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Ntldr Is Missing After Upgrade


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#1 Judi_e

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 10:43 AM

Hey everyone, it's me again. I'm back, trying to fix my husbands computer again. I sent him in here not too long ago to fix something himself, and now we've run into another problem. Because of all the problems with his computer he no longer upgrades the hardware, I do that, and since this problem is related to the hardware upgrade I did, I'm attempting to fix it.

So, here's what happened. He wanted to add a 3rd hard drive to his computer. It's an old 40gb out of his old computer. So I spent a good deal of time Sunday installing it, and then trying to figure out why the computer wasn't seeing it. I decided to shuffle the drives around, and realized that it wasn't specific to the drive, it was specific to the second position on the first IDE cable.....bad cable, so I replaced it. Finally got the computer to see all the drives.

Here's where the problem comes in....in the process I moved the drive with Windows on it. We've had to reactivate Windows enough times that they are starting to get suspicious. So I don't want to move the drives around again and have to reactivate yet again. But now the computer is having boot problems. I can go into the boot menu and tell it which drive to boot from and it seems to work fine, but it won't figure it out on it's own.....instead we get the message "NTLDR is missing press ctrl+alt+del to restart". So I started searching the internet for solutions....I've copied NTLDR and ntdetect.com from the XP CD to the hard drive.....that didn't help. So I tried running bootcfg /rebuild in the recovery console....that gave me an error, telling me to run chkdsk. I ran chkdsk /p on the Windows drive and it told me there were things that needed to be repaired. So I ran chkdsk /r, it took hours, but eventually got through it, but it still won't run bootcfg /rebuild. chkdsk didn't tell me it repaired anything though, so I don't know if it actually repaired anything.

HELP!!!! I'm afraid to try anything else, I don't want to screw up the boot record, we would really rather not have to reinstall Windows if we don't have to.....although, if a repair install will do it then I'll do that gladly.....What should I do next? Luckily we are able to get the computer up and running, but we have to point it in the right direction every time it boots up. Please somebody tell me there is an easy fix.

Judi

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#2 Hauzer

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 01:58 PM

I had this problem before. 'Twas easy to fix.

Reparing windows should do the trick, but if not there's even a website about this problem (since thats how huge this problem is).

http://ntldrismissing.com/

Go there, believe me it has every single detail how to fix it and I mean every single last bit. I managed to get mine fixed by that website. Now im up and running again. You should be able to fix it, since im only 14 (13 when I fixed it). So don't worry too much about it. ;]

If you need any more help, please reply. I'd love to help.

#3 RandomUser

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 10:07 PM

Hi Judi_e,

I hope I can provide some assistance here. This is a rather technical problem that you're having and I'll do my best to describe the approach and repair.

First, I'd like to know how you can boot to Windows by pointing to the right place.

Are you saying that you tell the BIOS which drive to boot from?

As far as re-installing Windows, you have nothing to worry about as long as you haven't used your Activation key on a million computer's.

Basically, they want to know that you're not selling or pirating Windows. I can't speak for M$ of course, but generally it's not an issue.

Which disk is erroring on chkdsk /p ?

#4 Judi_e

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 07:18 AM

Hauzer: Thanks, I'll check that site out tonight!

RandomUser: That's right, I go into the bios boot menu by hitting escape when the computer is booting up and point it at the correct drive. Works every time, it just can't figure it out on it's own.

All of the hard drives come up OK with a plain chkdsk scan. I only ran chkdsk /p on the drive with Windows on it, because that's the drive I'm most concerned about, the other drives are just for data storage. It said there were errors, so I ran chkdsk /r. I don't know if that's supposed to tell me when it fixes an error or not, but it didn't, it just ran, got hung up for a bit in a couple spots, but eventually finished. But I still can't run bootcfg /rebuild.

