Windows update fucked my shit up. Shut the pooter down one night and woke up the next morning and it was still trying to install the update so I rebooted and poof. I've got three drives right meow so hopefully this won't happen again!
If you had mentioned this to begin w/, it's possible to recover from this w/out file recovery and formatting.
I'll see if I can find the directions. You'll need you install media for it though. If it's an OEM Destructive install disc, you'll need to find a regular disc.
EDIT: Try this from Recovery Console.
You could boot to WinRE and copy back the automatic backed copies however.
By default Windows Vista maintains two copies of the registry however in
System is a newer backup than system.old in that folder for example.
about 12 hours apart, usually only a day old or so.
You can copy those over to the c:\windows\system32\config folder.
Backup the bad copies first just to be safe.
Replace SAM, Security, Software,Components, and System as one unit,
Do not just replace one hive.
If they do not work then try replacing them with sam.old,
security.old.software.old, components.old, and system.old
There are backup copies of the registry in the
You can try replacing the ones in the config folder with the ones from the
Rename the ones in the \windows\system32\config folder first
Change directory so you are in the \windows\system32 folder
ren system system.bak
ren software software.bak
ren sam sam.bak
ren security security.bak
All four registry hives should be replaced at the same time even though you
are only having issues with one of the hives, they are a unit, they are not
intended to be replaced individually, there may be issues later if one of
the hives is rolled back and not the others.