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"C:\windows\system32\config\system was missing or corrupted"

I was working away quite happily on my 2 year old second user Inspiron 5150 last night when I got the infamous blue screen (a KERNEL Stack error) and a message to restart. When I did this I got a Cardbus NIC failure followed by the "no bootable device press F1 to retry or F2 to enter Setup" message. All the bootable devices had turned blue in the setup screen. My hard disk was being detected as 60 GB which is correct.
I had a look in the knowledge base and found out about booting from my Windows XP CD and pressing R to use the Recovery console, which I did and ran CHKDSK /p which reported no errors. I then tried restarting and got the missing config message as shown in the topic title. I can do a DIR in DOS and see what's on my HD but when I try to change directory to C:/WINDOWS I get access denied.
I don't want to lose my data (I have the files for a website that I've been working on for 2 months on there) so should I reinstall Win XP to a new directory or just overwrite the old one and reapply SP1 and SP2 ? I know I will probably lose My Documents etc but I think I can live with this if the other directories and data is safe using this method.
Can anyone advise me what's the best way forward please ?
Forgot to mention that I also tried to access the C:/DELL directory from DOS in case there was a Utility I could use to recover my HD but I also got Access Denied on this.  As I am the second user of this laptop I don't have the Dell Utilities or Drivers CDs. Is there somewhere I can download their contents using my Desktop so I can make a back up Utilities CD ?

Message Edited by Jannii on 11-24-2005 04:10 AM


I seem to have made this a sticky somehow can someone reset t to a normal post please. Sorry n00b at work.

Message Edited by Jannii on 11-24-2005 04:12 AM

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