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The following file is missing or corrupt winnt\system32\config\system
Technical Articles ID:   KB71206
Last Modified:  12/21/2011


McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.8
Microsoft Windows 2000


After installing VirusScan Enterprise (VSE) 8.8 with the default Cache Persistence feature enabled, Windows fails to load on subsequent computer restarts. When this occurs, the following error message is displayed:

The following file is missing or corrupt winnt\system32\config\system

This can occur after the first restart or after any subsequent restart while the cache persistence feature is enabled.

IMPORTANT: If you see the error message, Windows will not load.

For recovery advice, see Microsoft KnowledgeBase article 269075 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/269075.


On shutdown, VSE 8.8 writes clean-file cache information to the registry so that it can be read again on startup. However, due to size limits in the registry in Windows 2000, the system hive (stored in the file %windir%\System32\Config\System) can grow to a size exceeding the tolerable limits of the operating system.

This growth occurs as a consequence of the VSE 8.8 Cache Persistence feature. The clean-file scan cache is written to the registry in REG_BINARY values beginning with the name FileCache at the following location:

IMPORTANT: The registry data limit for Windows 2000 is low. If too much data is written to it, Windows will stop responding and only a restore from backup or reimage will fix the server.


This issue is resolved in VirusScan Enterprise 8.8 Patch 1 Repost and later. This disables Cache Persistence by default.

McAfee product software, upgrades, maintenance releases, and documentation are available from the Product Downloads site at: http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/downloads.aspx.

NOTE: You need a valid Grant Number for access. KB56057 provides additional information about the Product Downloads site, and alternate locations for some products.


Disable the VirusScan Cache Persistence feature:

NOTE: If you disable this feature, the system will experience an overall performance decrease because all files are scanned on first access to rebuild the cache.
  1. Open the VirusScan Console.
  2. Click ToolsGeneral Options.
  3. On the Global Scan Settings tab, deselect Enable saving scan data across reboots.
  4. Click OK, and then close the VSE console.

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