***This is an old version of this page, the newest version is available at: http://ntldrismissing.com/ ***

NTLDR is missing Press any key to restart NTLDR is missing, press Ctrl Alt Del to restart

Fix "NTLDR is missing" with a boot disk

It's possible you can fix this by unplugging a USB device or changing the Boot setup in your PC's BIOS, but if you need a boot disk to get your PC back into Windows XP, I've got you covered. This boot disk will work around any issues with the hard drive boot sector, or missing boot files; but won't make a difference if you haven't installed Windows yet, have a bad hard drive, or an incorrect BIOS configuration. You'll need a blank floppy, cd, usb and a computer to make it on. Then you can fix this from Windows XP, instead of trying to run DOS commands from the setup CD.
No: I need to boot Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 9. OR Installing XP to a netbook. OR A more detailed explanation of booting.

Update 2014-02-20: The most up to date version of this page is at http://ntldrismissing.com

Step 1. Find something to boot with and a PC to make it on

Get a blank floppy/cd-r/usb (whatever is on it will be erased), and put it into a working computer. Tip: If you can't go to a friend or neighbors, try a library, or a Kinkos.

Step 2. Download the files to make it bootable

Floppy fixntldr.exe | CD-R fixntldriso.zip | USB ntldrusb.zip
For WinXP 64 bit: Floppy 64ntflop.exe | CD-R 64ntiso.zip | Files 64ntfile.zip
Backup copies of these files available at http://ntldrismissing.com What if? My backup system isn't Windows, but a Mac / Linux or another OS.

Step 3. Make the new boot disk

*Floppy: Double click fixntldr.exe. Click OK to overwrite the blank floppy disc in the working computer, you should see some screens about writing a new floppy disk. (You can download fixntldr_RawRite.zip if you want to use your own version of RawRite.
*CD-R: Note: Burnable DVD+R may not work. Right click fixntldriso.zip and "Extract All" then right click fixntldr.iso and follow the prompts to "burn" the content to CD. If using Windows XP you'll need a program to burn the ISO file, "ISO Recorder" is a great free program. Watch my "Make CD" YouTube video. When done, the CD should look like this.

*USB: Walk through of screenshots - USB or Watch my "Make USB" YouTube video.

***This step isn't part of the instructions***

***Back to your regurally scheduled program***

Step 4. Give the medicine to the patient

Put the new disk you have just created into the computer that gets the NTLDR is missing error message, turn the broken computer off.

Step 5. Boot and choose the floppy / CD / USB

Power on the broken computer with the floppy/cd-r/usb inside it/plugged into it (if the computer was already on, restart it). Once your computer gets past the BIOS screen your computer should try to access the boot disk and you should see a black screen with white letters (What if I don't see this screen?). that says:

1ST TRY THIS seleccione esto primero
2ND TRY THIS essayez ceci en deuxieme
3RD TRY THIS wahlen Sie diesen Third
4TH TRY THIS selezioni questo fourth
5TH TRY THIS selecione este fifth
6TH TRY THIS seleccione este sexto
7TH TRY THIS essayez ceci en septieme
8TH TRY THIS wahlen Sie dieses achte
9TH TRY THIS selezioni questo nono
10TH TRY THIS selecione este decimo

(I threw in some Spanish / French / German / Italian / Portuguese for international flavor.)

This file is set up to automatically select the "1ST TRY THIS" choice after 30 seconds. Try it first, if it was the wrong selection, you will likely get one of these four errors:

Error 1. Windows could not start because file system32hal.dll was missing or corrupt

Error 2. Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information.

Error 3. I/O Error accessing boot sector file multi(0)disk(0)fdisk(0)BOOTSECT.DOS

Error 4. Immediate reboot

If you did get an error, try option 2. Most computers will boot with either option 1 or option 2. Of course if option 2 doesn't work, try option 3, etc, until you have tried all 10.

If none work, you can try pressing F8 at the "1st Try This" selection screen, it will give you a prompt where you can select Safe Mode, and then try the "1st Try This" option again. Safe Mode is a special "minimal" version of Windows that doesn't load certain parts of the operating system that might have caused the problem. (What if none of the options worked?) .

Step 6. Back up!

