Win 2000 Pro wont boot at all. Help Please!.....

Posted on 2004-11-29
Last Modified: 2010-04-14
Hi all, I hope someone can give me a helping hand here please :-)

I needed some more disc space on my PC tonight, so I thought I'd create a new partition from unused disk space and name it as a folder. As I have a huge number of programs on the computer I thought I would call the new volume Program Files1. Then I would copy all the files from the folder Program Files to the new volume, rename the old Program Files say as Program Files3, then name my new volume (mounted as a folder) to Program Files. (Running NTFS)

I copied all the files O.K. but the system wouldn't let me rename Program Files folder to any other name, even though I am Administrator of my own P.C. It kept saying the folder might be in use or that I didn't have the privilidges neccessary. So I tried another few times, ensuring that I had Full control in the Security section of the Program Files Folder Properties, but still no go. So I gave up and deleted all the files from my new volume. I then emptied my recycle bin and Norton protected Recycle bin.
Then I decided to reboot to allow things to sort themselves out, and up until this moment the pc was functioning fine.
Then when I went to reboot, I do not even get an "unable to find Ntldr" I get nothing at all, just a prompt on the monitor saying to press any key to reboot. It is an ASUS mother board.

I removed the drive and put it into another computer also running Win 2K and it added the disk O.K. and I am able to look at the entire drive o.k. All the boot files. such as Ntldr, Boot.ini,, Ntoskrnl.exe etc all seem to be in their right places.

I also tried using the Win2K disc to access the basic recovery console and tried Fixmbr and it gave me a message saying the disk configuration was odd and do I wish to go ahead which I said yes and still no go on boot. So I trried the Recovery Console again and tried Fixboot but still no joy.

It's a home pc and of course I do not have a backup, and it has nearly all of my photos (about 8 GBs) for the last few years on it, and I hope I wont need to reformat and reinstall Windows.

Any help and I'll not only offer points but buy who ever helps a beer should we ever meet . :-)

Question by:arthur_dent5
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Hello Authur,

    Can you post the contents of your boot.ini file?  It may be pointing to the wrong partition since it can find Ntldr and you saw the file.  Just one of many troubleshooting steps.  BTW, the file is located on the root of C drive.

    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Also, usually a program will not run if you move the program files folder after the program has been installed.  

    Author Comment

    Hi cfairley
    Here is the boot.ini it looks o.k. to me? Hmm nearly midnight here so bed shortly. Thanks for any assistance.

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect

    Author Comment

    Does anyone know..I looked at the non-booting  disk on another pc running Win 2K and on that pc as it alreay has a drive called C:\ it has renamed the faulty drive E:\
    Will that effect the ability of the computer the drive belongs to from being able to find where the operating system is supposed to be?
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    No, that will not affect the drive when you put it back in the original PC.

    The boot.ini does look fine, but just to check, you do only have two partitions on that drive right?  Sometimes there is a small configuration partition and if the boot.ini is pointed to "1", it will not find ntldr.

    Also, what is the exact message?  can't find ntldr, cannot find ntldr, etc.

    Author Comment

    Exact message is " Press any key to reboot" Nothing else.
     Yes there are two partitions on the disk, But I notice that when I go into Norton utilities and look at the disk (under System Information) it reports Drive E (this while examining on the second pc) as being partition 0 of the disk? I wonder if this is just a difference in terminology? I might try saving the boot.ini as a different name say boot.ini2 or something and copying it using partition 0 perhaps? It probably cant make things much worse than they are at the moment?


    Author Comment

    No wont work , the disk on this pc has exactly the same boot.ini file and it is configured exactly the same as the other disk.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Sorry, now I see that you said it doesn't give a message about not finding ntldr.

    Have you checked the BIOS to make sure the boot device is set to the HD.  Just another check.

    Author Comment

    Yes I have tried that. Boot order is floppy then HDD then CDROM in that order. It will boot WIN2K off the CD fine. i.e. for a reinstall.
    It's after midnight now so I'll have to get some sleep, need to be up early in the morning. Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    No problem, I'm sure with all the experts looking at this, you will probably have a good solution when you get up

    Sleep well!
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    by:Wayne Barron
      A little computer teaching is in order here.

      C:\Program Files\

    This is the Default folder were all programs are installed, if you do not specify an alternative
    Folder for the program to install into.

    When "Windows" boots up, it reads from your "Startup" Registry Entry.
    If it looks in this area of the Windows Registry, and is unable to find the proper programs
    To go with the Registry Entry, then the systems does not know how to operate the machine.

