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Error says Windows 2000 could not start because system32 file is missing

When I turned on my PC this morning, I got this horrible message as stated: Windows 2000 could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt :<windows 2000 root>system32>ntoskrnl.exe

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I tried to make this a slave drive so I could save some very important files but it doesn't see the drive anymore as a slave like it used to. I tried knoppix to move the files from one drive to the other and I noticed that in the bad drive there was no system32 folder as in the good drive and both drives are w2k pro. What I did notice was a system32 file that would be about the same size as the system32 folder but is not recognizable. I had thought about booting to a start-up disk to maybe make a new system 32 folder but it tells me access is denied. Any ideas as to what I can do or who I might could call to get this fixed maybe?
These issues could be signs that your hard drive is failing and needs to be replaced. If you cannot access the drive as a slave unit, recovering your data may be difficult. You might try doing a repair installation using the Windows 2000 Setup disks to recover your data. Before beginning the repair, let Windows 2000 Setup Manager run checkdisk (or run it from the Recovery Console) to look for bad sectors. If the repair installation is successful, copy your critical files to a backup medium and then decide if you want to continue using the disk.

This was first published in May 2004

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