The Windows Registry is the configuration database for operating system and programs. The system registry files are very important; once a file is missing or damaged errors will occur. This post discusses how to deal with the situation when the system registry file is missing.

Please let MiniTool Solution help you in such a dilemma.

What is system registry file?

The registry, also known as Windows registry, is actually a hierarchical database of low-level settings, options, information, and other values of the software and hardware installed on the operating system (OS). The registry is not a single large file; instead, it's a set of discrete files called hives (each contains a registry tree). Both the device configuration and user preferences can be reflected in the file.

Where are the Windows registry files?

In fact, a new subkey will be created and saved in the system registry whenever a new application is installed. The related settings of that app are contained in the file: location, version, size, and so on. Typical registry hives locations:

  • DEFAULT : \system32\config\default
  • HKEY_USERS \UserProfile : \winnt\profiles\username
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SAM : \system32\config\sam
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM : \system32\config\system
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SECURITY : \system32\config\security
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE : \system32\config\software

Windows provides you with a Registry Editor to make changes to the registry files.

Windows Failed to Load: System Registry File Is Missing or Corrupt

While browsing the internet, I suddenly find there are lots of people talking about the problem system registry file is missing. Your computer will display the system registry file is missing or contains errors on a black/blue screen during the booting procedure. Then, you’ll be blocked out from the system, which means you need to restore the registry in order to access the OS successfully.

System registry file is missing

A large number of users said they were seeing the error message: Windows 7 failed to load because the system registry file is missing or corrupt. The truth is that the system registry file is missing or corrupt error is not exclusive to Windows 7. You may also encounter it in Windows 8, Windows 10, and even Windows XP. And the error codes after status are not all the same.

Extended reading:

You can also see the missing operating system error message on a black screen and don’t know how to fix this since it will prevent you from accessing the operating system. Please read this page to know what happens and how to deal with it.

[SOLVED] Operating System Not Found Error - How To Recover Data
[SOLVED] Operating System Not Found Error - How To Recover Data

It’s not the end of the world when operating system not found hits on you since I’ll provide some useful solutions for you.

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Causes of Missing Registry Files Windows 10/8/7/XP

You may see the following error messages on a black or blue screen of the computer.

  • Windows failed to load because the system registry file is missing. or corrupt.
  • The operating system couldn’t be loaded because the system registry file is missing or contains errors.
  • Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\COMFIG\SYSTEM.
  • Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.

What causes such an error message to appear?

Reason 1: the Windows registry is corrupted or damaged.

As mentioned above, the Windows registry is an important database in Windows. It may be broken due to many factors, such as power supply getting interrupted, disk writing errors, human error during the registry configuration, and virus invading into the computer.

[SOLVED] How To Recover Files Deleted By Virus Attack!

Reason 2: the BCD data is ruined.

There is no denying that the BCD (binary-coded decimal) data plays an important role in an operating system. Whenever the BCD data is corrupted, an underlying booting problem will appear to cause the system registry file error:

  • system registry file is missing or corrupt
  • \windows\system32\config\system is missing or corrupt

Reason 3: the startup configuration of the PC is not correct.

As I said, the BCD data is crucial for a system. So if the wrong BCD data is chosen for the PC startup process, the system registry file missing will show up. And this problem is more likely to occur when you have set up a dual boot system. In this case, you can access Windows Advanced Options Menu to choose the Last Known Good Configuration during startup.

Reason 4: the system file is broken.

Some users also reported that system file corruption should be blamed for the missing system registry file. In this case, you should run tools like DISM and SFC to settle down the system file corruption. If the situation is even more terrible, you have no choice but to reset every OS component through a repair install or a clean install process.

When the registry entries are needed by your system?

  • You try to change the security settings for certain reasons (top Windows security settings).
  • You are adding or changing the place of the latest hardware piece.
  • You are installing a new program or removing an old program on your computer.
  • You were using a trial version of an application before and now need to upgrade it to a purchased copy.

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How to Fix Missing Registry Files in Windows 10

#Fix 1: Use A Recovery Drive

The first method to introduce for system registry file missing/Windows System32 Config System missing is using a recovery drive. This might be the best way to resolve the issue. What do you need to create a recovery drive? 2 things are essential: another PC running the same operating system (OS) and a USB drive.

How to create a recovery drive and use it to fix the registry file missing error?

  1. Start another computer with the same OS and make sure it’s fully functional.
  2. Connect your USB stick to this computer and click Windows search on the taskbar.
  3. Type recovery drive and choose Create a recovery drive under Settings in the search result.
  4. Choose Yes to allow changes from Recovery Media Creator (please skip this step if such window doesn’t appear).
  5. The Recovery Drive wizard will appear; please follow the instructions to finish creating the recovery drive.
  6. Remove the USB drive and connect it to the problematic computer.
  7. Enter BIOS to change the boot sequence in order to boot from this USB drive.
  8. Look for the Refresh PC or other similar options and select it.
  9. Wait for the recovery to finish and restart the PC if necessary.

Create a recovery drive

Can’t enter BIOS when the Fast boot is enabled?

In this case, you should reboot your PC 3 times in a row to avoid Fast boot and enter BIOS settings. Then, you should change the boot order to make PC boot from the Recovery drive.

