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"NTLDR MISSING" error message

by Susie Rae / October 9, 2004 3:51 PM PDT

I run Windows XP Home on this computer & I stupidly erased a DLL at the advice of an online tech for my email account, which I was having server problems with. The tech insisted thaat the DLL had some worm & needed to be destroyed. I did not think this was so, but he was supposed to be the pro. now I need to create a bootable floppy to install a new copy of the missing DLL so my computer will boot. Apparently this paarticular DLL is necessary to get the computer to boot. How do I use my other computer which runs Windows XP media Edition to create this necessary bootable floppy & how do I get it to start & install on the other computer so that it will be available to boot up that computer? I have the two computers hooked up with a KVM switch so have access to both individually. I have tried to access this information on Microsoft & they have some instructions but they are not very descriptive so couldn't follow them. Any help would be appreciated. I cannot just dump my harddrive as I really need the stuff stored on it.

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Re: "NTLDR MISSING" error message
by AussiePete / October 10, 2004 12:11 AM PDT

just copy it from your instalation winxp CD disk to the root directory. U wont have to expand this file just copy it.

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by Susie Rae / October 10, 2004 6:05 AM PDT

AussiePete; Good idea, but I do not have any WINXP CD to copy from as the software came installed on the computer. I do have system recovery CD's, but when I tried to use them they began with the warning that they were going to delete everything on my hard drive. If I could access this file on my other computer and copy to something that I could install into the not working computer then this might work, but how to access the root directory? I can turn on the ill computer, but it comes up with the screen that lists the stuff on the computer & then stops there. If you turn it on & hit F2 immediately you can access the Award Bios Setup Utility, but I am not sure what there can or should be changed. I have reset everything to the original setup to be sure that it should be working from its original configuration. That has not done anything nor has a power removal to force it to restart; it still stops at the system info screen where to make changes you would hit shift F10 or F12, I forget which they say, but it does not even get to that as after listing the master & slave hard drives & the CD & DVD information it goes to "NTLDR missing Hit any key to comtinue" message, but if you do that it just shows the same message again and again no matter what key or keys you hit. I was told to try to create a bootable floppy of the NTLDR file from my working computer and then use this to reinstall the missing DLL into the sick computer, but I must be doing something wrong when trying this as it has not worked at all. Maybe I am not formatting the bootable floppy correctly so it will start when I turn on the sick computer and supposedly load the errent DLL back nto the system somehow. I was told this might work, but not the specifics of how. Any more specific information or ideas will be greatly appreciated and seriously considered. Thanks to all who have responded so far I look forward to hearing from the rest of you with other ideas or opinions.

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by Kees Bakker / October 10, 2004 6:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Re:

Although you can activate Windows XP on only one computer, it's possible to use any Windows XP CD to boot into the recovery console and do the advised copy. So start with finding a friend who has one!

Then read the first links of:

If you can't find a Windows XP CD, here's an extract from the first hit, which you will find interesting:

If you have a Windows XP Recovery CD-ROM, then you may not have the option to select "Recovery Console".
For such cases, Microsoft have made the Windows XP setup process (to get to the Recovery Console) available as a download via Q310994 in different languages (note: there are different downloads for the Home and Professional Edition).
You have to execute the download file, which will create 6 boot floppies. You then can boot from the first floppy.


Hope this helps.


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Re: NTLDR MISSING will not boot hard drive
by Susie Rae / October 10, 2004 5:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Re:

Ok, I found the site to make the 6 bootable floppies & that went ok using the new computer, but the darn thing will still not boot. I tried to use the one cd & all I got was the same message. I copied all six of the Set Up boot Disk floppies & got so frustrated I used all of them until it asked if I wanted to install Windows XP which I did not. I am really worried that I am going to end up loosing the data on my hard drive messing around with all of this stuff. Can't I just switch the slave hard drive to the master position & put the master which will not boot into the slave position? Either that or can I use an extetnal hard drive to install the needed complete system recovery CD's to that & use that as the boot system just to get into the system where I can hopefully run a system restore to get back the data that has disappeared somewhere.

