Windows XP Home indicating registry error

My Windows XP Home will not start. It boots to a blue screen that says Registry Error and indicates that Windows was shut down to protect itself. It then advises me to restart and disable any new hardware or software. Then it says if the screen appears again to start in safe mode. I tried to start in safe mode and it ends up at the same screen. Do you have any suggestions?
This sounds like a serious case of registry damage. There is a way to manually recover the system using older copies of the registry backed up using System Restore (provided it was turned on!), but it needs to be followed to the letter: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=307545. This method requires that you have a copy of the original Windows XP system CD handy.
This was first published in June 2004

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