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Windows XP ntfs.sys is either corrupt or missing - access is denied

When booting up windows XP Pro, I am getting an error saying that  windows\system32\drivers\ntfs.sys is either corrupt or missing.  I tried going into the recovery console and replacing the file from the boot disk, but i get a message saying that access is denied.  It will let me copy it to other parts of the C drive but not in the system32 subfolder. Is my hard drive usable?  Can I copy over the ntfs.sys file from some other source?  Is the data on the drive recoverable?  Another option is not going into the recovery console and replacing the Windows XP -will that fix the missing file and allow me to keep all the data?  Thanks
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5 Solutions
jacorkyAuthor Commented:
I saw the similar issue but his had the message "an error occurred during directory enumeration" which I'm not getting.
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Did u run the disk diagnostic utility mentioned there
jacorkyAuthor Commented:
I don't know the hard drive manufacturer to run the disk diagnostic utility.  It's a Gateway 610s all in one unit.  They replaced the HD once before.  I did re-set the RAM and then the copy cd:\i386\ntfs.sys c:\windows\system32\drivers - same "access is denied"
insert win xp cd and run sfc /scannow command from the command prompt. hope this will solve your problem
If you have your XP CD, boot off it and do a repair install (not the same as the Recovery Console).  There are some good instructions here:
Else check for ur Hard disk...you may need to replace it!!
jacorkyAuthor Commented:
I'm not sure where to type in "sfc /scannow " 

Here's the process I go through:

Start up computer
1st message: Press any key to load from CD (I can't find the ANY key - Homer Simpson)
2nd: A) Express Windows loads the OS / Apps and re-fromats HD or B) Manaul Windows (OS only) - I choose "B"
3rd: Press F2 for Automated Recovery - I press nothing - what is this option?
4th: Setup is loading files - It loads the adaptors, controllers, drivers incuding the NTFS.sys ETC
5th: Setup is starting Windows
6th: New screen for WIndows XP Pro Setup 1) Setup XP now 2) Repair and go to Recovery Console - I press "R"
7th: Pick drive 1:C:\WINNT
8th: Enter Admin Password
9th: Prompt C:\WINNT

I typed in "sfc /scannow "  and it didn't recognize the command.  Thanks for all your ideas!
As saving the files is the priority,
you can use another computer desktop windowsxp, slave your hdd to the cdrom on that, unpower> pull out the power first on both so that no chance static discharge off your body besides its better anyway.

Take off the sidecase
Remove your hdd unscrew it and pull out the ide ribbon and power, slide out, carefully..
2nd computer
unpower it pull out the power
Unplug the ide and power from the slave cdrom master , move the jumper on the rear of your hdd to slave use the digram on top, and just plug the ide ribbon and power connector from the cdrom or dvd rom into your hdd,
sit the hdd on top of the tower,
power in again and boot,
it maybe a bit slower, if the machine BSOD then your hdd is dead,
 if it boots windows will find new hardware your hard drive, which will take the drive letter instead of the rom drive.
 scan it for malware first using the latest scanners or your AV.
Enable show hidden system files from tools folders options view.
 As it is nolonger using windows your  AV will scan into the system files and hidden files
Please make sure it is clean before moving any files.

Look in control panel administrative tools computer management disc manager.
Then Run a chkdsk onit to see if it is healthy.
You can replace the 1386 folder from here.
Or fix the boot.ini

Once its clean and safe save off your files.

jacorkyAuthor Commented:
I'm not sure what you mean by "power from the slave cdrom master , move the jumper on the rear of your hdd to slave use the digram on top, and just plug the ide ribbon and power connector from the cdrom or dvd rom into your hdd,"  - I think you mean to hook up the sick HD as an extra drive on my other desktop?  I'll give it a try tomorrow after work.  Goodnight all.
yep that is what I mean slave it, or as you said hook up the sick HD as an extra drive on my other desktop.
The cdrom has an ide and power connector that is the same as what is connected to a normal hdd,
 the only thing differs them is the connection to the mainboard you have 3 dimms, master slave and floppy.

 sata is different though,
 I have done this heaps of times as a quick way to test if a hdd is any good or if it is simply the operating that is dead, once confirmed its okay my spare machine will boot normally with the hdd plugged into the cdrom ide.
good to know you have another desktop there to test it.
remember to scan it before accessing it so that you dont carry any viruses or malware over to the other system.
If you get an acces denied message trying to open any files or folders you'll have to take ownership of them

HOW TO: Take Ownership of a File or Folder in Windows XP:

HOW TO: Set, View, Change, or Remove File and Folder Permissions in Windows XP

 If you cannot see the Security tab, >Tools>Folder Options>View and untick Simple File Sharing, apply.
no sfc /scannow should be used from command prompt in win xp. you need not boot through the CD ROM but boot win xp, logon as administrator and open command prompt from start - run - cmd
if you cannot boot from it, you need to run :
-a repair install   - - or - -
-chkdsk from the recovery console

here a site to guide you with sfc :

scannow-sfc.html" target="_blank" onclick="return openNew(this.href);">http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html

Good Luck,

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Do you have a BartPE or Reatogo boot cd?  That would make this an easy fix.  Reply if you do and I will walk you through the steps.  If you don't have one and want to make one, check out these sites:


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