Windows could not restart because the following file is missing or corrupt: <windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe

Posted on 2006-07-20
Last Modified: 2013-12-04
When I start my computer I get the following message:

Windows could not restart because the following file is missing or corrupt:

<windows root>\system 32\ntoskrnl.exe

I have looked up many logs online and solutions but can't find the answer. I have a Windows XP disc, but it is not the original one for this computer (which I no longer have). When I boot the CD in everything starts up okay and I am brought to the menu: "To set up Windows XP now, press ENTER. To R." So I pressed R to repair, because I do not want to lose any data still on my computer. Once I am brought to the next menu, "which windows installation would you like to log onto." The only option is: 1: C:\WINDOWS. So, I press 1 and nothing happens. Not other information comes up, like CHKDSK or any of that. So I click enter and "C:\WINDOWS" shows up.

From here, I have no idea what to do or how to fix this. Please help me figure it out.
Question by:mkaswell
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LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 17151603
here we are;EN-US;307545

if i can say, you are best with a clean install as soon as possible.

Author Comment

ID: 17151698
thanks jay...i tried that but when after typing the second command in the prompt it says "the file could not be copied
LVL 48

Accepted Solution

Jay_Jay70 earned 125 total points
ID: 17151720
ouch! I don't know then, i don't want to simply say reinstall but thats probably where i would be heading, i don't like messing around trying to fix things that can be solved quicker by a reinstall

good luck either way!
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

r-k earned 125 total points
ID: 17151777

Expert Comment

ID: 17152624
What happened just before the problem occured the 1st time ?
What may be the cause of this in your view?
Do you have an option to back up your important data from the harddrive  (e.g. connect it to another
PC as slave drive and just copy the data, or imaging through the network with imaging software like Ghost or even better - boot from LiveCD like Knoppix) ?
BTW Booting from LiveCD is a good  way to check that your harddrive is still readable.
LVL 24

Assisted Solution

SunBow earned 125 total points
ID: 17158208
> From here, I have no idea what to do or how to fix this
You run the repair/debug programs. I forget what they are. I'd tend to create a directory for them, copy them in, then a dir could help jog my memory.

> What happened just before the problem
:-))                                             (~90% of problems, IMO)

CheckDsk should work now, but not fix.

Odds are that first part of disk has something trashy, and you can probably use DIR and copy of the file with no help there.

Try on reboot to get to choice of prior known good working version, <F8>?
If you've been playing with partition management from 3rd parties, then all bets off, do a clean install and get control back
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 17158236
What's wrong with a repair install?
Boot from the XP CD. At the first screen, choose option 1 (install XP) NOT option 2 ("R" for repair takes you to Recovery Console). At the second screen, press f8 to accept the EULA. At the third screen, if the option to press "R" for repair is there, do that. If the option to repair is not there, quit setup.
You will need to input your product key, and when set up is finished you will need to re-activate Windows. But all your original settings will be kept, and all your data will be intact. All you will need to do is re-install updates.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17167562
Check boot.ini file.It should have correct entry.
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

phototropic earned 125 total points
ID: 17306866
Did you ttry a repair install, as I suggested?
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 17490135
Did you try a repair install?  Did it resolve your rpoblem?
Please let us have some feedback...
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 18009980

General practise I have also been attempting to promote good use of boot diskette, which can be best solution to similar issue once understood. I apparently assumed none available here, this user, but have intent on leaving it as comment anyway for others

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