"couldn't find ntldr" -- HELP!!

Posted on 2000-03-15
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I am on a windows 95 (OSR2) computer that keeps crashing. I am trying to reload windows starting from scratch (re-partition using fdisk). I have several boot disks which came with differnet OEM cds. I also have a windows 95 startup disk. The boot disks I have tried to boot with (just to get to a prompt!) are: windows 95, windows 98 (1st edition), Windows 98 (2nd edition), and a windows 95 startup disk. Anytime I boot to one of these, I get the following error:  

"BOOT: Couldn’t find NTLDR
Please insert another disk"

I couldn't get to a prompt to run FDISK so I booted to command prompt only from the startup menu and ran FDISK from there. It said I deleted all partitions so that there were no partitions defined. I didn't yet create a partition because windows setup will do this on its own. I rebooted to the windows boot disks  again, and guess what?

"BOOT: Couldn’t find NTLDR
Please insert another disk"

By this point I am pretty frustrated. I know NTLDR is an NT system file. To my knowledge NT has never even been installed on this computer! before I removed the partition with FDISK, I did copy NTLDR from the /i386 directory off of a Windows NT cd that I own to the root of the C: drive of this computer with the same error appearing when trying to boot to a floppy. So here I am with a newly FDisked hard drive and no way to get to a prompt or start setup. I would like to try FDISK /MBR, but I can't. But if I remember correctly, I did in fact try that while the system was still running windows. It's been a while since this happened, I haven't had a working system for a week or two now and it is getting really old really quick. I have made the point value high to attract a well-thought out solution. Any ideas?

P.S. These boot disks that I have been using work fine on other computers. I should at least be able to get to a prompt with one of them.

Question by:ruffus
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Expert Comment

ID: 2621611
When you say from scratch! After you paritioned the disk and set an active partition did you  format/s ?

After you format you should be able to reinstall. If you need a boot disk for your cd rom try thr WIn98 startup you have or go to
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 2621612
the only references to this that i cound find were for Windows NT and Windows for Workgroups 3.1,3.11, so:

1/ find a computer that has the Operating system you want (win95, 95osr2, 98....etc.

2/ make a bootable diskette, and include from that OS the following files:

3/ boot your machine with this diskette, FDISK the drive back to nothing, reboot and FDISK it, then reboot, sys the drive, pull the floppy, see if it boots

this may be redundant, but sometimes a fresh start (from boot disk up) works

Ain't comuters fun!!!!!!

LVL 15

Accepted Solution

hewittg earned 300 total points
ID: 2621617
I know you stated that the bootdisks are fine.  I would recommend going to another win95 machine reformatting a disk under win95 (have heard this may be a problem if original disks were formatted with NT, do not know if this is true, but possible) and creating a startup disk. (nothing to lose trying again.
This should work.

If you get in, repartition and start over.

Hope it helps.

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Author Comment

ID: 2621991
>>When you say from scratch! After you >>paritioned the disk and set an active partition >>did you  format/s ?

Remeber, I cannot even get to a prompt to run the format command, not to mention that I have done dozens of OEM installs and a manual format is unnecessary as long as you intend to let windows setup do it for you.

>>I know you stated that the bootdisks are fine.  >>I would recommend going to another win95
    >>machine reformatting a disk under
>> win95 (have heard this may be a problem if >>original disks were formatted with NT, do not >>know if this is true, but possible) and creating a
>>startup disk. (nothing to lose trying again.
                  >> This should work.

Something is starting to make a lot of sense here, because I left out what I didn't think was an important bit of info:
The computer I am reloading is actually in a remote location. I am (via PC Anywhere) copying the boot disks, byte for byte, onto the hard drive of an NT server at the same remote location. I am then having someone at the remote site put in a floppy so that I can format it, and make an exact duplicate of the boot disks. The format is of course being done in, what else, NT!!!! If I over-looked something so simple as this I will kick myself in the shins with my own boots! I will know tomorrow for sure. It is not something I can do tonight. Now that I think about it, even the windows 95 boot disk was made on a computer at my local site and then copied to the NT server to be copied onto a disk that was formatted under NT. A simplistic answer is always worth 300 points even if it is painfully embarrassing. I'll let you know for sure tomorrow, but it sounds too familiar to be wrong.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 2622003
I hope it is simple, I have had myself kicked by my own boots so many times the boots hurt.

Good Luck


Author Comment

ID: 2624569
Well, folks, looks like it was indeed the old "formatting a disk under NT gets you nowhere in trying to make a windows boot disk."
I appreciate the help!
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 2625685
I guess I wasn't that clear on this

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