
Unfortunately as the PC won't boot into any mode, even safe mode, I am unable to follow instructions from Microsoft.

In desperation (and have since been advised by IT dept at work) to try using the installation disk to do a repair, which also does not work - this is where the error msg in original post comes from.

I just don't know if there's any way to get into the system, any helpful suggestions?

we had the same error message .phoned packard bell , they said to press f11 on the top row of the keyboard. its taken our computer back to the time we bought it, but at least it now works
press it when your computer starts up and keep pressing it .
Question Author
kazdek, thank you for your (non-offensive) suggestion.

Unfortunately this did not work for me. I've put in a further request to the support desk where I purchased the machine but i'm kind of expecting to have to replace the hard drive.

Thanks for your kind help.
what happened when you pressed it?
Question Author
Hi, F11 doesn't do anything different; I get the same error message, and then the computer re-starts itself without going into windows.

I've had a response from the helpdesk of the people I bought it from, they advised me it sounds like hard disk failure :-(

I had an HP Compaq PC and the system recovery button was F10 on startup not F11. Maybe you could try that.
Question Author
Daffy - thanks for the suggestion, in desperation I had tried other "F" commands but no luck with any!
Have you installed any RAM or any PCI device in the PC since you got it? Our Compaq kept getting messages like this last year and we were told it was a hard disk failure.I bought a new hard drive but after installing it and attempting to put XP onto it we discovered that we were still getting the error messages. I put the old hard drive back in and removed a RAM chip (after a suggestion on a forum) and hey presto the damned PC worked fine.It was caused all along by a faulty RAM chip
Question Author
No, I've not put anything on it.
I'm afraid i'm out of ideas then clueless. Do you have any local computer repair people in your area? I would avoid taking the PC to one of the big shops as they charge a fortune. Have a look in your local paper or get some recommendations from friends. I know how frustrating it is when your PC gives up the ghost,thankfully I managed to fix ours without paying someone to do it.Good luck with yours.xx
Question Author
Thanks Daffy - fortunately there's a local shop that seems to be reasonable, next stop repairman!

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