Error Message When You Install Windows XP: "STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}"


When you try to install Microsoft Windows XP on a new hard disk that is formatted with the NTFS file system, you may receive the following error:
Stop: c0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate
This error occurs after Windows XP copies the installation files to the hard disk and the computer restarts.


This problem may occur if either of the following conditions is true:
  • The hardware where you are trying to install Windows XP may not be compatible with Windows XP.
  • The hard disk where you are trying to install Windows XP may be damaged.


Step 1: Make sure that the hardware Is compatible with Windows XP

For the latest compatibility information, visit the following Microsoft Web site:For additional information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

255036 Microsoft Support Policy on Hardware Not On Windows NT HCL

314062 The Latest Windows XP Hardware Compatibility List

If the hardware is listed on the latest Windows XP hardware compatibility list, see step 2.

Step 2: Use the recovery console to confirm that the hard disk or file system Is not damaged

Important We recommend that only advanced users or administrators use the Recovery Console.

Note Only the Administrator account can access the Recovery Console.
  1. Start your computer from the Windows XP CD drive. If prompted, select any options that you must select to start from the CD drive.

    Note To start your computer from the Windows XP CD drive, your CD drive or DVD drive must be configured to do this. For information about how to configure your computer to start from the CD drive or DVD drive, see the documentation that is included with your computer or contact the computer manufacturer.

  2. When you are prompted to select Repair or Recover, press R. This starts the Microsoft Recovery Console.

    Note You may have to enter the number to specify the Windows XP installation in the hard disk.
  3. When you are prompted, type the Administrator password. If the Administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.
  4. Use the chkdsk command-line tool to examine the hard disks. At the command prompt, type chkdsk /r, and then press ENTER.
  5. Read the results, and then take any steps that you must take to complete the process. For example, you may be prompted to run chkdsk /f to fix certain problems.
  6. Restart the computer, and then try to run Setup again.

Step 3: Replace the hard disk

If the hard disk is damaged and cannot be repaired, you may have to replace it. Contact your computer manufacturer, the retailer where you bought your computer, or a qualified repair technician for information about how to replace the hard disk.

For more information about how to use the chkdsk command-line command to check and repair a damaged hard disk, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

307654 How to install and use the recovery console in Windows XP

314058 Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console

313348 How to partition and format a hard disk in Windows XP


For more information about this error when it occurs on already-established systems, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

307545 How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting


Article ID: 830084 - Last Review: Oct 23, 2008 - Revision: 1