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System Reboot Trouble "NTLDR is Missing"

Posted on 2009-03-29
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I've had this Acer Aspire 5100 notebook for almost 3 years now, and i recently decided to reset it to factory setting.  During the middle of the process, my laptop shut down.  I turned it back on and it showed me a black screen that said "NTLDR is missing.  Press Any Key to restart".  I've pressed every key on the keyboard and nothing happened.  Then I contacted the Acer technical support multiple times, but none of the procedures worked, including the Alt + F10 procedure.  Nothing happens when I hold down Alt and tap F10; it just keeps showing me the message.  Can someone please help me?  I'm absolutely desperate to get my notebook fixed.  
Question by:Rmdegula
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 24013134
Check out the various methods of repairing this error as listed and described by Microsoft:

There is also a complete page dedicated to it:
LVL 35

Accepted Solution

torimar earned 500 total points
ID: 24013141

I suggest you use Method 2 in the Microsoft article:
"Use the Recovery Console"

Expert Comment

ID: 24013154
Insert the Windows XP bootable CD into the computer.
When prompted to press any key to boot from the CD, press any key.
Once in the Windows XP setup menu press the "R" key to repair Windows.
Log into your Windows installation by pressing the "1" key and pressing enter.
You will then be prompted for your administrator password, enter that password.
Copy the below two files to the root directory of the primary hard disk. In the below example we are copying these files from the CD-ROM drive letter, which in this case is "e." This letter may be different on your computer.

copy e:\i386\ntldr c:\
copy e:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\

Once both of these files have been successfully copied, remove the CD from the computer and reboot.

if that diesnt work that means there is an problem with yours boot.ini file in recovery console execute this command
bootcfg /rebuild
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Author Comment

ID: 24015178
Well the problem is that i don't have the disk.  Is there any way i can fix it without the use of disks?
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 24015219
Have you checked the second link I posted? (http://www.tinyempire.com/notes/ntldrismissing.htm)

it contains instructions on how to create your own NTLDR boot disk.
(Make a NTLDR boot disk to get back into Windows.)

Author Comment

ID: 24023596
I tried doing what the second link said, but i when i put the new boot disk into my laptop nothing happened.  I tried both versions on the boot disk, and i also tried using my usb flash drive, but it says i need administrative rights to run that tool.  It says to get to the BIOS, but I'm not exactly sure what the BIOS is or how to access it.  I know that when i press F2 at the Acer screen it takes me to set up (at the top it says PheonixBIOS Setup Utility) where i have boot options, though i can't change it because it says, "All items on this menu cannot be modified in user mode.  If any items require changes, please consult your system supervisor."  Is it because the computer i used to make the disk runs on Windows Vista and my laptop runs on WidowsXP?  I also looked under the "What if none of the options worked?" section of the link that you sent, but I don't have the required disk nor do i know how to log into my recovery console.  Any ideas? :S

Expert Comment

ID: 24029852
"NTLDR missing" could be because the file is corrupt. You need to start using recovery console refer to "section-2" http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058
Once you reached recovery console, run chkdsk /r first.
Secondly check whether you could see NTLDR at c:\
Third, you woul need to make sure that c:\ is set as active partition. Run "fixmbr" and "fixboot" to get this done.
Good luck.

Author Comment

ID: 24034251
@Ebyk: I'm sorry but that doesn't work for me because: 1) i don't have the windows XP installation disk, 2) Windows doesn't start.  Is there anything else I can do?
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 24035067
"...and i recently decided to reset it to factory setting.." What actually did you do? Used recovery partition to restore OS to manufacturing date? or reset bios?
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 24035131

I have studied this whole thread again, and I feel there is some need of explanation. I'm afraid though that a few of the things I have to say aren't what you would want to hear at all. Sorry for that.

1.  If you do not have an XP installation disk, you cannot run the Recovery Console. So all suggestions that entail copying over sound versions of "ntldr" from the \i386 folder to your hard drive will not work; you may also forget about running commands like 'fixmbr' and 'fixboot'.

2. The "BIOS" is indeed the Pheonix setup utility that you access via F2 (or sometimes DEL) when your system boots up. You need to be able to modify the boot options in this BIOS, if your laptop doesn't automatically boot off a bootable CD (or USB flash drive). Usually, the BIOS options can be changed easily - unless someone set up an administrator password to protect it from changes. Maybe you set up this password unknowingly, or the laptop's previous owner did, or it's a corporate laptop, then your system administrator did.
In any case, you need to be able to boot off a bootable CD, otherwise you will not even be able to reinstall Windows - provided you got a CD.

3. You say you "decided to reset it to factory setting" - does that mean you used an inbuilt Acer menu/utility that enables you to restore the operating system?
Many big computer companies prebuild computers with such a utility. But this means that the machine is set back to exactly the state that you got it in: all your settings and data are irreversibly lost. Did you know that?
Because now, unfortunately, it's too late to do anything about it.

4. You say that in the middle of the process of resetting, your "laptop shut down"? This is pretty bad news. Because it means that most of the data that were written to your hard drive in order to set Windows back to the original state may be corrupt or missing.
Usually, when the error message "NTLDR is missing" occurs, it means just what it says: that one (sometimes two) file is corrupt or cannot be found. In this special case of yours, it means that chances are high this is only the first out of a very long list of required files that simply aren't there - because they weren't copied over due to the shut down.

5. Given the facts I listed in points #3 and #4 above, you seem to have two options:
a) try to re-initiate the process of factory reset and hope this time it will complete successfully; b) re-install Windows from scratch.
You seem to have already tried a) when contacting Acer support. This leaves you with b) - which, however, would require an installation CD.

I'm sorry to say, but this seems to be a dead end to me. Unless Acer agree to send you an installation CD, you will either have to buy Windows, or venture to install Linux on the laptop.
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 24035160
Good point, PUNKY. You posted while I was writing.

I wondered about that myself, but won't resetting the BIOS take only a couple of seconds? How could it take so long that "in the middle of the process" the laptop could shut down?
Unless, of course, it was a shutdown initiated by the BIOS reset....

Since the asker did not know what the BIOS is, I tried to explain. Maybe we could now expect an answer to your question.

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