Try setting BIOS to default, reseating IDE / SATA / Power cables, double checking all of your settings basically. Sometimes the NTLDR file will be sitting right in your Recycle Bin and you can just restore it.
Once back into Windows, right click on the My Computer option, choose the Manage option. The Computer Management window will open, click on "Disk Management" on the left pane. One of the disks it lists, and one of the drives on it, will need to be marked as active. It will be which drive letter you have placed the 3 boot files into (this will likely be the C: drive on Disk 0). Right click on that drive letter and select "Mark Partition as Active", you may first have to convert the partition to a Primary partition before you can mark it as active. Close and reboot.
If that doesn't work, go into "My Computer", right-click each hard drive, select "Properties", switch to the "Tools" tab, click the "Check Now" button, check both options then click "Start"; if you selected the system partition it will require it to be rebooted and done outside of Windows. When you reboot you will see a message about "Disk checking will begin in 7 seconds", let it do this and don't skip it. It may take awhile and will boot back into Windows when it's done.
If that doesn't immediately work, and you have more hard drives than just C:, try placing the 3 boot files into other drives like D:, E:, F:, etc. Reboot each time to check if that was the one that fixed it, and when you find the correct one, mark it as active. (step-by-step)
Another tip shared by a user who was using the usb boot disk, is to copy the files boot.ini, ntldr, and ntdetect.com onto the hard drive, then try booting without using the usb, and go through all 10 options again to see which option works, because it was different for him than the option that worked when he had the usb inserted.
Get a Win9x floppy and boot with it and when you get your A: prompt type:
and make sure that the correct partition and hard drive are labeled "active" (usually the first hard drive with the first partition).
If you had a Win 9x install on this machine you may need to also run the command: sys c: (or d, e, or f for the installation).
Go into the recovery console by booting up with a Windows XP cd and go through the options till you get to the recovery console, you will need the admin password for this option (if you do not know it, just hit enter, that will work if it is blank). Then issue the command: fixboot
One of the visitors commented on the blog that if the hard drive is not marked as active, disconnect every hard drive but the boot drive, and get it to boot, then add the additional drive. His post is here BlogPostDisconnectingDriveToFixBoot .
Purchase a new hard drive, remove the old one, install the new one as master, install your OS, install the old one as slave (remember to change jumpers), copy all the data off the old hard drive, burn CD's or DVD's of the most important stuff, perform a low-level format of the old drive, make a partition on it and use it as backup storage drive or just another place to store your stuff.
Sign up for a free 2 gig account at Dropbox and put your most important files there. Using that link will also give me a little more DropBox space.
All done? Hi, I'm Miles Comer (on twitter as @ntldrismissing ) and I developed this "solution" back in 2002 when I had to fix the family computer back home without me being there. If I fixed it for you, might I humbly suggest you use a credit card or PayPal to donate for $5 or whatever amount you choose.
PayPal email address: email@example.com
If you don't have a credit card or pay pal account, you can mail a check to 340 S LEMON AVE #2609 WALNUT CA 91789 .
If you want to say "thanks, it worked for me", just add a comment to this blog post "Sing your praises here".
The cost to host is on a nice discount, thanks to Colin Carlsen, so the only expense is paying to reserve the name ntldrismissing dot com, and trying to respond to YouTube comments in a timely manner. Getting those "You got $5" email from Paypal sure does put a smile on my face and I very much appreciate it. If you're one of the unfortunate souls with some terrible sickness like Mesothelioma, I don't need your money, but if you've got an extra $5, I would appreciate it. :-)
Speaking of, I've gotten a handful of people asking "how much money do you make from donations?", and just from a quick glance at my email, I get 30 donations in 2014, and 9 donations in 2015. It used to be more, when there was more Windows XP installs :-)
A free way to help me would be to link back to my webpage. Either from your own web page, or if you belong to any discussion forum that has to do with computers, or has a lounge section, why not let everyone know I helped you out by making a post and in that post, link back to my webpage? Use this address in case I change something in the future:
Help me and you by backing up your data with Dropbox: Dropbox is a free program that will automatically backup everything you put in the "My Dropbox" folder. If you don't already have a free "Dropbox" account. If you sign up with this link: http://db.tt/D5BQcbf I get additional space to store stuff. Dropbox is a program that creates a folder called "My Dropbox" and anything you put in that folder gets backed up to their website, and if you have more than one computer, or like an iPhone / iPad, Android, or Blackberry, it will sync the folder to all the devices. So if your computer dies on you again, these "most important documents on dropbox" will be available on the other computers, or on the website.
The free Dropbox account is 2 gigs. I personally paid $100 to get 50 gigs for a year. And when I say "I paid" I mean "Your donations paid", so thanks again :-)
Oh and one more thing about Dropbox, is my Mom has her own free 2 gig dropbox account, I can make a new folder called "Miles and Mom's shared files" and then share it with her dropbox account, if she accepts, whenever I want to send her a file, I just put it in the "My Dropbox Miles and Mom's shared files" folder, and moments later, it appears on her computer. It's great for sharing all those pictures directly from my digital camera, and I don't have to upload them to a website first.
So again, if you don't have it, you should, free 2 gig Dropbox account, and put your most important 2 gigs of files there.
If reading stuff online feels like you are going in circles and you need some serious help, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll post your question and answer to my blog (anonymously of course).
Go back to the main ntldrismissing.com page.