    See the C:\Program Files\        <-- System Folder cannot be renamed,
    And you cannot just "Move" files/Folders from this area into another folder.
    And rename that folder.

    Try the following:

    Boot the computer. Press [F8] when prompted.
    Choose [Last known good configuration]
    See if it will correct what you have done.

    If you have a HUGE drive, and are trying to clean up space.
    Then please following the dirrections on this post here:
    Read all post made by me: Carrzkiss.



    Author Comment

    HI Carrkiss
    The pc will not even get to the stage where it you get the option to press F8.
    You switch on the PC,  then shortly you get the splash screen from the mother board manufacturer, a couple of seconds later you get the splash screen from the Graphics Card manufacturer. Then the screen clears and you get a samll test message at the upper left corner of the screen saying..."Press any key to reboot"   and that's it.

    Thanks for any advise.
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    by:Wayne Barron
    Let me ask you this?

      Did you buy this computer with Win2k already installed on it?
    If so: How big is the Hard Drive? How many partitions did it originally have?

      Need as much information as I can get in order to tell you what to try next.

    Did you move any other files around on the Hard Drive, besides the "Program Files" Folder?


    Author Comment

    hi Carrzkiss
    O.K. I made the computer myself and put Win 2K on it from a boxed version for a new install (not upgrade) about 3 years ago.
    The hard drive is 40GB, and since new I created 2 partitions on it . The partition sizes are about 5 GB and 9 GB the rest of the disk is was unused .The 5GB partition has always been used for everything but "My Pictures" and I have and the 9 GB partition being used for the folder "My Pictures". (I am a keen Digital Photographer and store all my photos from a few years here.)

    I wanted to put a couple of new programs on the PC yesterday that were very large, that's why I thought I would try and create a new partition of some of the free disc space, and use it as a folder for "Program Files". After trying unsuccessfully to rename the original "Program Files" folder "Program Files2" , and using the copies of all the program files I had copied into the new larger partition, I removed all the copied files (in the new partition) then deleted my new partition. So now the disk has the same two partitions it has had for the last few years only now the pc will no longer boot at all.

    To be explicit Program Files is exactly where it has always been, and no I did not touch any other files or folders, as I had no reason to. The object was just to increase the size of the Program Files folder so I could install a couple of fairly large new programs on the disk.

    Thanks again

    Author Comment

    Just another quick point ,
     all of my pictures in the 9 GB partition are in folders named by the date the pictures were shot. Also I can read the disk fine (so far as I have tried) when I put it into another PC also running Win 2K.

    LVL 30

    Accepted Solution

    This is a [Rule of Thumb] information for you, for future reference.

       When installing programs, you do not have to let them install into
    C:\Program Files
    This is a just Windows Default directory for programs to be installed into.
    This does not in no-means, mean that you have to install their.
    You can install program in: Example:
    D:\Adobe\Acrobat Reader
    D:\Photo Programs\Program1
    D:\Photo Programs\Program2

    You do not have to have: D:\Program Files
    In order to install the programs into. Unless you prefer to have them installed
    Into such a folder. Which I sometimes do, but is not a practice that I do constantly.

    See i have 15 drive partitions with 3 HDD's on my Main computer.
    I have 12-partitions in 1 120Gig HDD on my laptop.

    Every drive is for a specific thing.
    Example: (Laptop Drives)
    D:\ --> Software Download Storage --> This is a 10Gig drive that is software
    Install file storage, no programs are installed on this drive, they are all the actual install files  .exe files
    E:\ --> Delphi --> This drive is strictly used for My Software Development
    F:\ Animation --> this drive is for "Photoshop, Poser, and other programs that
    are used to create images and animation
    And so forth and so on.

    Neither of the above drives have a: \Program Files\ folder-directory.
    All programs are installed to their "Company Name\Program Name\exe files

    It is called good house keeping, except on the computer.

    This keeps "C:\ drive" clean and clear, all programs that are installed
    On C:\ Drive, are ones that windows works better with having in the
    Default directory. i.e. WinZip and so forth, work better in C:\Program Files\


    No onto the problem at hand.
    Do you have another computer that you can take the hard drive and put in?
    This will be used as a "Backup"
    you take the drive and put it in the other computer, and then go in and backup
    Your "User Profile" My Documents, Outlook Mail, Favorites, and so forth.

    After you have successfully backed up everything.
    Then try to do a "Repair"

    Put your Win2k CD in the Drive, Boot the computer with CDRom Support.
    Ones all drivers are loaded and you agree to the License agreement.
    Simple Choose [Repair this Windows installation] press [R]
    Then choose [Quick Repair]
    This will pair the Registry entries "ONLY IF" they are damaged.
    And will fix your "WinNT" Folder.

