c0000218 Registry File Failure Error During XP Installation

You may receive the following error message when you try to install Microsoft Windows XP on a computer with a new hard disk having an NTFS partition:

Stop: c0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate

The error message is generated when the system restarts after the Windows XP installation files have been copied to the hard disk.

Cause Of the Error

This error message is displayed when either of the following conditions is true:

  • The hardware of the PC on which you are performing the installation is incompatible with Windows XP.
  • The hard disk on which you are trying to install Windows XP is damaged.

Resolution Steps

Follow the steps listed below to resolve the problem and install Windows XP on your computer.

Step 1: Ensure that the hardware on your PC is compatible with Windows XP

To check this, open the Microsoft Marketplace Web site and look for information regarding the hardware that is compatible with the Windows XP operating system.

You may also look at the Microsoft Support policy for hardware that is not in the Windows NT Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). Additionally, go through the HCL for Windows XP.

If the hardware on your PC is not in the HCL for Windows XP, get it changed to hardware that is compatible with Windows XP. If your hardware is in the Windows XP HCL, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Ensure that your hard disk or file system is not damaged by using the Windows XP Recovery Console.

  1. Insert the Windows XP installation CD in the CD-drive and restart your PC from the CD.
  2. On the Welcome to Setup screen, press R to launch the Microsoft Recovery Console.
  3. When prompted, type in the Administrator password. If the password is blank, press Enter.
  4. At the Recovery Console type the following command and press Enter to check your hard disk for errors:
  5. chkdsk /r

  6. Proceed according to the results displayed and repair any error detected on the hard disk.
  7. Restart your system and attempt to start the Windows XP installation again.

If the error appears again, proceed to step 3

Step 3: Replace your hard disk

If your hard disk is irreparable, then you may have to replace it to resolve the problem. To do this, you may have to contact your computer manufacturer, retailer, or computer technician for replacement.

You may encounter registry problems even after your system is successfully installed and operational. Registry problems usually occur due to the accumulation of unwanted data within it. On a freshly installed PC, the registry is small and compact. But, it starts growing as you start using your PC and gradually becomes so large that registry files tend to get damaged and fragmented. To prevent this, you must regularly clean your registry with the help of a registry cleaner tool, such as RegServe. It is recommended that you schedule periodic registry scans using the registry tool to ensure that your registry is clean and compact at all times.