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winnt\system32\drivers\ntfs.sys missing.  Can't boot!!

Posted on 2004-10-09
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OK....I have perused all the discussions here about this subject but none of the suggestions seem to be working for me.  Here's the story.....I built a new computer recently (first timer) and had it running fine except for some irq conflict issues.  Then I started doing things I wasn't sure about, one thing lead to another and BAM! I'm dead in the water!  My problem started when I decided to format my HDD but just before I did that I was getting an error message concerning winnt\system32\drivers\ntfs.sys.  So, I stupidly sent it to the recycle bin.  Then I formatted the HDD.  So now when I try to boot up to reload Windows 2000 Professional I get the error message "winnt\system32\drivers\ntfs.sys missing or corrupt".  I've tried to boot with a Windows 98 SE startup disk w/cd driver and can get to an A: prompt.  I can't figure out how to load Windows 2000 Pro from my cd drive.  I've tried an ERD to no avail.  Can someone out there help?
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Question by:tmautner
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by:BigC666
ID: 12268294
howdy,

if you've got the win2k pro cd's set you bios to boot from cd and just follow the instructions.

hope that this helps
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Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 12268326
If you have a 2000 Pro CD, as bigc666 said, set your BIOS to boot from it and when prompted to install or Repair (or something similar) do a repair.  When prompted to use a repair disk or (automated recovery) OR Recovery Console, select Recovery Console.  Your system should boot to what resembles a DOS prompt, asking for your admin password (it's important to understand this is NOT a DOS prompt, even though it may look like it.  It has very limited capabilities.  What you want to do once you get into the console is locate a copy of NTFS.SYS (possibly in Winnt\DLLCache or you may be able to pull it off the 2000 CD.  If the latter, you may need to EXPAND the file if it's stored on the CD as "NTFS.SY_" - if that's the case, then you want to copy it then expand it - "expand ntfs.sy_" should work.

As a last resort, you can always install a parallel copy of 2000 on the disk in a different location (instead of Winnt put it in win2k or winnt.1 or something like that).  Then you'll automatically be given the option to boot to that OS and you can restore the file more easily then.  (Just more time consuming, installing 2k again).
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by:tmautner
ID: 12269166
While I appreciate all the advice, how do I set my bios to boot from my CD?  Right now it won't boot from it.  I can access it though.  Sorry leew I meant to accept your answer but messed up...hey I'm new to this site!!!!
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12269219
I'll post a request to "unanswer" this question with customer service so you can accept the comment you would like as the answer.  Also, don't accept an answer until your question is truly answered and your working - or your otherwise satisfied that your question has been answered but that wasn't your problem as things turned out.

To set the BIOS, restart your computer.  Before any sign of Windows starting appears look at your computer for a message to "Press F2 for Setup" or "DEL to enter Setup" or something like that.  BIOS/CMOS generally refers to entering SETUP.  Once there, look for an option for "Boot Order" or "Boot Sequence" or something similar.  Then you can set the priority of what to boot from.  Typically, you're options will include CD-ROM, Floppy, Hard Disk, Network.  Your results might vary - in other words - the actual names used might be different, but they should be somewhat similar.
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by:tmautner
ID: 12269286
Thanks for the tips on using this site leew.  Also, thanks for reminding me how to get into the BIOS setting.  I'll try it tomorrow.  So, by booting with my Windows 2k CD it should reload the winnt\system32\drivers\ntfs.sys file?
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12271310
You would have to boot the Windows 2000 CD and tell it to do a repair/recovery using the Recovery Console.  Then you have to copy the file manually - it's easy but somewhat involved.  If your really not sure, it'd probably be better to install a parallel copy of Windows and use that to copy the file back into place.  

Some people might tell you to use the Repair options which could replace missing "or corrupt" files.  In my experience, unless your 2000 CD is the same Service Pack level as your OS Install (meaning the CD included the service pack you are currently running), then you run the risk of creating even more problems.
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Author Comment

by:tmautner
ID: 12272777
Hey it worked!  You da man leew!  I'm back in business today and ready to load all of my cards back in.  Thanks a million for the help!
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12272802
No problem, glad to help.

-Lee
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12272807
You should be able to select the comment you want as the answer to this question.  Or if you believe multiple comments assisted you (by different people) you can distribute the points.
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