#Fix 2: Use Bootable System Installation Drive

The error message indicating the missing registry files in Windows 10/8/7/XP provides a 3 step solution itself:

Step 1: insert Windows installation disc and restart computer.

Step 2: choose language settings and then click Next.

Step 3: click Repair your computer.

So, using a system installation drive is an effective method for fixing Windows System32 not found.

What do you need to fix the critical registry error with the system installation drive? 3 things are essential: another PC that works fine, a USB drive with at least 8 GB free space, and the Media Creation Tool.

How to create a USB installation media and use it to fix the error?

  1. Download Microsoft Media Creation Tool.
  2. Connect the USB drive you have prepared.
  3. Run Media Creation Tool and click Accept.
  4. Choose Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC.
  5. Check USB flash drive and click Next.
  6. Check Use the recommended options for this PC and click Next.
  7. Remove the USB drive and connect it to the problematic computer.
  8. Access the Boot menu by pressing a certain button (vary from PC to PC) and change boot order.
  9. Select Repair and choose a recovery option.
  10. Wait for the recovery to complete.

USB flash drive

Sometimes, you realize there are useful data on the USB drive after it was made into an installation drive. Please connect it to a PC and follow the steps mentioned on this page to recover them.

#Fix 3: Use Bootable CD/DVD or USB Drive

There are many people saying they need to use the data contained in the non-bootable computer. For them, to recover data from the hard drive that fails to boot becomes the top priority.

What do they need? Also, 3 things are essential: another PC that can work, a spare USB drive or a CD/DVD disc, a hard drive/SD card or any other external storage device, and MiniTool Power Data Recovery. Please be advised that you need to choose a license that includes the snap-in WinPE Bootable Builder after looking at the comparison page).

How to create a bootable CD/DVD disc or a bootable USB drive?

  1. Connect the USB drive or insert the CD/DVD to another PC.
  2. Get and run MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
  3. Click on the Bootable Edition icon to run MiniTool Media Builder.
  4. Click WinPE-based media with MiniTool plug-in.
  5. Choose the media destination and click Yes in the pop-up window.
  6. Wait for the disk building process to end.
  7. Click Finish and remove the bootable disk from the current PC.


How to recover data from internal storage when your PC won’t boot?

  1. Connect the bootable disk and the external storage device to your computer with an error.
  2. Enter BIOS to set it to boot from this disk.
  3. Follow the instructions until you see the MiniTool PE Loader window.
  4. Click the first option to launch the recovery software.
  5. Select Logical Drives and specify a partition to search for files on it by clicking Scan.
  6. Wait for the scan and check the files you need.
  7. Click on the Save button to choose the external device and then click OK.
  8. Wait for the recovery to complete.

Launch software

Recover found files

MiniTool allows you to try the software before purchasing; just click the following button to download.

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#Fix 4: Reboot PC to the Last Known Good Configuration

  1. Reboot and wait for BIOS to complete POST (the screen with manufacturer logo and/or system information).
  2. Press F8 on the keyboard repeatedly until the initial screen of Advanced Boot Options appears.
  3. Look for the Last Known Good Configuration (advanced) option and select it by using the arrow keys.
  4. Press Enter to confirm and wait for your PC to boot.

Last Known Good Configuration (advanced)

#Fix 5: Use Bootrec.exe to Fix Boot Sequence

  1. Insert a valid installation media (if you don’t have, please create one).
  2. Restart the computer to see the initial Windows installation window.
  3. Select Repair your computer (in the bottom right or the bottom left corner).
  4. Select Troubleshoot under the Advanced Options menu.
  5. Choose Command Prompt.
  6. Type Bootrec.exe and hit Enter.
  7. Type bootrec.exe /fixmbr and hit Enter.
  8. Type bootrec.exe /fixboot and hit Enter.
  9. Type bootrec.exe /scanos and hit Enter.
  10. Type bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd and hit Enter.
  11. Wait for these commands to complete.
Note: You can also try these steps: create a bootable disk with MiniTool Partition Wizard -> reboot PC from this disk -> select the internal disk that can’t boot -> choose Rebuild MBR function from the left pane -> follow the instructions to complete.

Rebuild MBR

#Fix 6: Run SFC and DISM to Repair System File Corruption

  1. Repeat step 1~5 in fix 5.
  2. Type sfc/scannow and hit Enter.
  3. Wait for the scan to complete.
  4. Reboot PC. If the problem persists, please enter Command Prompt again.
  5. Type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth and hit Enter.
  6. Type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth and hit Enter.
  7. Type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and hit Enter.
  8. Wait for them to finish and reboot the PC.



The Command Prompt tool can be also used as a good tool to recover lost files.

#Fix 7: Perform A Clean/Repair Install

If all the above methods failed, you still encounter the same error, you need to reset every Windows component through a clean install or a repair install.

Please remember to recover data from the internal storage first by using the steps mentioned in fix 3.

If the above methods have helped you fix the system registry file error or the data recovery software have found back vital documents for you, please share them out to help more people. Thanks for your kindness!Click to Tweet


If you have read the above content carefully, you should know that the system registry file is missing or corrupt error is not as horrible as you think. There are many useful ways to fix the corrupted registry files in Windows 10/8/7 and even Windows XP.

What you should do when such error really appears on your PC is to stay calm and follow the steps in each method to try to repair the corruption yourself.

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