How to "Fix NTLDR is Missing" Error

By Techwalla Contributor

A missing NTLDR means there's a problem with your computer's boot loader and it won't start the operating system. This issue is only a problem on computers running Windows XP or previous operating systems, because Windows 7 and Windows 8 don't use NTLDR. Fixing the missing NTLDR is relatively easy so long as you have your installation disc.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows XP/2000 installation disc

Step 1

Locate your Windows XP/2000 installation disc and place it in your CD/DVD ROM drive. If you don't have this disk, then you cannot proceed further.

Step 2

Restart your computer.

Step 3

When the computer restarts press any key on your keyboard when you are prompted, "Press any key to enter setup." Most computers are configured to boot to another device other than a hard drive. Since the Windows XP/2000 installation disk is bootable, you should see the prompt. However, if you don't see the prompt you may need to change your boot priority in your BIOS. To do so, enter the system BIOS by following the onscreen instructions upon startup. Then navigate to the Boot Priority menu and modify another device, such as a CD-ROM to boot prior to the hard drive. Then reboot your computer.

Step 4

After you have pressed any key, the Windows XP/2000 setup screen will appear. After loading, press the "R" key to repair the Windows installation. The screen will appear black. The computer requests which installation you would like to log in. Generally speaking, press "1" and "Enter." If you have more than one hard drive or more than one partition, the procedure may be different. You must know which hard drive or partition your Windows operating system is installed in. You are subsequently prompted for a password. If you haven't set up one up, you can just leave the query blank and press "Enter." The phrase "c:\WINDOWS>" and a blinking cursor subsequently appear.

Step 5

Type "copy d:\i386\ntldr c:\windows" (without quotes), where "D" is the letter of your CD/DVD ROM drive (your optical drive may be different, especially if you have more than one). Eject the CD from the drive and type "Exit" (without quotes) to restart your computer. The NTLDR file will be copied from the installation disc to your hard drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • You'll need your operating system's install disc to fix the NTLDR error.