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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am helping family with their PC. It's a Compaq running XP (Case has a Home Edition sticker, but prompts indicate it's Pro. Either way, it's the OEM)

Problem is, they installed Norton 360 and started to get a Win32 error (they didn't write it down so no clue). Then when they tried to reboot, they get the lovely "We apologize for the inconvenience" screen that offers Safe mode options and Last known good configuration.

Regardless of which option I choose, atfer about 45 seconds to a minute the PC reboots back to the same screen. What's interesting, is if I choose boot normally, it almost loads XP. The XP splash screen (with the blure bar the moves from left to right) appears for a few seconds, then reboots again. If I choose safe mode, it starts to load (showing the list of what's loading) and only shows maybe 15 - 20 and then freezes. After a short while it reboots.

I have tried also manually loading the Safe Mode options screen (F8) and get the same results when I attempt to boot those options (Google results indicated that this in many cases made a difference).

So, here's the problem. They have no XP disks, and doing a reinstall is not really an option. I have a Home and a Pro CD, but as I mentioned above there is a question of what version is installed. I can't do a repair install if it's Pro because of the CD key(even then, not sure if I can repair install OEM version with retail CD)....

So, what are my options at this point to get it booting? I mean, it's seriously trying, just not making it.
Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I can access the recovery partition using my Ubuntu LiveCD. Using the LiveCD is there anyway I can find the windows key and can I copy this partition to create a backup disk?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK, I seriously need some help here. I found some info that if I copied the folder C:\Windows\System32\Config to a USB thumb drive and on a working system I could run Magic Jellybean keyfinder to get the windows key. BUT...when I look at this location, it is completely empty. I checked my own system (dual boot Ubuntu/XP) and I have data there. So, am I correct in assuming that the files here somehow got deleted? (No, they're not hidden).

Options?

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was able to retrieve the registry hive from the System Volume Information folder and discovered that XP MCE retail edition has been installed, so it is NOT the OEM OS.
 
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