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NTLDR is missing....press Ctrl-Alt-Del to Restart

Posted on 2008-09-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi all,
I am trying to solve a computer problem for a friend. The problem is on boot upI am presented with "NTLDR is missing....press Ctrl-Alt-Del to Restart".

He tells me that his way of get around a frozen program was to switch it off then on at the mains and then start up the PC...has this killed the HDD?

I know its quite a common subject. I have tried making a boot disk (both CD-R and USB) and most of the options here but it is still the same: http://tinyempire.com/notes/ntldrismissing.htm

I am now wanting to perform a repair installation of XP, I get to the bit where I select the "C" partition and it tells me that "A \Windows folder already exists that may contain a windows installation...."

I either have to delete the Windows Install (press L) or select a different folder to install windows too. I do not want to do either, I want to repair it.

If anyone has any solutions on how to get windows back I will be very interested.

Many thanks,
Jack
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Question by:JackHodson
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Expert Comment

by:Jerrod_W
ID: 22600707
I would suggest running the windows cd on boot until you get the option to repair the install. From there run "chkdsk" and "fixmbr". That may get your install to start working again.
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Expert Comment

by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22600725
It's often because of a corrupted BOOT.INI file.

Use the Recovery Console to repair it.
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Expert Comment

by:pablovr
ID: 22600730
Command to use in Recovery Console:
fixboot
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Expert Comment

by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22600767
Here's a very standard one you can create with any text editor, like Notepad:
*************************
[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
*************************
Don't forget to remove the R S H attributes before renaming the old BOOT.INI
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by:KCTS
ID: 22600781
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22600877
KCTS - I have looked at that site and tried it - I mention it in my question ;-)

I have tried Fixboot and Fixmbr in the recovery console.

I am now running a chkdsk.
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Author Comment

by:JackHodson
ID: 22600884
I have also tried bootcfg /rebuild as per:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;330184
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22600916
Chkdsk says it found one or more error errors on the volume....what should I do now?
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by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22600993
Did you run CHKDSK /X  for errors to be fixed?
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22601025
In the recovery console /x is not an option. I did chkdsk /? and it says I can use /P or /R....

I will try /R now.
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by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22601064
/R is good.
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22601135
Hope so, its taking forever, think I will leave it over night.

Thanks
Jack
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by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22601191
/I is quicker if it's available in RC.
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by:omic_admin
ID: 22601766
First off, you should never listen to your friend about any computer advice in the future. If he feels like he is an expert, you should slap him and tell him to be quiet.

Now, I've just gotten this error on my desktop recently, and it was not exactly easy, but you will need to replace the NTLDR and the NTDECTECT.com files and probably fix the boot.ini file as well. However, you will need to make sure that the versions of the two files are the same as the service pack level you are running.
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Expert Comment

by:supersaintly
ID: 22602243
Your hard drive sounds like it is on its final journey.  Open up the case and try listen to the HDD to see if there's any clicking sound.

I would recommend download and prepare a "LiveCD" and copy all your vital information onto a portable USB hard drive (or a USB memory key if there isn't much).

Rebuild Windows and see what errors you get
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Expert Comment

by:patmoli
ID: 22602851
I wouldn't rebuild the OS until all other options exhausted.  Even recovering from a repaired copy of the OS can be a pain.  I have used all of the suggestions above, and have had success with all of them.  I have never been unable to recover the OS using all the above.

I would also heed supersaintly's advice.  Assume the drive is failing and get the data off.

My 2 cents.
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Expert Comment

by:Dhiraj Mutha
ID: 22604321
I have attached a screenshot.... Please follow the following steps mentioned in the screenshot. It would work fine.
NTLDR.bmp
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Assisted Solution

by:Dhiraj Mutha
Dhiraj Mutha earned 100 total points
ID: 22604340
If this also does not work, try repairing the OS. That will resolve the problem.
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Author Comment

by:JackHodson
ID: 22604378
Hi, thanks for the advice,sorry for the scetchy message,i am currently posting from a phone. The chkdsk /r completed but but not report anything. I will get the data off using a the ultimate boot cd i made some time ago. I do have a number of backups already though.

What should be my next step now? After all i have tried should i should i persist with replacing the ntldr, .com and fixing the boot.ini?
If so i will need some new options.

I will try and check for the hdd clicking, i presume it should no start up and when seeking, it is difficult to remove as HP have crammed a lot in!

As ever your help is very appreciated.

Jack
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Author Comment

by:JackHodson
ID: 22604382
Hi, thanks for the advice,sorry for the scetchy message,i am currently posting from a phone. The chkdsk /r completed but but not report anything. I will get the data off using a the ultimate boot cd i made some time ago. I do have a number of backups already though.

What should be my next step now? After all i have tried should i should i persist with replacing the ntldr, .com and fixing the boot.ini?
If so i will need some new options.

I will try and check for the hdd clicking, i presume it should no start up and when seeking, it is difficult to remove as HP have crammed a lot in!

As ever your help is very appreciated.

Jack
0
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22604533
Pspglb, thank your for the picture, i will try that later.

As for a windows repair, as I mention, this is not possible as I do not get the option when booting from the Cd.
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Author Comment

by:JackHodson
ID: 22604536
Pspglb, thank your for the picture, i will try that later.

