Laptop not working. Beginning to panic. Running the built-in rescue software it seems that all my data is there, so I am not panicking too much, but the entire Windows directory seems to be wholly absent. I have no idea why. The computer just froze up while I was doing ordinary stuff, I rebooted it, and now instead of starting up it complains that
Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SOFTWARE
and then reboots. This error message appears in microsoft support pages like this one, but it says not to follow its instructions if I have an OEM-installed version of windows (which I believe I do) and anyhow I don't have any windows CDs to stick in the drive.
Also I can't seem to get any of my data off. Anyone have a windows network share I can write to?
Edited to add: Entire windows directory does not seem to be missing after all --- it's just that some of IBM's utilities seem blind to it, while others aren't. So catastrophic hard drive failure has moved down a couple of notches in the plausibility hierarchy, and mere registry fuckedupedness has taken the lead. Nonetheless, it looks like I will need some kind of boot CD or somethin' to fix the problem. I really hope I can find someone around here who knows what they're doing with Windows...