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Its quite simple
by AussiePete / October 10, 2004 11:27 PM PDT

make a bootable floppy from someone elses computer. Make sure your bios is set to boot to a floppy first. On this bootable floppy copy the said files which were deleted (if you cant get a copy of them i will send u copies). Then boot to the flopy and copy them to the root directy. To copy from the flopy to the HD do the following at the dos prompt:-


Any problems let me know

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Re: Its quite simple
by blichty / November 30, 2004 2:42 AM PST
In reply to: Its quite simple

I have read your responses and, since I have the same problem, have tried to follow your instruction. However, booting from a floppy works but when I try to copy the NTLDR file to the c: drive the system respondes with a message saying that the request is invalid. I don't think it sees the c drive.

Any other ideas?

/thank you for your help!


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Re: Its quite simple
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 30, 2004 5:26 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Its quite simple
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As Griff says, a DOS floppy likely won't...
by Edward ODaniel / November 30, 2004 7:37 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Its quite simple
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by Michael Geist / October 10, 2004 12:15 AM PDT

"I cannot just dump my harddrive as I really need the stuff stored on it."

This statement indicates your lack of a backup strategy in case of the scenario you are now in. The lesson here is to have a copy of needed files off the computer (CDR/W, USB flash drive, external hard drive, networked computer).

You may secure the data off the system using a number of methods:

1) Use Knoppix (, a bootable CD which can give you access to your files and allow you to perform a backup.
2) Remove the hard drive to another functioning computer and set up the drive as a second drive. Copy and Paste the desired files to the host drive.
3) Try a Repair install of XP (

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Re: "NTLDR MISSING" error message
by Cursorcowboy / October 10, 2004 3:11 AM PDT

1. The article [Q315261] warns that after you use the Windows Disk Management snap-in tool to mark a primary partition as active, the computer may not start, you may receive the following error message, and occurs if the partition marked as active does not contain the Windows boot files or the boot files for another operating system. On Intel-based computers, the system partition must be a primary partition that has been marked as active for startup purposes. This partition must be located on the disk that the computer gains access to at startup. There can be only one active system partition at a time. If you want to use another operating system, you must first mark its system partition as active before restarting the computer:

NTLDR is missing.

Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart

Warning: Please note specifically the information "disk that the computer gains access to at startup", which also means that the system BIOS has been set to boot from the appropriate media.

2. The TechNet article "Repairing Damaged MBRs and Boot Sectors in x86-based Computers" states that when starting a computer from a hard drive, the BIOS (stored in read-only memory (ROM) so that it can be executed when the computer is turned on and is a set of essential software routines that test hardware at startup) starts the operating system and supports the transfer of data among hardware devices. Critical to performance, the BIOS (invisible to computer users) identifies the startup disk, reads the master boot record (MBR) code, and searches for the active partition on the hard disk. If the first hard disk on the system does not contain an active partition or if the master boot code cannot locate the boot sector of the system volume so that it can start the operating system (the volume that contains the hardware-specific files that are needed to load Windows on x86-based computers with a BIOS. The system volume can be, but does not have to be, the same volume as the boot volume), the BIOS routine may display error messages similar to the following:

? Invalid partition table
? Error loading operating system
? Missing operating system

Note: If Windows was already installed and then another operating system was installed later, any of the following errors may be displayed:

? A disk read error occurred
? NTLDR is missing
? NTLDR is compressed

3. The TechNet article "Restoring the MBR" states that you must repair the MBR if it becomes corrupted and you can no longer access any volumes on that disk. You can use several tools to repair the MBR and which tool you choose depends on whether the partition table is also damaged and whether you can start Windows, and depending on whether the partition table is also damaged or whether Windows can be started.

a. Use the "Recovery Console" and use the fixmbr command. Start the Recovery Console by booting from the Windows CD which is available even if Windows does not start in normal or safe mode. However, you cannot use Recovery Console to repair partition tables that were damaged by viruses or other corruptions.

Warning: Use this command with care because it can damage the partition table if any of the following conditions apply:

? A virus is present and a third-party operating system is installed on the same computer.

? A nonstandard MBR is installed by a third-party disk utility.

? A hardware problem exists.

b. Use "DiskProbe" to restore both the MBR and the partition table if using XPPro. In order to use this option, Windows must boot and there must be a previously back-up. Also be aware of the following tidbits of information regardless of whether XPPro is listed as the operating system (opens in a separate window):

(1) "Cannot Save Changes to Bootsector using Dskprobe (Q155356)."

(2) "Physical Drive Access Unavailable When Using DskProbe (Q180064)."

(3) "System or Boot Disk Listed as Dynamic Unreadable in Disk Management (Q236086)."