    If you do not have another computer to backup your profile.
    then that is fine.
    Go on with the "Repair" and then boot the computer afterwards.
    If not able to get into in Regular mode, choose [Safe Mode]
    Once you are in the computer's desktop.
    Go in and backup all files and folders that you need.
    Onto the other partition (Where your images are at)
    And then reinstall your system.
    Then again, you may not have too, depending on rather or not
    The [Repair] corrects the problems.

    If [Repair] does correct the problems.
    Reinstall the latest Win2k Service Pack "4"
    And inform me of the outcome.

    All this information should get you backup and running.

    Fingers Crossed


    Author Comment

    Hi Carrzkiss

    O.K. will try that. I do have another computer, but it only has a 20 GB disck that is already half full. "My Pictures" partition lives inside "My Documents". So I will try backing up all my images from "My Pictures" to multiple CD discs. Then delete the Pictures off the disc, then I should have enough space on PC2 HDD1 to back up the rest of my profile.

    I have SP4 alreay installed but I guess if I do a repair it may need to reinstalled over the top.

    That is interesting that you can put program files in other folders apart from Program Files. I had always thought that if you put the EXE files anywhere else then Windows would not know where to find them. What about "common files" ? I guess as long as you put, as you say, all your Office programs in one place common files will be looked after o.k..
    Should I put Microsoft Visual Basic 6 in the same folder as Microsoft Office? That's another question I guess.

    I will try your suggestion tonight and let you know.

    Thanks again
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    by:Wayne Barron
    For Visual Basic 6. you can install it anywhere.

      E:\Microsoft\Visual Basic 6\

    E:\ = Drive Letter
    \Microsoft\ = Company
    \Visual Basic 6\ = Language. Program

    See when you install the program onto your computer.
    The .exe is was launches the program, so no mater where you have
    It installed, it is still going to launch.
    Unless the developer has specific attributes set in the programs .exe file (or) External .dll
    File that assumes that the program is installed in the default C:\program Files\ folder.
    Then you should never ever has any problems with install the programs anywhere.

    Example:   Microsoft Office

    This is my Drive Structure for Office. Which also includes all files from the Office2k CD.
    As you may know running Office, it ask for files every time that you turn around.
    So that it can install something to make something else work.
    Here is my structure

    This is my [Office - I:\ Drive]

    The Actual Program files to install Office, if you do this, then install out of this directory
    And it will never ask for a CD again, pretty sweet

    I:\Microsoft Office\2000

    This is the Install Directory

    I:\Microsoft Office\Office

    By looking at the Directory Structure here we have:

    I:\         Drive Letter, which is labeled [Office]
    Microsoft Office\       Product Vendor and Product Name in one
    2000\                This is the CD Files taken from the Office 2000 CD
    Office\               This is the actual Install Directory

    more: all dealing with the same Drive, never changing the Drive directory for any Office items.
    Unless dealing with "Access Database's they are all saved on my Web Server"

    Office Presentations using [PowerPoint]
    In this Folder is where I save all Presentations

    This folder contains over 100 Subfolders, and more subfolders
    These are all transactions that my company makes over the Internet.
    Cyber - Receipts

    And so forth and so on.

    See Creating a directory structure for all files & folders, make it allot easier to keep up
    With everything, Easier access to the files make for a better working environment.

    So if you do a lot of programming with the "VB6" Then It would be best to create
    A drive lets say like this. Taking from my Drive Structure.

    E:\Microsoft\Visual Basic 6

    Now inside the "Visual Basic 6\" folder, are the Program Install files?
    This is where everything is kept, your "Projects" files, Your "Components"
    And so forth.

    If you wanted, you could also install [Office] in here as well.
    Depending on the Office version that you have. Office 2k takes up 598mb Total
    That is including the Files from the CD, and the Install Directory.

    So for your Created Drive, I would make it about a "6 - 7 Gig"
    Now the size depends only on the amount of work that you do with
    VB6, compared to work you do in Office?

    Lets say that you do about 5mb of work a week. In VB6
    Then you will need to have about a 6-7Gig drive.
    Because the 5mb worth of work will start to pile fast.

    The same with Office work.

    And please do not forget to run the "Disk Defrag" at least once a week on heavily
    Used drives.  
    C:\   <-- This drive needs to be Defragged once to twice a week.
    And so forth for other heavily used drives.

    Let me know, if there is anything else that you may need to know.
    I will be more then happy to try to assist.


