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If you don't have a backup, ERD, or ASR of the desktop, then more than likely you're going to run into some more problems with this. But if you at least have the operating system CD, I can walk you through fixing this. What operating system are you running?
This is caused because for some reason or another the O.S. can't find the system portion of the registry hive. It might have gotten too big, or your hard drive might have developed a bad sector that contained this data.
Worst case scenario would be your hard drive going out. That would actually cost you some money
If it is all software related, we can extract a new file from the CD, or use the repair option.
If you're using XP pro, I can get you a Dell CD.
 

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I've noticed they changed their policy on those. Now when you oder a new computer, by default they don't have the option selected to send you the CDs. You have to choose it. And most people won't realize they need it for later. They really are getting their extra 3 cents out of people.
I hope they didn't make you pay for shipping. I have seems like a thousand of those CDs. :)
Glad to hear you didn't have any important data on that computer. Repairing would have been time consuming, but worth it for the people who don't have backups of their files.
 
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