(4) "Dskprobe.exe May Damage FAT32 Boot Sector (Q246146)."

(5) "HOW TO: Recover an Accidentally Deleted NTFS or FAT32 Dynamic Volume (Q245725)."

c. Use a third-party MS-DOS-based low-level disk editor to repair the partition table if Windows does not start. This method is for experienced users only and involves manually editing the partition table.

Note: Before a repair of the partition table can be attempted, the exact values used for recreation must be known. If the MBR was backed up using DiskProbe and a copy is available on a floppy disk or on another computer, use it to see the necessary values for making manually changes to the damaged partition table.

4. Supplemental reading - "NTLDR Is Missing" Error Message When You Upgrade or Install Over Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition (Q314057)."

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Re: NTLDR still missing
by Susie Rae / October 11, 2004 5:57 PM PDT

Cursorcowboy Thank you for all the information. I did read it & tried to attempt to do the things that were listed. I did at one time get to the system recovery panel where both of my hard drives ere listed & I was prompted to choose one for repair but then it wouldn't let me type more then just one letter not the whole line of information about the disk. I do not think that was what the computer wanted me to type because it did nothing so I choose to hit enter & exit. After using all six bootalbe floppy disks to try to boot up the darn computer I still get the same message that I need the NTLDR. I absolutely can not loose the information on the hard drive so do not want to do something stupid that will erase the whole thing and I am aparently not computer savy enough to get the stupid thing to start up. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. I have a Seagate external hard drive of 160GB but am not sure if it would be of use in trying to get the computer to work or not I cannot get the CD info from this Seagate to load into the computer right now so it is of little help unless there is something that I can do to the BIOS to configure it to boot the external harddrive & get that to boot the other disks, but maybe without their own boot stuff they still won't open. I of course did not back up the stuff on the Seagate so there is currently not anything on it nor was it connected to the now terminal computer prior to it's demise. I am obviously confused & desperately trying to find a solution. Any additional suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Re: NTLDR still missing
by AussiePete / October 11, 2004 10:10 PM PDT

Did you see my other post "re-it's quite simple" I must admit i haven't read all your posts but unless you haven't got a floppy drive it i quite simple


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Re: NTLDR still missing
by AussiePete / October 11, 2004 11:13 PM PDT

got your email but have no way of contacting you - you need to "allow" people to email you in your setup info for cnet - or email me with your contact details so i can walk u through the problem.
Have a look at cowboy's post though - if u dont understand what he says let me know
Ps u dont need to pay $120!! it is quite

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Re: NTLDR still missing
by Cursorcowboy / October 11, 2004 10:29 PM PDT

1. Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer. Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted.

2. When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.

3. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you must access from the Recovery Console.

4. When you are prompted, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.

5. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

copy C:\i386\ntldr c:\

6. To exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, type exit at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

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Re: NTLDR still missing
by KDavidW / November 10, 2004 12:31 PM PST

I was sent here as a response to my posting on Nov 10 "...I should have known better". I followed your steps 1-4 and everything went as you described. At step 5, the command prompt was G> (my cdrom). I typed "copy c:\i386\ntldr c:\" and got back "access denied". I am the only user of my computer and don't require a password for access. Can I get around this?

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Re: NTLDR still missing
by Edward ODaniel / November 11, 2004 4:07 AM PST
At step 5, the command prompt was G> (my cdrom). I typed "copy c:\i386\ntldr c:\" and got back "access denied".

At step 5 since your CD is the G: drive you need to change the command to
copy g:\i386\ntldr c:\

While doing this you may as well type another command because many systems that "lose" ntlde also "lose" ntdetect. After the copy of ntldr is complete type
copy g:\i386\ c:\

Here is a good link for using the Recovery console (use the Resource Kit's menu on the left):

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my problem similiar but worse
by mcrandy / December 22, 2004 3:29 PM PST

Hi, I bought new harddrive (160 gig) and ran harddrive boot disk that set up my cd and let me partition the drive. When I put in my xp pro I get the ntldr file missing error. Most these fixes tell you to hit "r" key when you get into xp setup but I don't get into setup because I get the error code ntldr is missing. When I booted with harddrive disk I did get to drive x: and on this disk is a i386 directory where I found the ntdetect and ntldr files and I copied them onto my C: drive but guess c: drive is virtual and everytime I reboot I get the error that my ntldr file is missing because the files I copied to the "C" drive disappear inthe reboot. So I have a catch 22. I can't get to my install drive to set up my drive and so here I sit....broken hearted 160 gig harddrive with partition with no system on it.

what now>>>>>>>>>>???????????