    Author Comment

    HI Carrzkiss
    Hmm thought I posted when I acepted your answer but it doesn't seem to have come up?
    I did exactly as you said. First I put the non-booting drive into the other PC, virus scanned it (O.K.) then copied all the Administrator files to the other PC's little hard drive (only just fit). Then I put the drive back into its own PC, booted from CD, choose the R for repair option chose the quick fix option and  crossed my fingers. Reboot O.K. no THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the advise. As soon as I got it booted I defraged everything, checked the disk for error, and again checked it with another anti-virus program that is more up to date. Everything is running smooth again..PHEW!!!  I have tonight made a new partition and called it GAMES and loaded a couple of fairly large games there instead of Program Files and it all runs very well thank.

    Once again thank you very much for all the advise, much appreciate the fact that you have givenme more tips than the bare bones of the question. All the disk structuring stuff.

    Once again thanks and Kind Regards
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    by:Wayne Barron
    Hello Author;

      No problem on the Tips.
    The site(s) that we are working on right now. (Our company sites)
    We have 1 that is right similar to the "Microsoft Knowledge Base"
    And this same information that I have posted here and in other questions
    That I have participated in will be in the KB as well.

       See their is a major problem out their with the Computer Manufactures.
    And the small Computer stores, when it comes down to giving the customer the
    Proper information that is needed in order to make them better on the computer.

    Rather it is Internet, Intranet, Drive Space, and Computer Know How, Trouble-Shooting
    And so on. These Companies are not telling (or) teaching the customers how to
    Do a lot of things on the Computer that they will need to know.
    For Example:
      HP (Hewlett Packard).
      I spoke with the "Night Manager" for the Technicians at one of their call centers.
    I had a computer that was brought in by a customer; the drive was a 60Gig HDD.
    I questioned the Manager of HP about "WHY" they did not partition the Drive
    Before selling to the customer?

    His Response:
        By our specs, the Hard Drive only needs to be partitioned into "1" single partition.
    Which takes all space on the drive. This makes for better file management.

    My Response:
        When the drive is larger then 20Gigs it needs to be Split into at the least, 2 Partitions.
    A C:\ Drive with about 10Gig
    A D:\ Drive with about 10Gig
    When the Drive starts to get full or partially full with Data, rather, image, media, or so on.
    The drive starts to struggle when the computer boots up.
    Windows has to read from the Registry, what programs need to start when Windows boots up.
    And if the drive is 50% full on a 60Gig drive, then the computer has to shuffle through.
    All the data in order to find the "File Path" that the program is located at in order to start it.

    His Response:
        I was not aware of this information. Thank you for informing me of this.
    And we will see about implementing this in future computer releases.
    Well, now HP releases their Computer with both "C:\ & D:\" Drive structure.

    It would have been nice if they had given Credit where Credit is due.
    But hey, HP is a sorry company anyway, and they are not going to give Credit to a small
    Businessman, when they can take all the glory for them selves.

    HP Sucks big time.

       You have the just of the information.
    Computers are fairly simple. They need our input and our help in order to function properly.
    Just keep in mind. That the information that you add into the computer the "Better" the computer.
    Will make for a better experience for you.

    Take Care and glad that I could help.


    Author Comment

    HI Carrzkiss
    Cheers for the advise. Dont know if you will read this but talking of HP. Three years ago I wanted a computer to run Windows 2000 Professional on. I went to a big store here and saw what I thought was an ideal PC for me. had a fast (for those days) CD writer etc.
    It had installed Windows Me on it, but it had a sticker on it saying "Designed for Microsoft Windows Me & Windows 2000 Professional"

    So I asked the guys are they sure it will be o.k. for Win 2K, yes they said. So I brought it and took it home and formatted the drive and went to install Win 2000 on it. I was pretty new to p.C. then, and after the install, my monitor didn't work (HP monitor that came with the pc) , the modem wouldn't work (PCI Softmodem in came with PC in PCI slot), My CD burner didn't work, Nothing really worked at all. I rang HP locally in NZ and they said to load Windows SP 1 or 2 whatever it was then. So I tried to do it but with no monitor very hard.
    Anyway I emailed HP support and they came back and said that the computer was not designed for Windows 2000 professional!
    I said that what do I do now, they said you cannot exchange it as you have installed a non-supported operating system on the computer and it might be damaged. After many emails I said I would seek Legal advise and get back to them.
    I then began searching the Net for Drivers from places that used to be free such as and finally got everything running.
    I never heard back from HP.

    So yeah I must agree HP sucks. Every laptop we have at work from HP except wide screen version have all had faulty non-functioning LCD screens within about 18 months...just out of warranty here.

    Thanks again.

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