Can I fix an infected Windows XP computer by replacing the System32 folder?

Anonymous September 11, 2013

I have a computer that some how it got infected with a virus and it completely removed the whole system32 folder. I tried to replace those files with others from another windows xp installation, from same computer, it kind of work, but I get stuck on the welcome to windows blue screen.

Can anyone help? I use Windows XP SP3.


  1. Dave R
    September 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    If you have a virus that wiped you systems files then your best way to go is a clean reinstall as anything else will not remove it so you will still have it, but after saying that it would have more than likely made the restore option unavailable. Restoring will not wipe the virus.

  2. Oron J
    September 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I agree with Jan on most points, except that in most cases, a repair installation should be sufficient. There's little in the System32 folder that would not be replaced by a fresh copy in such an installation, and it's a lot easier that having to back up and restore all your data and settings.

  3. Hovsep A
    September 11, 2013 at 8:34 am

    How to fix a Missing/Corrupt SYSTEM file in Windows XP without the Recovery CD

  4. Alan W
    September 11, 2013 at 6:24 am

    I was about to say that a full re-install is the best route too Jan.

  5. Jan F
    September 11, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Copying the system32 folder from (a) another Windows XP machine or (b) an outdated backup of the same machine will never really get you up and running again.
    You will be faced with a miss-match of system file versions, inconsistent registry hives and whatnot.

    Since your Windows is booting up to a certain point you could try a safe boot by pressing F8 before the XP boot screen. If you do get into (safe) Windows you could then perform the command "sfc /scannow" in a command line window and have the system files checked/repaired. However, this will - at best - get your installation in a state where you can backup all your data.

    Another option would be performing a repair installation.

    However, the right way to get a working and healthy Windows again is a full re-installation.