blue screen crash during boot

this problem is occurring on my new XP system, epox 8k5a2+, maxtor diamondmax 9, win 2k pro. system has only been booted 12 or so times, and has never run more than 4 continuous hours. Everything was fine last night, I shut down the system properly, then this morning upon loading 2k (at screen with blue progress bar) i get a blue screen stop error along the lines of 'registry error. cannot load hive file. sysroot\system32\config\software.' it will sit for about 5 seconds then shut down. any suggestiong before I just reformat?

guess I should have made ghost one of the first installs :/
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  1. forgot 2k cd has repair options, but i just tried to recover; however, i don't have an emergency repair disk and my 2000 installation could not be detected. what now?
  2. ok i guess i posted this prematurely because i keep reading and answring my own questions. i plan to install 2k on a different drive and create a disk that way
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