NTLDR is Missing

If you’ve encountered any of the following error messages while the computer is booting:

NTLDR is Missing
Press any key to restart

Boot: Couldn’t find NTLDR
Please insert another disk

NTLDR is missing
Press Ctrl Alt Del to Restart

This post will explain what happened and what to do in order to fix it.

Computer is booting from a non-bootable source

ntldr is missing bios

This error is often caused by the computer booting from a non-bootable floppy disk or CD-ROM. So the first thing you should do is check whether there’s a floppy disk or CD in the computer, and remove it if there is.

Also note that this error can occur when a memory card is in a card reader and the computer is trying to boot from it. If you have a card reader or a flash reader make sure that there’s no memory stick inside the computer, and also disconnect all USB drives, cameras, iPods, smartphones etc.

If you are trying to install Windows XP or Windows 2000 and you’re getting this error message while the computer is booting, check BIOS to see if it has the right boot settings. For instance, if you’re attempting to run the install from the CD-ROM, make sure the CD-ROM is the first boot drive, and not the hard drive.

Also, when the computer is booting you should see the following message:

Press any key to boot from CD

The moment you see this prompt, it’s very important to hit any key (Enter, Space etc.), otherwise, the system will try booting from the hard drive and you’ll get the NTLDR error once more.

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If you’re not getting the above message and your BIOS boot settings are set up correctly, the problem might be that your CD-ROM drive isn’t booting from the CD-ROM properly. You should check to see if the jumpers are set properly on the CD-ROM drive.

Computer hard drive is not correctly set up in CMOS


Check to see if your computer hard drive is set up correctly in the CMOS setup, since the wrong settings can result in you receiving this error message.

Corrupt NTLDR or NTDETECT.COM file

For Windows 2000 users:

If you’re running Windows 2000 and you get the NTLDR error, you should first create the boot.ini file described below on an external storage device like a floppy disk.

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT=”Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional” /fastdetect

Now copy the NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM files from another computer running the same operating system. You’ll find both files in the root directory of the primary hard drive (usually C:).

After you’ve copied these files to the disk, reboot the computer and copy the NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM files to the root directory of the primary hard drive. After the files have been copied, simply remove the disk and reboot the computer.

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For Windows XP users:

Insert the Windows XP bootable CD into the computer. When asked to press any key to boot from the CD, press any key.


When in the Windows XP setup menu, repair Windows by pressing the “R” key.

Next log into your Windows installation by holding the “1” key and pressing Enter. At this point you will be asked for your administrator password, which you should enter.

Misconfiguration with the boot.ini file

Edit the boot.ini file you can find on the root directory of the hard drive, checking whether it is pointing to the right location of your Windows operating system and that the partitions are properly defined.

Attempting to upgrade from a Windows 95, 98, or ME computer that is using FAT32

Here’s what you should try to do if you’re getting the error message while trying to upgrade to Windows 2000 or Windows XP from Windows 95, 98, or ME while running FAT 32:

First of all, boot the computer with a Windows 95, 98, or ME bootable diskette. At the A:\> prompt type the following: “sys c:”, then press Enter. After doing this, you will get the ‘System Transferred” message. Afterwards, remove the floppy diskette and reboot the computer.

New hard drive is being added

If you are adding a new hard drive to you system make sure it is a blank drive. Adding another drive to a computer which already has Windows installed could be the cause of the NTLDR error occurring.

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If you don’t know for certain whether the new drive is blank or not, you can try booting from a bootable diskette and format the new hard drive.

Hard disk problem: Corrupt boot sector or master boot record

Another possibility is that your computer’s hard disk has a corrupt boot sector or master boot record. The way to repair these is by running the fixboot and fixmbr commands through the Mcirosoft Windows Recovery console.

Seriously corrupted version of Windows 2000 or Windows XP

If you’ve tried everything else and nothing seems to have worked, the problem could be that the operating system is seriously corrupted and needs to be reinstalled.

Loose or faulty IDE/EIDE hard drive cable

Finally, this issue has also been known to be caused by a loose or faulty IDE/EIDE cable. So this is the last thing you should check if all the above recommendations have failed to fix the issue and your computer hard drive is using an IDE or EIDE interface.

Check to see if the hard drive cable is properly in place by disconnecting and reconnecting it. If that doesn’t work either, it might be due to a faulty cable, so you should also try replacing it altogether.