"windows could not start..." system32 virus?

I just tried to ghost an external HD to another which also is plugged in a usb port. It locked up then when I rebooted I got the message 'Windows could not start because the following file is missing: \windows\system32\config\system"

This went on to say that this repair could be done with the XP install disk. So I put this in and when I hit the R to repair the blue screen of death came up. It had the error of


One of the hard drive I just recovered for a relative and got the data off it. The other is a refurbished from Electronicscafe (Ebay/Victor business).

I am presently running Avira Rescue disk to try and catch what is happening.

I tried Safe Mode but that won't start either.
I am fairly careful with security on my machine. Super Antispyware (purchased), Windows Defender, Avast (purchased), Malware Bytes...

Ironically, I have been trying to fix a neighbors machine with a similar problem except his just goes in an endless loop from startup to diagnostic to windows sign on screen to blue screen. (NO I have not plug swapped anything between the two. Only diagnostic CDs)

What is going on here? Presently on the other machine (my neighbors Acer laptop with XP home) I am running a deep scan with SpinRite.

My machine is HP desktop AMD x2 3 GB ram XP Pro 50% free HD.

From what I have read on Google this may be a registry issue... yuk.
Help? (presently I am working on a different computer than the one I receive my emails. I will check back OfteN!)
14 answers Last reply
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  1. Lots of reading... Thanks. I will try...
  2. I tried to use the Microsoft 'Guided Help' download for this problem but when I would open it it would just begin to open and then disappear.

    I had put the download on a thumb drive and opened the computer up using the mini XP from a Hiren's disk.

    As for continuing this process from Microsoft manually, I am very hesitant to start adding and deleting registry entries.

    Any other ideas for this?

    More information:
    The blue screen I get is named 'bad_pool_caller'... I have run mem test and it all (3GB) passed.
    Still in the dark as for reasons this won't start up normally.
  3. Follow the guid and try a windows repair.

    If you put the disc in and hit R, that would take you to the repair console. You want to advance past that to repair your windows install.
  4. It's actually easier to recovery from a corrupted registry by connecting the hard drive to a working Windows XP computer.
  5. I worked on this machine for over six hours trying all these works mentioned. I realized that after that amount of time that I may be making matters worse. (I need this computer for certain aspects of my business.)

    Consequently I sent it off to a well-spoken of shop to get repaired... That was three days ago and still no fix yet. They indicated it may have something to do with an internal modem or it may have a certain virus that has a 'scheduler' in it that continues to reinfect.

    Is there a certain protocol to a repair like this so a person can avoid or minimize the time spent on 'hit or miss' or 'trying this or that' until something clicks? This all seems so time consuming. Correct diagnosis seems to be the first step. Correct?

    Thank you all for your help.
  6. The shop may be well-spoken of but it doesn't seem like they know what they're doing. Like I said in my earlier post, I use a IDE (or SATA) to USB cable to connect the hard drive to a running computer, copy the 5 registry files to C:\Windows\Temp, gain access to the System Volume folder and start restoring the newest version of the backup copies of the registry files until I find the set that works. Doesn't usually take longer than 30 minutes.
  7. Unfortunately, the cause can be sometimes elusive. A bad pool caller is a general error with a few different possible causes.

    I would think with 3 days, they would've had it figured out by now though.
  8. Sigh... thanks Grumpy and Aford.

    I have the original hard drive that I tried to clone. I am glad I did not clone it because even though Iwas able to see it with administrative storage tool I cannot access the data.

    This is the drive that caused all the problem to begin with.
    I have tried a variety of ways to access this and recover the HD at no avail... as of yet. (All this for a relatives computer HD 3,000 miles away.)

    Thank you for your help and reference directions.
  9. You're welcome. Good luck.
  10. I am getting my computer back from the shop on Friday. They called and said the problem was in the drivers and that I had to reinstall all of my applications again but the OS and data was still in it.

    "We shall see' said the blind carpenter as he picked up his hammer and saw.

    I will report on how this goes from here.
  11. :lol:
    My guess, is they couldn't figure out what was going on, so they backed up your files, and reinstalled windows.
  12. Yes aford10... That is what they did. They had said that there was probably at least one driver that was corrupt but there was now way to tell which one or ones.

    I cannot be skeptical bacause I could not solve nor find out the problem. I just know I have work to do now that I am familiar with... backup support of applications.

    Thank you for everyone's input and responses. Makes me feel like I am not alone in my problems. That is a very important thing in this quagmire of traps, mazes and multi-solutions.

  13. Glad we could help in some way.
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