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I can explain this one. XP Pro doesn't support 160GB drives
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 22, 2004 8:43 PM PST

"... harddrive boot disk that set up my cd and let me partition the drive. When I put in my xp pro I get the ntldr file missing error. "

Exactly what should happen with a stock XP Pro CD. Here's why.

XP Pro, as supplied doesn't support over 127GB drives. You tripped up the installer by preparing the drive ahead of time. XP would have had no trouble if you let it do the partitions. You would be limited to 127GB, but it would have worked. After you installed SP1 then you get access to the remainded of the drive.

If you don't like this, get a XP SP1 or better yet XP SP1 CD.


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"ntldr is missing"
by kariadan / January 2, 2005 4:15 AM PST


I am getting the 'ntldr is missing' error when I restart my laptop. I have windows xp professional on my computer and it was installed long back. There was no problem until now. I copied the ntldr and files from the WIndows xp recovery disk. Still I am getting the same error. Do you know if there is anything else that I can do?


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Windows set up screen
by threebs.nd / December 30, 2004 3:35 AM PST

My computer will not proceed beyand the "Windows is starting set up" blue screen. Hours in this position has not yielded any further response from my system. I can't get to the Windows set up screen to enter the Recovery Console.

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Threebs, More Information Please
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / December 30, 2004 10:36 AM PST
In reply to: Windows set up screen

Why are you posting in this "old" thread? Whenever posting questions on these forums, please give us as much information as possible about your computer. Depending on your issue, we might need the operating system, processor speed, amount of RAM installed, brand name of the computer, (if there is one), and any EXACT error messages you are receiving, plus any other information that you think might help us. The more information you give us, the better informed our answer will be.

Most importantly, if you are receiving the "NTLDR" error message, please read ALL of the suggestions in the thread and try them.

Hope this helps and let us know more.


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NTLDR information
by threebs.nd / January 8, 2005 11:32 AM PST

My computer is scratch built. Pentium 4 2.66 gig processor 512 megs of ram. I currently have a 160gig western digital HDD. I have tried to the best of my ability to do as the previous posts have suggested. Most assume you can get to the recovery console to fix files. When I boot from the XP CD it loads files and gets to the "Windows is starting set up" blue screen. I cannot get any further. The "Windows set up" screen will not post so I can select the recovery console to do the suggested file repairs. The exact error message I receive (after I re-boot trying to use the HDD to boot from) Is "NTLDR is missing" Please let me know what else you need to know.

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Threebs, Did You Read??
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 9, 2005 5:53 AM PST
In reply to: NTLDR information
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Recovery Console Oh boy!
by jcpenny / January 26, 2005 7:30 PM PST

Tried Recovery console twice in last days _for first time_ it never worked: the command prompt as they are leave me
with How can I go about that.
Need a course maybe
Asked a friend with reply I tried it and do not know
what to do at command prompts.
Simply, is there a place a book or else that will tell a NOvice wht to do in there (recovery console).

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Yes, several such places.
by Edward ODaniel / January 27, 2005 3:54 AM PST

The Windows Help and support option on the Start menu is one.

The Microsoft knowledgebase is another and many private and business sites by searching with google for the phrase "using recovery console" (including quotes).

The Microsoft online Windows XP Resource Kit also gets into detail on using the Recovery Console. Here is one link to it:
using recovery console
and another Using Recovery Console to Recover from Startup Problems

NTLDR missing - Solution to the problem

How to use the Windows recovery console. (links to using various commands syntax too),GGLC:1969-53,GGLC:en&q=%22using+recovery+console%22

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Re: NTLDR still missing
by Edward ODaniel / October 12, 2004 1:21 PM PDT

This page explains how to use the recovery console:

You need the ADMINISTRATOR password (sometimes none was created so just pressing the enter/return key when prompted for the password will get you into the console.

Once in you will be at a command prompt and can use it to copy the NTLDR file from wherever you have it to the root directory. The following command would copy it from a floppy to the proper location:
COPY A:\NTLDR C:\ (then press the enter/return key)

When done type EXIT and press the enter/return key to exit the console.

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