If you got back into Windows, stop whatever you are doing and backup your most important information from this computer.

Hi, I'm Miles Comer, I'm glad you got back into Windows, but stop trying to fix this computer. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far. Now let's get all those baby pictures put somewhere safe. A super easy way is by making a copy of them "in the cloud" using a service like Dropbox. If you signup with this promo link of mine: http://db.tt/D5BQcbf they will give me some free space because I told you about them. It's like a way you can help me back, and you don't even have to pay anything.

Step 7. Fixing the boot problem from within Windows XP

Now that you are done backing up the most important info, try to change back whatever you were last doing and boot normally, it that doesn't work, put the floppy/cd/usb and boot back into Windows. Download fixntldr.zip, double click to open it, and copy "ntldr", "boot.ini", and "ntdetect.com" to: "My Computer > Local Disk C:\", and if it asks to overwrite, let it overwrite. Right click each file, choose properties, uncheck the Read Only attribute, and click OK.

If you can't see these files, you need to go into Control Panel > Folder Options > Tab: View > clear the checkbox for "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)".

Step 8. Getting the "1st Try This" screen to go away quickly

How to get the boot.ini screen to boot Windows within a second

If you copy the file over and boot up and get a "NTLDR is compressed" error message, be sure to uncheck "compress contents to save space" as an option on the "Local Disk C:\" drive.

(What if the bootdisk worked, but I can't get into Windows without it?) .

(What if I want to do further research?) . (Can I read other peoples questions and your answers? Sure: http://m-ntldrismissing.blogspot.com/ )

It worked! Please help me back.

All done? Hi, I'm Miles Comer (on twitter as @ntldrismissing ) and I developed this "solution" back in 2002 when I had to fix my relatives computer without me standing over their shoulder. If I fixed it for you, might I humbly suggest you use a credit card or PayPal to donate for $5 or whatever amount you choose.

PayPal email address: milescomer@gmail.com
If you don't have a credit card or pay pal account, you can mail a check to me, just send an email to milescomer@gmail.com and I'll let you know my mailing address.

If you want to say "thanks, it worked for me", just add a comment to this blog post "Sing your praises here".

I added this button because I am sometimes told that the other Donate button doesn't show up.

The cost to run this site for a year is pretty cheap (thanks freeservers.com), the part that takes effort is attempting to quickly respond to anyones requests for additional information, but getting the "You got $5" email from Paypal sure does put a smile on my face and keep me energized and motivated.

Speaking of, I've gotten a handful of people asking "how much money do you make from donations?", and just from a quick glance at my email, it looks like I get about $15 a month from donations. So once a month, dinner is on you guys :-)

Want to help but can't financially?

A free way to help me would be to link back to my webpage. Either from your own web page, or if you belong to any discussion forum that has to do with computers, or has a lounge section, why not let everyone know I helped you out by making a post and in that post, link back to my webpage? Use this address in case I change something in the future:


Help me and you by backing up your data with Dropbox: Dropbox is a free program that will automatically backup everything you put in the "My Dropbox" folder. If you don't already have a free "Dropbox" account. If you sign up with this link: http://db.tt/D5BQcbf I get additional space to store stuff. Dropbox is a program that creates a folder called "My Dropbox" and anything you put in that folder gets backed up to their website, and if you have more than one computer, or like an iPhone / iPad, Android, or Blackberry, it will sync the folder to all the devices. So if your computer dies on you again, these "most important documents on dropbox" will be available on the other computers, or on the website.

The free Dropbox account is 2 gigs. I personally paid $100 to get 50 gigs for a year. And when I say "I paid" I mean "Your donations paid", so thanks again :-)

Oh and one more thing about Dropbox, is my Mom has her own free 2 gig dropbox account, I can make a new folder called "Miles and Mom's shared files" and then share it with her dropbox account, if she accepts, whenever I want to send her a file, I just put it in the "My Dropbox Miles and Mom's shared files" folder, and moments later, it appears on her computer. It's great for sharing all those pictures directly from my digital camera, and I don't have to upload them to a website first.

So again, if you don't have it, you should, free 2 gig Dropbox account, and put your most important 2 gigs of files there.



Copyright 2002 by Miles Comer All Rights Reserved; You can link to this article without first contacting me.

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