Re: Desktop Won't Load
gt702, again I will refer to linux tools, but that's because it's what I would use to troubleshoot this. I would make a disk image of your drive before you start doing anything. i realize you are making a disk image of a bad instance, but if there is a way to restore this and you clobber it, you can start back from fresh. You can use a tool called Partimage on most linux bootdisks to "ghost" a copy to your new removable drive. It will store the image in a set of files that you can name.
I would also copy off your important files and docs, just in case, but making an image is just in case you want to go the route of trying to recover.
If you went the route of moving this disk to another machine, I would get one of the many Undelete tools to see if it can find the missing SYSTEM and SYSTEM.ALT files. Those are hive files which are critical to the Windows os. I have used Active-Undelete and it worked on my NT Server in my trailer to recover what turned out to be the only existing copy of some pictures we had taken, and people had ordered. Long story short, the cost of buying the program was miniscule compared to the cost of explaining the images were lost..
You have a lot of options and I think taking an image of the drive first will make sure that you can try out more than one just in case.
P.S. on the RIP linux cd, there is a tool - NTFSUndelete... It might be worth a try as well. I probably should have used that on my images, but I was literally having a stroke and a heart attack all at the same time knowing that I may have blown away all known copies of those photos..