The activation thing is kind of a pickle. We have several copies of XP, all legal....a couple we bought for our old computers, and a couple were installed on our current computers when we bought them. The one my husband originally used has been activated too many times.....we had to replace his motherboard recently, so it had to be reactivated....then a few days later we decided to move his hard drive to a different motherboard, so it had to be reactivated.....this last time he couldn't reactivate it online, he had to call, and the person he talked to put him on hold to go make sure they could reactivate it, and he got disconnected, so he went ahead and used one of the other product keys we have. It's always on the same hard drive, but the rest of the system keeps changing and requiring reactivation. They are starting to get suspicious, even though we aren't doing anything close to illegal, because we've had to reactivate the same product key 3 or 4 times in the last month.

If we did a repair install of XP, do you think that would solve the problem, without causing more problems? If so I'll just do that. If not, what are the risks of using commands like fixmbr or fixboot, and do you think they would help?

Edited by Judi_e, 30 January 2008 - 07:24 AM.


#5 Judi_e

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 02:57 PM

OK, so I'm reading the site Hauzer posted, and I have a question.......in the process of trying to figure out why things weren't working when I installed the 3rd hard drive, I moved the drive with Windows on it....it is now on the second IDE channel with the optical drive, and I honestly can't remember if it's set up as master or slave (I'm at work right now). Would moving it back to the master position on the first IDE channel fix this? Is that really all I need to do, move it back? That's one of the things it says to do at ntldrismissing.com.

Any ideas?

#6 garmanma

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:21 PM

RandomUser: That's right, I go into the bios boot menu by hitting escape when the computer is booting up and point it at the correct drive. Works every time, it just can't figure it out on it's own.

Is it possible you have 2 drives each with it's own operating system on it? If yes, it's trying to dual-boot. Totally off the wall, set them all to Cable Select. Put each one in your computer as a slave and explore it for it's contents and mark each drive to prevent further confusion. Are you usinga add-on PCI- IDE card or just the connections on the motherboard?
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#7 Judi_e

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:26 PM

garmanma:

That was the case when I first put the 3rd drive into the computer, it did have an old installation of XP on it. I've since formatted it, and now it only has data on it.

And these are all hooked up to the motherboard, no add-on cards.

I'm not confused about which one is which, the computer is, lol.

#8 Judi_e

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 07:59 AM

I've been putting off working on this problem all week. I'll be attempting to fix the computer tonight or tomorrow. But I have some questions I was hoping to get answered first.

Do you think moving the drive with the OS on it back to the first IDE channel as a master would solve the problem?

Do you think a repair install of Windows XP would solve the problem?

What are the dangers and possible advantages of the recovery console commands fixmbr and fixboot? Should I even consider using these commands, or should I try moving the drives back and/or doing a repair install first?

I'm just not sure where to go from here, what the best course of action is, and I'd like this to be as pain free as possible.

Thanks again to everyone here for all of your help.

-Judi

#9 garmanma

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 09:15 AM

I would try moving the drive back first
Mark
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#10 tswsl1989

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 01:55 PM

[snip]
Do you think moving the drive with the OS on it back to the first IDE channel as a master would solve the problem?
[snip]


Is there another drive in it's place as the primary master? If so, thats almost certainly the cause of your problem.
Move it back and it should come back to normal.
Tom

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#11 Judi_e

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 02:43 PM

Thanks guys, that's what I'll do first then. I don't know if I'll get to it tonight or tomorrow, but I'll get around to it soon.

Thanks BUNCHES!!!!!

-Judi

#12 Judi_e

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 02:53 PM

I almost feel stupid.....I fixed my husband's computer. I didn't even have to physically move the drives, just switch the cables where they plugged into the motherboard. It now boots up perfectly fine and everything is working well.

Thank you guys. If it weren't for you I would have been doing fixmbr and fixboot and reinstalling Windows, all to fix a problem that only required swapping the cables.

Bleepingcomputer.com ROCKS!!!!!

-Judi

#13 garmanma

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 04:32 PM

Glad to here it's working
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