technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

NTLDR Missing

NTLDR is Missing. Press any key to Restart
NTLDR is Missing. Press Ctrl Alt Del to restart.
Boot: Couldn’t find NTLDR.Please insert another disk.

These are a couple of messages you don’t want to see when you start up your computer. But if you do see these do not worry… they can be resolved and hopefully while keeping your data intact. Firstly for those of you who are wondering what is NTLDR it is the NT boot loader from windows which is used by all windows operating systems since Windows 2000 (and previous NT versions). It is the file which tells the computer on how to start the operating system. More detailed information on how it works can be found on the Wikipedia page.

Now lets get to resolving the issue.

The main reason for the error NTLDR is Missing to occur is that your computer is trying to boot from a non-bootable source. This could be due to a non-bootable Disk in your Drive or also a Connected USB Disk/ Device or a smart card.

To solve this issue try the following steps
1. Remove any DVD / CD you might have inserted.
2. Remove all external connected USB appliances like Hard drives, Camera, Flash Drives etc.
3. Remove any Memory card you might have inserted.
4. Reboot the system.

If the NTLDR Error still persists it could be due to having multiple Hard Disks installed in your system the computer could be trying to boot from your secondary hard disk. For this I would advise to recheck your jumper settings and verify that the correct hard disk is indeed set as primary in the BIOS. An explanation on how to do this is given here

If the above steps didn’t help and the computer is indeed booting from the correct disk drive but still gives NTLDR is MIssing error it could be due to a corrupt NTLDR / NTDETECT.COM file or because of something wrong in the boot.ini and or corrupt boot record. For all these issue a Windows installation CD comes in handy.
To solve this issue try the following steps
1. Insert the Windows Installation CD into your hard disk drive.
2. Reboot the system and choose to boot from the CD.
3. When you get the installation menu choose the Repair option by pressing ‘R’.
4. Enter your Windows Administrator password (it is empty by default).
5. After you are on the Dos Prompt enter the following commands to rewrite your Boot record and the boot files.

6. After this take the Disk out and try rebooting your System. You computer should now boot fine and the NTLDR Error gone.
Warning: This will overwrite your GRUB loader and reinstall windows loader (only if you had Linux installed).

In case the windows disk failed to detect any windows installation on your hard disk it could mean that either your Windows installation is seriously corrupted or that your computer is unable to read from your hard disk. In this case to fix your NTLDR is Missing error I would recommend you to first check if your hard disk is correctly installed and that the data cable is working properly. This can be done by trying to change the hardware cable used to connect the hard disk to the motherboard (Only try this if you know what you are doing).
Follow this by doing a health checkup of you disk to make sure your disk is working fine. Disk checkup tools can be found on your disk manufacturer’s website.

If everything is fine a re installation of the windows should fix the NTLDR load issue.

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One Response

  1. Yes, you don’t want to see those messages when you boot your machine. Not only that, heck, you don’t even want* to see windows or anything to do with windows when you boot your machine.


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