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System Recovery failure - "system registry contains invalid file paths" - cannot load windows

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Old 05-03-2013
 

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System Recovery failure - "system registry contains invalid file paths" - cannot load windows
Acer Aspire M1100 AM1100-E1402A
Mfg Date 2008\03\07
Vista Home Premium 32-bit

It was running OK, but getting a bit old and a bit slow. I upgraded to a W7 desktop, but wanted to keep this one playing around with.

Ran System Recovery 2 or 3 times using the Alt-F10 method. First time, I wanted to avoid loading bloatware so ran msconfig early on, went to Startup to uncheck Acer Launch and stuff like that. Windows Update worked until SP1. Just couldn't get SP1 to install, including when I downloaded it from the web.

Then I ran System Recovery and let the bloatware run. It stalled at 9/11. Again, Windows Update worked until SP1.

Then I tried System Recovery using discs, instead of Alt-F10. It failed for some reason. I have a couple other System Recovery discs from an laptop and an eMachine laptop. I tried them with the same result. Recovery starts, writes over the C drive, then fails.

The message is:
The system registry contains invalid file paths. Installation cannot proceed. This system image was applied without guaranteeing that drive-letter assignments would match across computers.

So now I'm stuck.

I googled the error message, but generally ended up in discussion boards that are over my head. I think I saw some discussion about partition. I have a foggy memory that this desktop may have arrived with the HDD partitioned into something like 160 and 200 GB partitions. I think I removed the partition. I wonder if this has contributed to the problem? Then again, I previously ran System Recovery (after removing the partition) and it seemed to work (mostly) OK.

Anyway, my only guess at this part is to get to a DOS prompt somehow and partition the HDD again.

Then again, that may have nothing to do with it.

Help!

I hope I have provided enough background, but please advise if I have not.

Thanks!
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