NTLDR is missing Press any key to restart NTLDR is missing, press Ctrl Alt Del to restart English UK English Dutch Russian French Swedish Hungary Italian Translation 1337 Linux User Update 2023-01-19: Site went down for awhile when my host had a hardware failure. Keeping the page up mainly out of nostalgia.

Making a boot disk to fix "NTLDR is missing" for Windows XP

It's possible you can fix this by unplugging a USB device or setting the PC's BIOS back to defaults. If that doesn't fix it, this boot disk will work around boot sector issues and missing boot files; but it won't make a difference if you have an incorrect BIOS configuration, a large number of missing or corrupt files, a bad hard drive, or Windows XP isn't installed.

Looking for something else? Fixing NTLDR is missing on Windows Vista/7/8/10. OR Install XP on a netbook. OR Explain NTLDR/PC Booting.

Step 1. Get a blank floppy/CD/USB and find a Windows PC to make it on

It doesn't have to be blank, but whatever is on it will get erased. You will need a working computer to create it.

A smartphone or tablet won't cut it, if you don't have a working PC try a friend, neighbor, library, FedEx Kinkos, or Internet Cafe in your area. What if my other PC isn't Windows, but a Mac / Linux or another OS.

Step 2. Download the files based on which one of the disks you are making

In case you aren't at tinyempire.com , go there for backup copies (sometimes this site gets copied and then links break). http://tinyempire.com/notes/ntldrismissing.htm


Download fixntldr.exe to the PC; (64 bit also available) double click then click OK to overwrite the floppy disc. Scroll past the boxes about CD and USB for the next step.

CD (Writable) CD-R CD-RW DVD-R

Download fixntldriso.zip; (64 bit also available) then right click fixntldriso.zip and "Extract All" then right click fixntldr.iso and follow the prompts to "burn" the content to CD.

If using Windows XP you'll need a program to burn the ISO file, "ISO Recorder" is a great free program.

Watch my "Make CD" YouTube video or scroll down to read what to do next.

USB (if buying one, try and buy one less than 2 gigs and one more than 2 gigs)

Download ntldrusb.zip; (64 bit also available) then follow this set of steps I've written out with screenshots:

Follow these screenshots to make the USB OR Watch my "Make USB" YouTube video, then scroll down for what to do next.

Step 3. Give the medicine to the patient

Put the new disk you have just created into the computer that gets the NTLDR is missing error message, turn the broken computer off.

Turn the computer on with the boot disk in it.

This step isn't part of the instructions

Back to your regularly scheduled program

Step 4. If prompted to choose a boot device, choose the floppy / CD / USB

What I just get the error again?Alternative: use the ntldrismissing.com boot disk by Lazesoft

If the computer was already on, restart it. Once your computer gets past the BIOS screen it should try to access the boot disk and you should see a black screen with white letters that says:

1ST TRY THIS seleccione esto primero
2ND TRY THIS essayez ceci en deuxieme
3RD TRY THIS wahlen Sie diesen Third
4TH TRY THIS selezioni questo fourth
5TH TRY THIS selecione este fifth
6TH TRY THIS seleccione este sexto
7TH TRY THIS essayez ceci en septieme
8TH TRY THIS wahlen Sie dieses achte
9TH TRY THIS selezioni questo nono
10TH TRY THIS selecione este decimo

I threw in some Spanish / French / German / Italian / Portuguese for international flavor.

Step 5. Try the first option and see if it boots into Windows, or gives an error message

This file is set up to automatically select the "1ST TRY THIS" choice after 30 seconds.

If it immediately reboots or you get an error like "hal.dll was missing or corrupt"; "a computer disk hardware configuration problem"; "I/O error"; just reboot and try another choice.

If none work, you can try pressing F8 at the "1st Try This" selection screen, it will give you a prompt where you can select "Safe Mode", and then try the "1st Try This" option again. Safe Mode is a special "minimal" version of Windows that doesn't load certain parts of the operating system that might have caused the problem.

What if none of the options worked? HELP!!!Alternative: use the ntldrismissing.com boot disk by Lazesoft

Step 6. Stop! Back up your system before you try to fix it!

If you got back into Windows, stop whatever you are doing and backup your most important information from this computer. Maybe send me $5?


Hi, I'm Miles Comer, I'm glad you got back into Windows, but stop trying to fix this computer. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far. Now let's get all those baby pictures/financial documents/programs they no longer make put somewhere safe. A super easy way is by making a copy of them "in the cloud" using a free service like Dropbox. If you signup with this promo link of mine: https://db.tt/5R9VYy1R they will give me some free space because I told you about them. It's like a way you can help me back, and you don't even have to pay anything.

Microsoft has their own version (also for free) and here is my referral link: Sign up for One Drive.

Step 7. Fixing the boot problem from within Windows XP

Now that you are done backing up the most important info, try to change back whatever you were last doing and boot normally, it that doesn't work, put the floppy/cd/usb and boot back into Windows. Download fixntldr.zip, double click to open it, and copy "ntldr", "boot.ini", and "ntdetect.com" to: "My Computer > Local Disk C:\", and if it asks to overwrite, let it overwrite. Right click each file, choose properties, uncheck the Read Only attribute, and click OK.

If you can't see these files, you need to go into Control Panel > Folder Options > Tab: View > clear the checkbox for "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)".

Step 8. Getting the "1st Try This" screen to go away quickly

How to get the boot.ini screen to boot Windows within a second

If you copy the file over and boot up and get a "NTLDR is compressed" error message, be sure to uncheck "compress contents to save space" as an option on the "Local Disk C:\" drive.

What if the bootdisk worked, but I can't get into Windows without it?

Step 9. Hooray! Would you throw me a fiver?

All done? Hi, I'm Miles Comer, we've met before, back on step 6. Please consider sending me $5.


I added this button because I am sometimes told that the other Donate button doesn't show up.

PayPal email address: milescomer@gmail.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

I've gotten a handful of emails 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 :-) but I don't think I've gotten a donation since 2018

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.

This step isn't part of the instructions

Back to your regularly scheduled program

You want to help but can't financially?

If you want to say "thanks, it worked for me", just add a comment to this blog post "Sing your praises here".

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:


Seriously Consider Dropbox: Automatic offsite backup can ease your anxiety about losing your data. Everything you put in the "My Dropbox" folder will automatically be copied "up" so that if you get a new PC and install Dropbox, it will copy those same files "down". Here's my signup link that will give me a little more free space if you use it to sign up: https://db.tt/5R9VYy1R

The free Dropbox account is 2 gigs, and you can even setup "shared folders" with other DropBox users to share files between the two of you. For instance 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.

Still having problems? Try ntldrismissing.com boot disk: The good people at Lazesoft sell a boot disk that does this fix and a bunch of other things, I highly recommend trying them if you can't get this to work for you.

Lazesoft Recovery Suite Professional Edition

One last thing: If you ever come up with your own solution for a problem, post it on the internet! Imagine all the good fixes that just get emailed from one person to another and are lost to the rest of the world.

More information than most people would care to read

If you plan to continue running Windows XP, take steps to keep it more secure: Windows XP Lockdown

Links: Research the boot process in Windows XP for yourself.

Blog: Read the questions I get from email and my responses; the YouTube videos embedded above also have comments I try to answer.

Written in 2002 by Miles Comer, then rewritten every year as I learned more.

You can link to this article without first contacting me.

See more of Tiny Empire's ShortNotes to fix your problems.

All TinyEmpire.com content is maintained by Miles Comer and is either copyright of Miles Comer or of it's respective creator.

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