Unable to Boot CD:  Cant find NTLDR

Posted on 2008-10-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
I've made several attempts at building slipstream Windows Home Server install discs, to include drivers for my new motherboard and SATA drives.  For some reason, after creating the ISO and burning the DVD, the disc just won't boot up in my new machine (nor other machine that I have).  What causes the error BOOT CD: Can't find NTLDR?

Pls help, i've gone thru probably 10 DVD attempts using NERO, BURNIMG etc.  Also, at least two different published "successful" methodologies for creating the slipstreamed ISO to no avail.

Question by:dlmille
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 22838750
to me it seems it is not booting from the cd, but trying to boot from disk.
disconnect the disk(s) and try to make sure then
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 22839148
There are a couple of possible causes:

- bad low-quality media: check with an emulator (VMWare-player, Qemu et.) whether they will boot off the CD/DVD
- rewritable media: don't use them
- high burning speed: use speed between 8x and 12x, no higher
- bad ISO format of the burnt media: check whether folders and files on the CD are in upper case, especially \I386 (not i386!) and SETUPLDR.BIN

Should you find that the files/folders are lower case on the CD/DVD, but upper case in Bart PE, then turn off your anti-virus while burning.

Also, if you create the ISO yourself (not burning a ready-made image), make sure to turn OFF the ISO delimiters (';1') in the Nero ISO settings.

Good luck.

Expert Comment

ID: 22839198
Just an alternative: Did you try setting your Disk Settings in your BIOS to legacy/compatible mode and booting with the normal Homeserver DVD?
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LVL 42

Author Comment

ID: 22858437
Thanks for everyone's input, to-date.  My responses, below:

1 - the computer can boot from bootable CD's - it does boot the windows home server original disks.
2 - none of the DVD's that I made through the various alternatives (re: slipstreaming) boot on this computer, nor other computers that do work and can boot from CD as well - so not sure my new computer with the SATA disks is the problem - appears to be associated with the actual creation of the "boot" cd.
3 - I burned at 1x - the slowest speed in my last trial, to no avail.  The DVD I last burned is DVD-R.  The i386 file directory is in lowercase, not uppercase.  Both the i386 directory and setupldr.bin on the ORIGINAL disk are lower case files...  How do I view my files using BartPE to see if they were in uppercase??? (pls see website link which discusses the tools I used for this attempt).

I created the ISO's using nLite, and burned the image using ImgBurn  in this latest attempt.

The directions I followed in the last attempt came from this website:  http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/2008/07/03/how-to-create-a-slipstreamed-unattended-windows-home-server-installation-dvd/#comment-9082

I can attempt it again, with anti-virus stuff turned off.  But, will wait for feedback/other ideas before making the attempt in the next 24 hours.
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 22859292
The names of files in the root folder of the CD and the folder name i386 must *needs* be rendered in upper case, otherwise they will not be recognized.
For a reason that I don't fully understand myself, this is required in order to obtain full ISO compliance. There is frequent mentioning of this on the BartPE forums.

If you happen to own an ISO editing/saving programme like PowerISO, UltraISO, WinISO, MagicISO etc. it will be no problem to open the ISO file created by BartPE and simply change cases, then save, then burn.

It's harder if you don't own such a programme, because there is no good free ISO editing software. You could extract the ISO with 7-Zip, reassemble it with ISORecorder, but I hesitate to recommend this.

Unfortunately, it's ages since I last used BartPE, and I only used it once. So I can't give exact advice here, but I'm sure that there is some kind of working directory where BartPE collects all the files that then get converted into an ISO. Search for this directory and edit the filenames, then let BartPE create a new ISO.

The reason why I told you to disable anti-virus is because some users on the relevant forums report that some AV applications tend to reverse those filename changes during the burning process.
LVL 42

Author Comment

ID: 22859792
I used the Windows Automated Installation Toolkit (re: my link on prior post) to create the files, and nLite to create the ISO.  I'm not sure what BartPE is, and haven't used it I don't think.

I will try to change the directory name and .bin file you suggested to upper case and repeat the process.

Will advise, tomorrow (I only have one blank DVD-R so might take a couple days to get back to the store for more disks for more tries - but will give it one shot, tomorrow).
LVL 42

Author Comment

ID: 22859807
I just tried to rename i386 to I386.  When I ran nLite, it didn't like that, saying that i needed an "i386" directory.  I didn't waste a disk, but am back to square one...

Would anyone read the http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/2008/07/03/how-to-create-a-slipstreamed-unattended-windows-home-server-installation-dvd/#comment-9082 post and hypothesize why my DVD won't boot?

LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 22860520
did you try with another dvd drive? it may just be bad, causing not to read burned cd's, or boot from it
LVL 35

Accepted Solution

torimar earned 1000 total points
ID: 22860790
1. Easiest thing you could try:
- Set CDROM as first and only bootdevice in BIOS
- Disconnect all but the installation hard drive
- Unplug all USB storage devices

This is to make sure that all boot order issues may be ruled out.

2. I looked at the guide you were following and find it more complicated than the usual ones. Also, the author uses a couple of additional tools that I haven't heard of before.
Does it have to have this extra bit of intricateness when it comes to nliting Home Server? Is the original guide (http://www.nliteos.com/guide/index.html) defintely not working for you?

3. My bad - I was so focussed on the error that I did not realized I was mixing up nLite and BartPE (a Windows Live CD creation tool).
However, the upper case issue is the same for both. On a bootable CD, Windows core files and the i386 folder have to be in upper case; check out post #7 in this thread from the nLite forums: http://www.msfn.org/board/SOLVED-file-ntfssys-t123894.html.
After all, the error complains about NTLDR, not ntldr.

4. On the nlite forums, this error occurs only twice. On one occasion it is solved by using a different burner (ImgBurn or DeepBurner), on the other by making a new nLite build from scratch.

Trying anew from scratch is a recommendation you get to read often there, because an nLite build easily messes up.
LVL 42

Author Comment

ID: 22863776
I have tried it on another DVD drive, before, using Nero - to no avail.

1. I tried the CD-ROM as the only boot device - same error, and for some reason it booted on the installation hard drive (guess you can't disable all, without unplugging).  There are no USB storabe devices.  There were no boot order problems, because I had the option to boot from CD - as with other test PC's that invalidated this boot disk, lol.

2.  I think I tried one that was based on nLite only.  I tried again, from the link you suggested and this version of nLite will actually burn the ISO to the DVD, so I crossed my fingers and gave that a try (before I did that, I also copied my DOS driver disk to the i386 directory in the source of WHS that nLite was working from.  I first created the image using defaults, then told it to burn the image (but missed the burn rate - it burned at 16x).

Upon examination, I386 and inside, SETUPLDR.BIN is all caps!, this might actually work!

It...DID!  Thanks for your help.  It was the guidance from torimar - to start back to the basics using nLite (actually, after having followed so many guides I was able to think a bit about how it all comes together) - and I used nLite to not only create the ISO but to burn it (maybe that wasn't available in prior versions hence documentation suggested using NERO - as I had done this before, but not burned with nLite).

Anyway - now to see if I pulled the right drivers together for my new MoBo, SATA drives, etc....  it appears to, as it sees the mirrored SATA disks and is prompting me to install windows, create or delete partition.  I THINK I'm home free - at least with how to create slipstream bootable DVD's!

Thanks, alot!
LVL 42

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31511555
The link - back to basics - on how to use nLite, coupled with your observations on upper case issues (something to look out for) really helped!

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