My computer was acting strange today when I powered up. I am running a Dell computer with Windows XP SP3, upgraded from Windows 98.
When I booted up, neither ZoneAlarm or AVG icons appeared in my system tray. So I rebooted, ZoneAlarm launched, but AVG never did. An educational kids game (not internet) would not run, either, giving strange error messages about missing files.
I ran Malware Bytes, and it came back clean. Ran Spybot, which found several bugs. It repaired all but one, which said I needed to reboot to remove (Coupon Bar or something I think). I have not been able to reboot since. It has gotten progressively worse, and now I cannot even boot into safe mode.
I tried to do a repair with my Windows XP CD, and it says it can't find a version installed on the computer. UGH! Now when I boot up, it says "Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM." According to a Microsoft KB article, it recommends booting to a repair console and backing up system files and deleting them, but when I try to do the copy command, I get "Access is denied." If I try to do a "cd c:\windows" it says it cannot find the file or directory.
Am I just completely hosed with no option but to reinstall Windows (which was an upgrade from Windows 98, so will have to reinstall that too, and not sure if I will be able to find the key)? Or is there some way to recover this ugly mess?? HELP!