Windows Error – System32\DRIVERS\PCI.SYS is either corrupt or missing

When this message “system32DRIVERSPCI.SYS is either corrupt or missing” your computer will probably not startup properly until this error is fixed. An example of the error looks like this:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:


You can attempt to repair this file by starting windows setup using the original setup cd rom

Select “r” at the first screen to start repair.

When this error appears it can mean two things:

  1. The actual file system32DRIVERSPCI.SYS is really corrupt or missing
  2. There is a problem with a piece of hardware that is connected to your computer

If you have just upgraded to Windows XP and you get this Windows error system32DRIVERSPCI.SYS is either corrupt or missing, this means that there is hardware on your computer that is not compatible with Windows Xp.

How to diagnose a hardware problem

To do this you will have to open your computer case. Please read how to open your computer case safely before proceeding.

Turn the power off and remove all plugs from your computer

  1. Remove all PCI cards that are in the computer. Be careful, you do not want to damage them.
  2. Plug your computer in. Hopefully you have onboard graphics. If you do not, leave the graphics card in.
  3. Restart the computer. If it starts, then the problem was with something you removed.
  4. Start putting the PCI cards back, one by one. Making sure the power is off each time.
  5. When the problem occurs again (system32DRIVERSPCI.SYS), you have found your problem.
  6. If you can do without this PCI card, then leave it out. If not you will have to replace it.

To Restore the System32DRIVERSPCI.SYS file

Personally, when this Windows error happens to me, it usually turns out to be a hardware problem. However if the file is actually missing or corrupt you  can replace system32DRIVERSPCI.SYS by restarting your computer with your Windows Xp disk in it and choosing to repair.

If you can start Windows, simply paste the file back into the Windows/system32 directory. Even if it is still there, it may be corrupt.

You can also choose to install a new copy of Windows which will cause you to loose all your previous data, but fix the error also.


  1. Mcgaw says

    What happens if the pc yurns on normally but when i turn it off the message appears ??