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Can't Do Clean Install Of Xp (missing Ntdlr File?)


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#1 jayel

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 01:48 PM

I have an old computer (6 or 7 years old) Its original operating system was 98 SE, but several years ago I put XP pro in.

For some time this computer has been out on loan to a young relative. I got it back recently because it had crashed and was no longer usable. It was in such a mess I started it with a boot diskette and reformatted the HD. I then tried to install XP ( using the same disk I used the first time I put XP on the machine)

I got a message that it could not boot from the CD as the "NTDLR file was missing" (I think this is what it said, but as I am using one monitor between that computer and this one, I can't check at the moment.)

I tried booting up with a floppy and then installing the XP disk, but that didn't work as it couldn't recognise the CD.

I then thought I would reinstall the original 98SE , and then upgrade to XP from there. I had no problem installing 98SE......................until it cane to putting in the "key number" That was on the back of the instruction manual I got when I bought the computer. I have searched high and low but I cannot find that manual.

If there any way I can get this number again? I can't go back to "Time Computers" where I bought the machine, as they have long since gone out of business. (I am really frustrated as this software was legally bought and paid for and now I can't use it because I can't find the number.)

So I have a computer with 98SE installed, which I can't use because I can't find the key, and a copy of XP, complete with the key, which won't install because of the missing NTDLR file.

Although the computer is old and low spec (1.1 celeron processor, 20 gig HD and 256 ram) it was always reliable. I promised an elderly friend she could have it once I had it sorted out. I can't believe I need to scrap a machine that has nothing actually wrong with it.

Any advice, suggestions etc. would be very much appreciated.

(Moderator edit: modified topic title. jgweed)

Edited by jgweed, 21 September 2006 - 02:32 PM.


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#2 Gyro

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 04:32 PM

Well if windows was formatted all the way I can't help you, however by the sound of it, you have an upgrade version of xp... I'm guessing, but ntldr is something that windows nt and windows xp use... If it didn't recognize the cd... do you have a windows 95 bootdisk? If not, you should be able to start the cd with cdrom support. I know it's too late, but for future reference, let xp format the computer for you whenever your installing it... Let's see, try to get into dos... do this with a boot disk, once you get to there, type in

sys C:

and push enter, tell me what happens.

#3 Enthusiast

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 06:10 PM

If you have an upgrade cd you will need the key number for W98 in any eventuality or XP won't install.
If you have a full Install cd for XP you will not need the key for W98.


In order to install either system you will need to set your cd as the first boot device.

If you had W98 installed you could use an ap named Keyfinder from magicaljellybean.com to find the key number but if you cannot boot into Windows that's a moot point.

You really need to find the key number that came with W98 or buy a new XP full install version cd with a unique 25 digit key that has never been used in any other computer (it won't activate if it has been used before).

You can try calling Microsoft support and try explaining what happened - maybe they will help.

#4 ThorXP

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 08:54 PM

Try this and please use Internet Explorer to access the site:

Microsoft KB - How to perform a clean boot in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;EN-US;310353

#5 usasma

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 09:31 AM

Just a suggestion - but you can buy another copy of Win98 a lot more cheaply than a full version of XP.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#6 jayel

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 10:57 AM

I discovered why I couldn't install XP. Thie CD is no good. (It has been lying around ever since I upgraded the old computer from 98 to XP years ago, as I hadn't needed it until now.) I tried it in both this, my main computer and husbands's lappy. It produced a screen freeze in both, so I think it safe to say it is no longer any good.

I really wanted to put XP on the old computer for my friend as she is quite elderly and this is what she has used at the library. But I guess, some way or another I shall have to sort 98 out for her. ( See my other topic under the 98 heading.)

I have provided the computer, the keyboard, mouse, speakers and monitor free of charge, not to mention hours and hours of my time. If I could afford to buy XP and install it for her, I would, but I just don't have that sort of money and I know she hasn't.
(If I had known i would ever need that XP disc again, I would have taken more care of it.)
oh well, such is life! :thumbsup:

#7 usasma

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 12:01 PM

An alternative is Windows 2000 - it's more robust than 98 (IMO) but isn't quite as smooth as XP.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#8 Enthusiast

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 02:06 PM

If you have your key numbers a repair shop might not charge much for reinstalling XP for you - but they will need your key numbers.

#9 jayel

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 03:04 PM

That's a thought. Yes I do have the key number, but is it not specific to the disk that won't work? Also, it was an early version of XP. Would that make any difference?

#10 ThorXP

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 08:59 PM

Unfortunately it does make a difference, certain key codes work with only the versions of Windows XP they came with. For example if the computer is a name brand say a Dell then that key code will only work with the Windows Install software for that particular model of Dell and the same for other brands of computers. If it seems complicated you are right. If the computer is made by a certain manufacturer say Compaq, Dell or whatever then you might be able to purchase a recovery disk set for that particular computer from the manufacturer. That is the easy way.

#11 Grinler

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 09:47 PM

If its not an oem windows xp you can contact Microsoft directly for a replacement cd. Its generally very very affordable. Info here:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;en-us;326246

#12 Enthusiast

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:56 AM

Many shops will be able to work with your old number (especially if you have the disk which even if it is scratched may be able to be polished so it works), and get XP reinstalled. They should also have SP2 on cd which will make bringing it current simpler or they could slipstream your old disk and replace damaged files.

What is the make and model of this computer (if any)? It may have a restore partition on a hidden partition on the hard drive)

It is worth a try.

Edited by Enthusiast, 23 September 2006 - 07:01 AM.





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