Error message "The file ntfs.sys is corrupted. Press any key to Continue" during Windows XP setup

Posted on 2005-04-25
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I am doing a fresh install of Windows XP on a year old Compaq computer.  

Upon booting from the Windows XP CD, it starts to load all the files.  About a minute later, I get the following Error Message...

Windows Setup

The file ntfs.sys is corrupted.
Press any key to continue.

I press any key and it tells me....Setup failed.  Press any key to restart your computer.

I have tried loading Windows with a XP SP2 CD, XP SP1 CD and a regular XP CD and still get the same error message.

I have tried different Hard Drives...still get the error message.

I though it might be the IDE controller, so I installed an IDE controller card.....still get the error message

Any ideas????

Question by:daveyd123
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    Might be faulty ram... how many pieces of ram do u have?
    U mentioned that this is 1 year old compaq... surely must be under warrenty rite?
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    You should try this to repair the ntfs.sys:;en-us;822800
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    I am not sure about the warranty.

    It has 2 RAM modules.  I'll have to try switching them out and see what happens.


    That MS article you linked is for fixing a corrupt ntfs.sys file that already exists.  I am getting this error message when I am installing Windows.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    I will briefly walk you through the steps needed to set up Windows XP in a fashion that will provide continuous, reliable uptime. This assumes that you already have some knowledge of the Windows XP installation process and the operating system.

    Before starting, you will need the following:

    Windows XP Product Disk
    Windows XP Product Key

    Step 1. Formatting your computer and installing Windows XP
    This step is the most crucial. Instead of upgrading from a previous Windows release, or installing Windows XP on top of itself ("in-place" upgrade), we will want to do a clean installation. This will ensure that Windows runs correctly.

    Back up any data you wish to keep (important documents, pictures, etc.)

    Unplug your network connection.

    Place the Windows XP CD-ROM in the CD/DVD drive. Restart your computer. Go into your system BIOS (the key to press varies on each system; it is usually DEL or F1.) Set the boot order to look something like this:

    CD Drive
    Floppy Drive (If Available)
    Hard Disk
    Once you have done this, save your changes and restart again. You should see a prompt that looks like this:

    Press any key to boot from CD.

    When you see this prompt, press any key within five seconds to launch the Windows XP installation program. Follow through the questions setup asks you; partition your hard drive (if you don't know what this is, then you don't need to do this,) and format the drive as NTFS (this is VERY important, and should only be skipped if dual booting with a Windows 9x OS and you'd like to read/write to the Windows XP drive.)

    Setup will the copy files to the hard disk and restart the computer. You should see the Windows XP Home Edition or Windows XP Professional boot screen. The rest of setup should be fairly easy; just follow the instructions and accept most of the defaults. If you need information on completing setup, please visit The Elder Geek.

    Step 2. Configuring Windows
    Now that you have completed the Windows XP setup program, you should be looking at a functional Windows XP default desktop. If you connect to the internet directly using a broadband modem, you may wish to turn on the Windows Firewall (or Internet Connection Firewall in pre-SP2 installations.) This will prevent hackers from being able to exploit an unpatched system.

    If you are connected using a broadband modem (such as Linksys, NETGEAR, etc): you don't need to do anything at this point, the built in firewall on your router will be fine for now.

    Step 2a. System Performance Options
    Click Start, right click on My Computer, and click Properties.
    Click the Advanced tab. Under Performance, click the Settings button.
    Click the Advanced tab in the Performance Options window.
    Under Virtual Memory, click the Change button.

    If you have less than 512MB of physical memory, set both the min. and max. settings to 2.5x the amount of physical memory in your system.

    Example: 128MB = 320MB min and max

    If you have 512MB or more of physical memory, set both the min. and max. settings to the exact amount of physical memory in your system.

    Example: 512MB = 512MB min and max

    Click OK, and then click OK again. In the System Properties window, click on "Environment Variables."
    Delete the two USER variables, TMP and TEMP. Click OK.

    Now, click the System Restore tab. Turn System Restore off for all drives. Close the System Properties window. If asked to reboot, click No.

    Once you have done this, right click on the Recycle Bin. Set the overhead for all drives to 1%. Click OK.

    Next, go to Start, Run, and type "services.msc" (without the quotes). Follow the Services Configuration Guide at Black Viper.


    Install applications, in this order:
    Windows Media Player 10, DirectX 9.0c, Microsoft Office, Adobe Applications, Utilities, Antivirus, etc.


    Run Disk Cleanup. You can do this by clicking Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup.

    Defragment your hard drive. Do this by clicking Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter.


    Install the latest updates or service pack from the Windows Update Web site.


    Run Disk Cleanup and Defragment your hard drive again.

    Create your normal user accounts and configure them as needed.

    Defragment the drive again.

    You are now finished! Congratulations! Your Windows XP configuration should provide reliable, continuous uptime!

    Dale May

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    d_may, he is having problem getting into XP setup...

    I noe this url will not give u a definite ans on ur problem... but this is a guide on where u can start on ure troubleshooting...
    Since u had change the HDD and even IDE controller, the next culprit might be RAM or ure mobo....

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Usually, HP-Compac will give 3 years onsite warrenty to their desktop product... frankly, if i were u, i will give them a call...

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