Article ID: 837330 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you join a computer to a domain or when you log on to a domain member computer, you may notice that the size of the registry increases substantially. If the registry becomes too large, Windows may no longer start. When this problem occurs, you may receive the following error message when you start your computer:
Windows 2000 could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
This problem may occur if Group Policy was used to apply large and complex discretionary access control list (DACL) entries to registry hives. When machine policy settings are applied, the size of the System hive may increase. In this scenario, when you have a complex DACL to apply to registry hives, and when these settings cause the DACLs to propagate to other registry objects, all the following behaviors may occur:
To resolve this problem, reduce the complexity of the DACL settings that your Group Policy objects apply to the registry hives.
To work around this problem, manually copy the System registry hive to remove the "white space" or fragmentation that occurs when the large DACLs are overwritten by smaller and more explicit DACLs. To do this, follow these steps:
The size of the registry hive increases because many large DACLs are applied to many registry keys. However, when those DACLs are later overwritten by smaller DACLs, the size of the registry hive does not decrease. Instead, a "hole" or "white space" that is the size of the original DACL is left in the registry hive. This white space is removed when you copy the file, when you save the file, or when you run a registry scrubber on the file. The white space is removed because when the file is copied, saved, or scrubbed, only the data is saved. The white space is not saved. The size of the registry hive cannot decrease in other circumstances because it can only be reduced from the end of the file and not from inside the file.
For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(https://support.microsoft.com/kb/831260/ )"\WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM is corrupt" error message when you try to restart your Exchange 2000 server
Article ID: 837330 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 1.1