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How to Resolve the “NTLDR is Missing” Error on Windows Start-up

If the NTLDR becomes damaged, you may get an error message informing you that “NTLDR is missing” when you start your computer. After this error message, you will be prompted to restart your computer at which the same error will be displayed again. This effectively prevents you from being able to access Windows at all. In most cases, you will not even be able to boot into safe mode. Here are some steps you can take to fix the problem:

  1. Insert the Windows XP installation CD into your computers CD-ROM drive and restart.
  2. You will be prompted to “Press any key to boot from CD…”. Press a key.
  3. Once loaded, the Windows XP setup menu will give you several options. Press the “R” key to repair Windows.
  4. When prompted, selected your Windows installation. In most cases this is “1”. Press enter.
  5. You will then be prompted for your administrator password, enter that password. If you don’t have a password set, just press enter. 
  6. Type the following commands, pressing enter after each line. Replace “e:\” with the letter of your CD-ROM drive.
    copy e:\i386\ntldr c:\
    copy e:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\
    fixboot
    fixmbr
    bootcfg /rebuild
  7. After entering that last line and pressing enter, you will be walked through the process of rebuilding the boot file. Most of the prompts should be self explanatory, but here are a few tips:
    • The first prompt should ask you to confirm the operating system that was automatically detected. Make sure the detected OS is the operating system you have installed and then type “y” and press enter.
    • You will also be prompted for a “load identifier”. This is the user friendly name that is displayed when selecting advanced startup options. You can type anything you want here, but it is best to type the full name of the operating system (such as “Windows XP Home Edition).
  8. Eject the CD from your computer. Type “exit” and press enter. Your computer will restart, and this time it should load without displaying an error.

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