NTLDR stands for New Technology Loader, and it is a program that is usually loaded from the hard drive boot sector. It is used to display the Microsoft Windows NT startup menu, and it helps load Microsoft Windows NT. "NTLDR is missing" is an error that prevents Windows from starting up, and a number of factors can cause this error. The procedure to fix this error depends on its cause.
Here are some of the known causes and their solutions:
- Computer is booting from a nonbootable source – One of the common reasons for this error is using a nonbootable floppy disk or CD-ROM to boot the computer. You can prevent this error by ensuring that no diskette is in the computer unless you want the computer to boot from it. If you want the computer to boot from the diskette and you’re getting this error, then the diskette may not have all the required files. Also, you may receive this error while installing Windows XP or Windows Server 2000. This error can be prevented by ensuring that the BIOS has the appropriate boot settings.
- Computer hard disk drive is not properly set up in BIOS – Improper hard disk drive settings can cause the "NTLDR is missing" error; to avoid this, you need to ensure that hard disk drive is properly configured.
- Improper configuration in boot.ini file – Ensure that boot.ini is on the root directory of the hard disk and that it points to the correct location of the operating system. Also, the partitions must be properly defined.
- Upgrading from Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME computer that is using FAT32 – If you’re getting this error while performing the aforementioned upgradation, then try the following steps: Use a Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME bootable diskette to boot the computer. At the A:> prompt, type: Sys c: Press the enter key, and wait for the message "System Transferred." Once you’ve received this message, remove the floppy diskette and then reboot the computer.
- Addition of a new hard disk drive – If you’re adding a new hard disk to a system that already has Windows installed on it, then you’re likely to receive the "NTLDR is missing" error. So, ensure that the hard disk drive being added is a blank drive.
- Corrupt master boot record or corrupt boot sector – "NTLDR is missing" error is also caused by a corrupt boot sector and/or corrupt master boot record. To fix this, you need to use the Windows Recovery console. Fixboot and fixmbr commands are used for this purpose.
- Using a corrupted version of Windows XP or Windows 2000 – If you’re running a corrupted version of Windows on your computer, then you’re likely to experience this error very frequently. Reinstalling Windows XP or Windows 2000 is the best solution in this case.
- Hard disk drive cable is either loose or faulty – If your computer hard disk drive uses an EIDE/IDE interface, make sure that the hard disk cable is firmly connected. Replacing the hard disk drive cable or disconnecting and reconnecting it can fix this problem.