STOP: C0000218 {Registry File Failure}

"My name is Kim and I am having some trouble with my computer. I did a search online and found your website. I tried to figure out how to fix this problem I am having, but I guess I am to much of a computer dummie to figure it out. This is the message I have gotten if there is any help you could give me I would really appreciate it.

STOP: C0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file):\System Root\System32\Config\SECURITY or its log or alternate. It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

I was trying to do a Recovery on my computer to put it back to what it was when I bought it and to start over again. I want to just start fresh.

I would really APPRECIATE ANY Help you could give me!"

This is one of the main reasons I prefer to do a clean installation from CD rather than simply doing a system restore. There's less chance for something to go wrong with a clean installation. Unfortunately, many computer manufacturers no longer provide a complete CD, but you still may be able to completely wipe your drive rather than using the restore option. The Stop: c0000218 error is typically associated with one of several things, depending on how far through the recovery process you made it before encountering the error.

The first possibility is simply corruption in the Windows Registry. A second option is a component of your system hardware is not compatible with Windows XP or your hard drive has some kind of issue. Since you are re-installing Windows XP using System Restore, it seems unlikely your system hardware is incompatible, although I won't rule out the possibility entirely. The third possibility, a damaged hard drive, is possible even if Windows appeared to run smoothly prior to your reinstallation. Before throwing in the towel, we'll take a closer look at each possibility

Assuming the Windows Registry is simply corrupt, the first thing to attempt is a recovery via the Automatic System Recovery for your particular installation. Since you are attempting to do a system restore, it's possible you already tried this and had it fail. If this is not the case, follow the detailed directions presented in Microsoft Knowledge Base article 307545.

If you attempted your system restore using the OEM provided restore partition or CD and received this error, make sure you don't have any hardware components connected which weren't part of the initial build of your computer. System restore disks look for specific hardware components. If the original components are missing it occasionally introduces errors in the restore process.

A third possibility is the hard drive is damaged in some way. Many disks have bad sectors and you won't know about them until you attempt to write over the sectors during a specific operation. If you can boot from your install CD, you will be presented with the option to Repair or Recover the Windows XP installation. Pressing R launches the Microsoft Recovery Console which then asks for the Administrator password. After entering the password, run chkdsk to check the drive for errors by typing chkdsk /r at the command line. If chkdsk finds errors, you may need to use chkdsk /f to repair the errors before proceeding.

Since you are attempting to revert your Windows installation back to baseline, the best option remains doing a completely fresh install because it will avoid any potential corruptions already existing in your current installation by installing a fresh copy of Windows instead of reusing existing core components that may now be corrupt.