Article ID: 306038 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q306038
When you start your computer, you may receive the following error message:
In Windows NT 4.0
In Windows 2000:
Windows NT could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
Windows 2000 could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
\WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEMced startup options for Windows 2000, press F8.
This issue may occur if Windows cannot allocate enough memory to the SYSTEM hive. The SYSTEM hive is typically around 3 MB, but when it is highly fragmented or damaged, its size may increase greatly. If a large number of programs have been installed and removed on your computer, or if the computer shares a large number of resources, the registry may become too large.
To resolve this issue, use the following methods in the order in which they are presented.
Method 1: Replace the SYSTEM HiveImportant: The WINNT\Repair folder contains a copy of the SYSTEM hive in the SYSTEM file. The SYSTEM hive is updated if you run the Rdisk.exe utility (available only with Windows NT), and then select the Update repair information option. If you have recently updated the SYSTEM hive by using the Rdisk.exe utility, go directly to "Method 3".
Replace the SYSTEM hive in the Config folder with the SYSTEM hive from the Repair folder. To do so, follow these steps:
Method 2: Restore the SYSTEM File from the SYSTEM.ALT Backup FileUse this method if the WINNT\Repair\System file is old and the Rdisk utility has not been run to update the repair information.
Method 3: Restore the SYSTEM Hive from BackupIf the preceding methods do not resolve the issue, create a parallel installation of Windows, and then restore the SYSTEM hive from a tape backup to the original WINNT\System32\Config folder.
When Windows starts, its memory is limited to 16 MB. If the SYSTEM hive exceeds the available memory, the computer cannot start and you receive one of the error messages that listed in the "Symptoms" section of this article.
Article ID: 306038 - Last Review: November 27, 2006 - Revision: 3.2