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Dell XPS 210 running windows XP sp3, fixing blue screen c0000218 error

I am working on a Dell XPS 210, running windows XP sp3. It had a blue screen stop error, c0000218. I searched microsoft and found the fix. In the process, I was able to complete the first step; boot to the recovery console, and copy/rename the system.bak, software.bak, sam.bak, security.bak and default.bak files from c:\windows\repair to c:\windows\system32\config. The computer then booted to windows. The next step is to harvest the same files from a restore point (with the correct configuration) and boot back into recovery console to load them. However, now that the computer boots to XP, the keyboard and mouse do not function (they are recognized and work during system post, but once windows loads, they are no longer recognized) The computer only has usb ports for input devices (no ps2 or serial ports of any kind). I looked through the BIOS menu's, and see no options for USB legacy support. I have tried booting the computer with the keyboard plugged into each USB port (2 stack on the back, 4 stack on the back and 2 stack on the front), none of them worked. The computer came with a bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse, which I tried, then obtained a wired USB keyboard and tried it. The only way to access the restore point files is through loading windows, as I understand it. I am desperate to find a solution so as to prevent re-loading windows entirely. Additionally, I tried to access the computer through the ethernet port, to no avail. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

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Update, 06/02/2009: I didn't receive any replies, so I pressed on. I am leaving my solution in an effort to help anyone else who may be running into this same scenario.

In order to proceed to the second step of the microsoft fix for the c0000218 stop error, I needed to harvest system.bak, software.bak, sam.bak, security.bak and default.bak files from a system restore point, but could not log into windows to access those files do to a lack of any input device loading past the system post. Ultimately, I pulled the hard drive out of the computer, and connected it to another pc via a sata to usb adapter. Once connected, I was able to access the drive through an explorer window. The system restore files were not accessable by default, so I had to a) enable "view hidden and system files" and then b) on the system restore directory, change the security settings to allow everyone to read/write. Then I was able to navigate to the appropriate files, copy them to a temp directory at the drive root, and set the securty back to only allow the system to access the system restore. I reinstalled the drive into the affected Dell XPS system, and booted back into the recovery console, continuing the microsoft fix.

The computer booted back up, but the bluetooth keyboard/mouse still would not function, preventing me from logging into windows. However, a wired usb keyboard did work this time, but ONLY if plugged into the second (from the top) usb port of the rear 4-stack. Once logged into windows, I was able to reload and re-pair the usb keyboard/mouse, and perform the final step, which is performing a system restore from a point about a month prior to the whole mess.

Since then,  the computer has remained functional, but still has residual issue's passing the "bluetooth usb input" from the system post to windows. When this occurs, I can plug the usb wired keyboard into the afore mentioned usb port to login, then the bluetooth set works fine. In researching the original cause, I am thinking the problem stemmed from installing the Windows XP Service Pack 3. I am going to uninstall service pack 3, and see what happens. Perhaps I will load the "gulp" Vista upgrade that came with the computer and see if it resolves the bluetooth keyboard issue. Any thoughts or suggestions are still welcomed!

FYI, Click HERE for the microsoft knowledge base article, "how to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting."

Thanks, all!

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2 Bronze

Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop, Win XP SP3, NTFS file format, c0000218 error and BSOD.

I got the dreaded c0000218 error also and thanks to meeceplex I was on the road to a solution.

I found out that there are 5 files that make up the registry called "the hive" and in my case the SOFTWARE file was corrupted. I had to find a good set of registry files and then insert them at the right location.The issues I considered were :

  1. My Dell recovery disk is SP 2 and I am at SP 3. (Other earlier issues made that difference a significant nightmare)
  2. Microsoft says to replace all 5 files for the temporary fix but that could render hardware inop as it did meeceplex above.
  3. Do I chance just replacing the SOFTWARE file and have it crash beyond hope or follow Microsoft?
  4. The repair (replacement) files were from 3 years earlier when I first started my new system, How will that affect my login and access to files?
  5. The NTFS file system is more secure and creates other problems in this situation . 
  6. I can't get the Restore files without being in Wndows to change security settings and I can't get into Windows because the registry is bad. Rock and hard spot!

After much handwringing I took a shot and replaced just the SOFTWARE file.The key is to only boot into Safe Mode as that prevents a lot of different processes from executing. Here's how I did it :

  1. Start the Recovery Console (by inserting Dell Windows Install disk) and go to the c:\windows\system32\config  directory and then type DIR. You will see the list of files and there should be these files: DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, and SYSTEM. There will be other files there but you want the ones with no suffixes (I.E. SYSTEM not system.LOG)
  2. Rename the offending file (in my case it was the SOFTWARE file) with the suffix .OLD  ....type      ren software software.old
  3. Now in the directory C:\WINDOWS\REPAIR you will find the same 5 files. These were created when you started windows the very first time. They are outdated so not sure what will happen.
  4. Copy just the SOFTWARE file to the c:\windows\system32\config  directory.  .. type   copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config
  5. Double check it's there by   DIR command.
  6. Type EXIT and then remove disk and turn OFF computer.

I had to get windows to start in SAFE mode so I could find the Restore files located in the C:\System Volume Information directory. With NTFS this directory is locked down and can only be accessed by changing the permissions in SAFE mode. You can't change permissions in the Recovery Console...ARGHH!

Restart and press F8 to assure Safe mode (I selected "Safe Mode With Networking" so I could save data to my LAN if it worked. SUCCESS! My Windows loaded and I was able to save data and follow the Microsoft directions for CACLS ( ) .

I found that the RESTORE function doesn't work in Safe mode. It said that there were NO restore points and yet I knew there were. After doing the CACLS process I was able to find the restore points in the directory. They are named weird but all you have to do is save them to a TEMP directory  IN THE WINDOWS DIRECTORY and then rename them.  Example  _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE becomes SOFTWARE. Get all 5 of them.  If they are not saved in the windows directory you will not be able to access them when you restart the Recovery Console.

Restart the Recovery Console and :

  1. Rename the current 5 files in the c:\windows\system32\config  directory with a suffix (Microsoft says delete them but I wanted to keep them just in case). I used software.bad, system.bad....etc.
  2. Now take the 5 files you saved in the TEMP directory and copy them into the c:\windows\system32\config  directory.
  3. Type EXIT, remove Windows disk and restart machine.

Mine booted up and I had no issues at all.

Basically you just have to replace the 5 "hive" files with the "hive" files saved in a Restore directory that were good. The trick with NTFS is gaining access to those files.

A wise thing to do to make this process easier is to backup these "hive" files to the windows directory somewhere so the are easily accessed without going through this pain. Now if I can just remember to DO IT :emotion-6:




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