Home > How To: > The registry cannot load the hive (file)

The registry cannot load the hive (file)

Problem: The following blue screen appears

STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
\SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE
or its log or alternate.
It is corrupt, absent, or not writeable.

After the message, the computer automatically reboots.

These solutions assume that you have decent knowledge of the windows directory structure and command line. You must boot into the Windows XP CD and select Recovery Console. This is where the nitty gritty starts.

Solution 1:

cd system32\config
ren software software.bak
copy c:\windows\repair\regback\software

If for any reason, there is no regback (which occurs in many cases), then you will have to use Solution 2.

Solution 2:

cd system32\config
ren software software.bak
copy c:\windows\repair\software

[reboot]

Warning: This second solution will allow Windows to bootup. However it will restore the system to it’s first successful installation time. Registry entries will not exist for installed products. If you get to this stage, it is good to perform a System Restore on the computer to an earlier time. If you cannot perform a restore, then you might as well start reinstalling software that is essential.

To my knowledge (as of the time of writing this), If you get to this point, you might as well pull the data you have to get off and reinstall the OS. Otherwise, if you can work around it, then things should of course be peachy.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome. I will modify this article accordingly.

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  1. February 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    At this point I would recommend you to try out those 3rd party registry tools first (if you are able to log in to the OS). Otherwise, re-installation is much more recommended.

  2. February 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I definitely agree with you that reinstallation is probably the best option. :)

  3. Ant
    March 18, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Actually, there’s a better solution to this problem. Boot up with your UBCD4WIN CD (see http://www.ubcd4win.com – everybody should have one).

    One of the registry tools, Registry Restore Wizard, allows you to do a cold System Restore. You can restore to any of the restore points that exist on the computer. Do a system restore also reestablish the registry files, so this is a neat solution.

    Of course, if System Restore is turned off, you’re out of luck!

  4. March 18, 2009 at 5:35 am

    That is something I am definitely going to check out. Thanks for the tip. :)

  5. mei
    April 4, 2009 at 2:01 am

    hi, can you show me step by step on how to do it, because no matter how i put in the xp cd or boot it all comes to the same blue screen.thanks

  6. September 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I found your blog doing a search for PC repair.

    Interesting. I wish I could help more with the discussion.
    I solved my problem so my systems are working fine at the moment.

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