Windows SBS 2003 - NTDETECT failed

I have a Dell PowerEdge 2900 server.  It was running Windows SBS 2003.  When I tried booting the server this afternoon I received the following message:


From my brief search of the web I know this is a serious error.  The server does not have an internal floppy drive; I do however have an external usb floppy drive.  I am trying to avoid a total system rebuild.  Is there a way to recover the necessary system files?  

Many thanks in advance!

Who is Participating?
lnkevinConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Insert windows SBS cd into cd drive. Reboot your server and run windows recovery console to repair your system file. Follow this instruction to repair the booting system files:;en-us;816104

If your server does not boot up after that, you will have to copy the 3 files: ntdetect, boot.ini, ntloader from another working server or CD to your OS root C: using ultimate boot CD. Download the software ISO, burn into cd and boot it to prewindows then transfer these 3 files to the root C:

Has your NTDetect file gone missing? Don't know if that helps, my XP has the same problem before and what I did was to copy that from my original XP CD and put it on c:\drive, and machine boots again.
CecilAdminAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your response!  Your first suggestion was the closest to the solution.  Here is my resolution with assistance from Dell.  Read on...

 I downloaded the Perc5i drivers from dell to create a floppy disk for use at the SCSI driver prompt (press f6 when booting from the windows cd) prior to running the recovery console.  
1.      Created Perc5i driver diskette
2.      Booted to Windows CD
3.      Pressed F6 to install 3rd party drivers
4.      Pressed R to enter the recovery console
5.      Ran chkdsk with the following switches /p /r
6.      Chkdsk recovered/repaired some system files.
7.      Remove the floppy and CD
8.      Typed Exit and the system rebooted successfully.
Nice of you to repost the steps for future usage.



I just had this issue and in using CecilAdmin response I also had to copy the file from the i386 file on the cd to the c drive.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.