As for a windows repair, as I mention, this is not possible as I do not get the option when booting from the Cd.
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Expert Comment

by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22604538
There doesn't seem any reason to suspect your hard drive has been damaged.
Now the file structutre has been checked, try the procedure at http://tinyempire.com/notes/ntldrismissing.htm once more.
If it fails AND you have a copy of your data (and your original programs), I'd suggest reformating the HDD & doing a fresh Windoze install (which is not a bad thing to do: FYI I do it once a year, just to clean up).
Good luck.
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22604542
Pspglb, thank your for the picture, i will try that later.

As for a windows repair, as I mention, this is not possible as I do not get the option when booting from the Cd.
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22604546
Pspglb, thank your for the picture, i will try that later.

As for a windows repair, as I mention, this is not possible as I do not get the option when booting from the Cd.
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22605128
OK, I will try that and if no sucess I will format and reinstall XP.

As for the problem coming up. Likely to be casued by powering off at the wall power switch?

Jack

p.s Sorry for the multi posts - must have been on a bad mobile connection.
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Expert Comment

by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22605247
Possibly. Interrupting a machine while it's writing on the disk is a recipe for trouble.

After you're satisfied with your new installation, take an image of your HDD and store it on a CD or some USB device, and keep the software on a bootable CD. I'm personnally using Acronis software, but there are plenty others to do that. To be truthful, I usually do not re-install Windoze from scratch, but from such image.
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by:Dhiraj Mutha
ID: 22605848
As per my experience this solution in the picture should work fine.
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by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22605958
It might work, but there is nothing new there. The procedure is already included in http://tinyempire.com/notes/ntldrismissing.htm
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Expert Comment

by:patmoli
ID: 22606335
You lose the ability (and the options) to repair when the boot.ini file is missing or damaged.  
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Author Comment

by:JackHodson
ID: 22607273
So it is fairly certain the boot.ini file is a gonner then.

Now that I can see the picture above properly I realise I have already tried that but each time it said something like access denied - I will try again later and let you know.

Thanks
Jack
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22607669
Ah, some progress. The files copied successfully. Took me a while to find out the CD drive is assigned letter J - I had only tested to F before.

 Now upon reboot I get:

Windows could not start because of an error in the software. Please report this problem as : load needed DLLs for kernel. Please contact your support person to report this problem.

I did a quick search and it seems a repair is what is needed - I now have this option and it is running now.
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by:Grizzly072000
ID: 22607765
Since you went to bed, you didn't watch CHKDSK running. So you have no idea of the corrections it made. From what I see now, it's highly probable a few files were deleted or truncated (When crosslinks are found).
It's your time. But how much of it have you wasted trying to salvage a screwed up installation?
Re-installing Windows + SP3 will take about an hour. If you still have your motherboard CD, add another half to get all the drivers. Then add some time for the software & final updates.
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22607842
I can see what you are saying and its not over yet. Problem being that the owner is abroad with no comms to me so I have spent a couple of hours on this, learnt a fair bit. Also, I do not have the CD key or the other software and drivers to hand.

Apart from that I left it doing a repair on the install. It is restarting and the windows loading screen comes up with the moving bar. Then it goes in to a blue install screen and says

"setup is being restarted......"
then
"Please wait while windows prepares to start"

Then the PC restarts and the same thing starts over again.....
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Author Comment

by:JackHodson
ID: 22608038
I wonder if it needs the XP Media Centre Edition 2005 as that is what is installed. I have been trying a repair with normal XP SP2.
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by:
Grizzly072000 earned 200 total points
ID: 22608262
Oh boy, Media Center! Just another reason to forget it & start anew.  ;-)

You can install any Windows flavour providing you have an install CD, a valid product key and the appropriate drivers. After the installation, you'll have 30 days to (re-)activate XP with Microsoft.

You could spend your time, while waiting for the owner, creating an updated Windows install CD with a slipstreamed SP3 and all recent updates & hotfixes.

Since I gather you do not have one of the latest models, most of the common drivers will be included in XP. You can hunt for the others on the manufacturer's site. Go to the motherboard manuf. if you are using a clone.
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Assisted Solution

by:patmoli
patmoli earned 200 total points
ID: 22609114
Hi Jack,

I think you will need the appropriate install cd's to properly excecute a repair.  Is the original media available?  Whatever you do decide to do here, you'll need the media.

For the record, Grizzly... I winced too at the mention of Media Center.  The Windows ME of the XP distro.
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by:JackHodson
ID: 22609120
They should be available. Will find out in a couple of days.
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Expert Comment

by:patmoli
ID: 22609140
Good.  I'll be around if you need help.  By the way, every time I have recovered from theis NTLDR issue, the system came back nicely.
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Author Comment

by:JackHodson
ID: 22676610
Hi,

Well, I found an HP recovery disk that the owner made when he got the PC. I ran this and it specifically said it would restore the windows installation and would NOT delete the data files that users have created. So great I ran this and when it cam back up what do I see.....a factory restored system, all files gone and a fresh copy of windows installed!
I used a recovery program to get the files back and all is well now. Few bits lost a corrupted but he has his PC back.

Thanks for all the help. I would have preferred to have solved the ntldr problem without a reinstall but it wasn't to be.

Jack
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