"\WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM is corrupt" error message when you try to restart your Exchange 2000 server or your Exchange Server 2003

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Article ID: 831260 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you restart a computer that is running Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server or Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, you receive the following error messages:
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM.ced

CAUSE

This problem occurs because of a condition in Exchange Server that may cause the System hive to unexpectedly grow. The System hive is limited to approximately 10.3 MB. This is because the System hive and the Microsoft Windows kernel must be less than 16 MB when Windows starts.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this problem, you must first recover from the registry condition that kept your computer from starting. After you start your computer, install the hotfix that is described in this article to resolve the problem that caused your System hive to grow beyond the 10.3 MB limit.

Restore or repair the registry

To recover from the registry condition that is described in this article, use one of the following methods:
  • Restore your registry from a working backup. To restore the registry, you must have a previously-created backup of the registry. For additional information about how to restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    322755 How to back up, edit, and restore the registry in Windows 2000
  • Use the Windows 2000 Registry Repair Utility (Chkreg.exe) to repair the registry. Use this utility if you do not have a backup of your registry.

    For additional information about how to obtain and use the Windows 2000 Registry Repair Utility, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=56D3C201-2C68-4DE8-9229-CA494362419C&displaylang=en

Exchange Server 2003

Service pack information

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Microoft Exchange Server 2003. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
836993 How to obtain the latest service packs for Exchange Server 2003

Exchange 2000 Server

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, submit a request to Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support
Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.
Component: System Attendant

The English version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in coordinated universal time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.
Date         Time   Version            Size    File name
--------------------------------------------------------------
23-Dec-2003  03:55  6.0.6552.0      4,370,432  Adcadmin.dll     
23-Dec-2003  03:55  6.0.6552.0         69,632  Ccmproxy.dll     
23-Dec-2003  03:55  6.0.6552.0      2,109,440  Cdoexm.dll       
23-Dec-2003  03:55  6.0.6552.0      8,470,528  Exadmin.dll      
23-Dec-2003  03:55  6.0.6552.0      3,850,240  Excluadm.dll     
23-Dec-2003  03:56  6.0.6552.0      1,867,776  Exmgmt.exe       
23-Dec-2003  03:42  6.0.6552.0        720,896  Exsp.dll         
23-Dec-2003  03:56  6.0.6552.0      1,347,584  Exwmi.dll        
23-Dec-2003  03:56  6.0.6552.0         73,728  Inproxy.dll      
23-Dec-2003  03:56  6.0.6552.0      2,973,696  Mad.exe          
23-Dec-2003  03:56  6.0.6552.0        811,008  Madmsg.dll       
23-Dec-2003  03:55  6.0.6552.0      4,698,112  Maildsmx.dll     
23-Dec-2003  03:27  6.0.6552.0         57,344  Oabgen.dll       
23-Dec-2003  03:56  6.0.6552.0         77,824  Pcproxy.dll      
23-Dec-2003  03:56  6.0.6552.0         94,208  X400prox.dll
Note Because of file dependencies, this hotfix requires Exchange 2000 Server Service Pack 3 (SP3). For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
301378 How to obtain the latest Exchange 2000 Server service pack

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.
This problem was first corrected in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2.

MORE INFORMATION

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

After you apply this hotfix, you must add the following subkey to the registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\MSExchangeSA\LegacyCodeExecutionLevel
To add this subkey, follow these steps:
  1. Start Registry Editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Locate and click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\MSExchangeSA
  3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value. Add the following value information to this subkey:

    Value name: LegacyCodeExecutionLevel
    Value type: DWORD

    The registry subkey should now appear as:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\MSExchangeSA\LegacyCodeExecutionLevel
You can set the value of this subkey to any one of the following values:
  • 0: Use this setting if you do not want to exclude anything. All the code will be run.
  • 1: Use this setting if you want to exclude the legacy code that is safe to exclude, but include the code that can have high destabilization impact.
  • 2: Use this setting if you want to exclude all the legacy code.

    Note This setting is a high risk setting. If you set this value to 2, the Exchange System Attendant (MAD) does not apply any of the security policies to the registry.

Properties

Article ID: 831260 - Last Review: October 25, 2007 - Revision: 4.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server
Keywords: 
kbautohotfix kbhotfixserver kberrmsg kbqfe kbfix kbexchange2000presp4fix kbbug KB831260

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