Windows Vista Failed to Start… Status: 0xc000014c

I am sure this solution is posted somewhere on the Internet, but as I have not found it yet and instead went exploring on my own, I thought I would post it here.

Status 0x000014c seems to point to a multitude of errors, so, this fix is only for the one detailed below – it may work for others, I’m just not saying it will.

Windows Boot Manager

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the Problem:

1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.

2. Choose your language settings, and click “Next.”

3. Click “Repair your computer.”

If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.

File: \Windows\system32\config\system

Status: 0xc000014c

Info: Windows failed to load because the system registry file is missing, or corrupt.

ENTER=Continue ESC=Exit

The fix below is very simple, and only takes a couple of minutes to complete:

1. Boot your machine into WinPE.
2. Type: cd c:\Windows\system32\config
4. Type: copy regback\SYSTEM SYSTEM
5. Reboot your machine and it should boot normally.

If your feeling particularly brave, then you could omit step 3, and have the original file overwritten – personally I like the security of being able to go backwards and undo this change if it doesn’t work.

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27 Responses to Windows Vista Failed to Start… Status: 0xc000014c

  1. Matt says:

    If you have DVD or USB-stick with your installed OS just try to repair with it. I use USB-stick with my Windows Vista and repair system with standard utility “Repair your computer”. It’s easy way to repair.

  2. Claudia says:

    After a lot of research online I booted my pc with winpe! i did it in a usb cuz my laptop is an acer aspire one, and has no place for cds. but my happiness didnt last long.. first, at step 2 i had to type “x:\” instead of “c\:” cuz aparently that doest exist in my pc and thats what it said above (really weird) step 3: i typed as it said, click enter and nothing really appeared (i hope its ok?) then in step 4: it says that system cannot find that file.. please help!! and about the last step of booting.. im scared if i do it now i ruin it.. and how do i do it ? haha i have no clue please HELP!! :(

    • Craig says:

      It is very hard to tell without being in front on the machine to see what is going on. If you are not sure what you are doing, and you are worried about the safety of the information on your machine, then you need to take your computer to someone who understands what is going on.

      Not being able to find the C: drive could be many things, from the simple it has been assigned a different letter, to not having suitable storage drivers available, or the hard disk has failed and cannot be seen. This cannot be investigated easily over blog posts.

      Sorry if that is no help, but I don’t want to tell you to do anything which might risk the data that you have on your computer.

  3. Mohamad hussain says:

    Great… it helped…….

  4. apri says:

    Thank you very much!!!

  5. Dr Chris says:

    Very useful post! I used a bootable Linux disk to browse the windows file structure & had it working again in just a few minutes!

  6. Tao says:

    Much appreciated! it’s really a helpfull knowledge

  7. Rafeeque says:


  8. Chris says:

    Greetings Craig, thank you for your quick post, been through a lot of long & technical post that couldn’t help solve my issue.

    You just saved me with just a min of work!

    God Bless & Hapy New Year Craig!

  9. Santiago says:

    Thanks…system working after 3 hours. First I had to find the real problem by disabling the Windows Startup Repair as Default Option.
    “bcdedit /set {identifier} recoveryenabled No”

  10. Kay says:


    I have this exact problem and I’ve created the WinPE disc. However, when I get to steps 3 and 4, it tells me that the system cannot find the file/path specified. Is there anyone that can tell me where it is I’m going wrong?


  11. Kay Les says:


    I have the same error message but my cd-rom drive is not working. The tray does not open and as a result, I can’t boot from the cd-rom drive. Is there a solution to resolve the issue without using cd-rom drive? Thank you so much.

  12. Martin says:

    Thanks a lot! This works for me:

    1. I didn’t have the WinPE but used the already made Hirens boot cd
    2. Choose after boot for Win XP mini
    3. Go to the dos prompt and do the steps (see post)
    3. Also like Angelo: “after the steps described above, I needed also to start from the “Last Good known Configuration”, then Windows started correctly.”

  13. ilsa says:

    how can I start my computer in WinPE?

  14. mohammad naeem says:

    hi, thnkx error fix but showing following messages!

    hal.dll missing

    what i do.

  15. nina says:

    how do I Boot machine into WinPE?

  16. angelo says:

    after the steps described above, I needed also to start from the “Last Good known Configuration”, then Windows started correctly.
    Thanks a lot!

  17. Stefan says:

    Worked perfectly

  18. Dennis says:

    Did the trick here as well.

  19. Admin says:

    Thanks a bunch!!! Worked perfectly

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