startup failure

I start up my computer today to find this written on a blue screen:

STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
\systemRoot\System32\config\SOFTWARE
or its log or alternate
It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

Any of you people know how to fix this and prevent it from happening again?
I havent got a clue hopfully one of you can help me.
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  1. Possible Answer:

    <A HREF="http://www.onlineinstitute.com/windowsxp/messages/107.html" target="_new">C0000218</A>

    <A HREF="http://www.onlineinstitute.com/windowsxp/messages/171.html" target="_new">Possible Patch that seems to work!</A>

    <A HREF="http://support.microsoft.com/search/preview.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q318159" target="_new">Damaged Registry Repair and Recovery in Windows XP (Q318159)</A>

    Toejam31

    <font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
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  2. Ouch that's a bad one.

    <font color=red>:</font color=red> <font color=white>:</font color=white> <font color=blue>:</font color=blue>
  3. reformat the best solution?
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