As part of a normal Visual Studio 6 upgrade on an NT Server 4.0 SP3 machine, Setup rebooted the machine "to continue the install." I then got a blue screen and STOP and this message: "The dynamic link library winsrv could not be found in the specified path Default Load Path."
I booted to a parallel NT install on a second disk on same machinethe WINSRV.DLL file is in the System32 directory. I copied the System32\Config files (registry files) of the broken install to a Temp directory and did a repair on the broken install. It came up, but no apps installed! I booted to parallel install and swapped the original registry files back in one at a time. A software file caused problems to reappear.
Is there a way to edit an offline registry?
I don't know of a way to edit an offline registry. However, you are already doing some things right. The parallel (or plain-Jane) boot is a good start. You just have to remember (or schedule) running RDISK /S, which will save all the info to the Repair directory.
If you are lucky and the ERD disk can hold all of the registry, then you can just answer "Yes" to the question of whether you want to create an ERD. But if your system has a lot of installed software, then you can create, say, a Repair_121298 directory and copy all the files from ..\Repair to ..\Repair_121298.
Just before doing a major upgrade (and a VB6 upgrade definitely qualifies here), do the RDISK /S, either create a new ERD or copy the files to the backup directory, and run the install. If there is a problem, you can run the alternate boot, decompress and copy the backup registry files to their normal location, and boot to the normal boot.