C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\system corrupt

I was asked to work on a laptop that was having issues staying on, I finally fixed the power switch and got the thing running. It started to boot and then I got the error "C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\system is corrupt or missing" And then it rambles on about the recovery console, thats fine and dandy and all but the problem is that this machine was from compaq -_- so the recovery console was built into a secondary partition. I got the recovery console to run after a little while and it keeps freezing at 65%. So my question is is there any way to replace this system file? besides using the Hp recovery console? (which doesn't even offer a repair install it just formats). It might already be too late, it may have partially formatted the drive which would ruin my day.... Am i better off setting this person up with a free copy of Ubuntu Linux? Or can i format the windows xp partition manually with something like hirens boot cd and use the recovery console from there? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! :D

All i know about the system is
Its a compaq (I don't know the model)
Windows xp media center edition
it has a Celron signal core processor
Its rather outdated come to think of it....
A gig of ram
That's all i can remember about it
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More about windows system32 config system corrupt
  1. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545/en-us

    I just remove the hard drive from the computer with the corrupted registry and connect it to a running computer.
  2. Its already too late, I let it stay running in the hp recovery console and it reset it to factory. I was working on it remotely for the past few hours setting it up for the owner. thank you for the reply i didnt think of that....
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