This message could pop up if the file system has become compromised, or if the ntfs.sys file is really missing or corrupted or a couple other reasons, but we need to eliminate file system corruption first.
The good part is XP is at least trying to start! We can do all this without XP media.
Lets start with building the bootable Recovery Console CD and verify the integrity of your file system with:
command, then try to boot.
Do you just have a single Windows XP installation on your C drive?
The ntfs.sys file should be in c:\windows\system32\drivers, so if it really is missing, corrupt or even suspicious we can replace it with a copy that is in a couple other places on your HDD. Do the chkdsk /r first.
Eliminate or repair possible file system corruption from a power failure, ungraceful shutdown or aborted restart.
Have any of these events occurred?
You should first boot your PC into the XP Recovery Console using a booable XP installation CD or a bootable CD with the XP Recovery Console on it.
You can make a bootable Recovery Console CD by downloading an ISO file and burning it to a CD.
The same XP Recovery Console commands can be run from the bootable Recovery Console CD.
The bootable ISO image file you need to download is called:
Download the ISO file from here:http://www.mediafire.com/?ueyyzfymmig
Use this free and easy program to create your bootable CD:http://www.imgburn.com/
It would be a good idea to test your bootable CD on the computer that is working.
You may need to adjust the computer BIOS settings to use the CD ROM drive as the first boot device instead of the hard disk. These adjustments are made before Windows tries to load. If you miss it, you will have to reboot the system again.
When you boot on the CD, follow the prompts:
Press any key to boot from CD...
The Windows Setup... will proceed.
Press 'R' to enter the Recovery Console.
Select the installation you want to access (usually 1: C:\WINDOWS)
You may be asked to enter the Administrator password (usually empty).
You should be in the C:\WINDOWS folder. This is the same as the C:\WINDOWS folder you see in explorer.
RC allows basic file commands - copy, rename, replace, delete, cd, chkdsk, fixboot, fixmbr, etc.
From the command prompt window run the chkdsk command on the drive where Windows is installed to try to repair any problems on the afflicted drive.
Running chkdsk is fine to run even if it doesn't find any problems.
Assuming your boot drive is C, run the following command:
chkdsk C: /r
Let chkdsk finish and correct any problems it might find. It may take a long time to complete or appear to be 'stuck'. Be patient. If the HDD light is still flashing, it is doing something. Keep an eye on the percentage amount to be sure it is still making progress.
Remove the CD and type 'exit' to leave the RC and restart the computer.
You do not have to adjust the BIOS again to boot on the HDD since the CD will not be present.
Here is additional information about how to start Recovery Console:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058
Here is additional information about the Recovery Console commands you will be using:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058