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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Hello. I have been working on this off and on since New Year's Eve and I'm in over my head. I am working on my nephew's computer. The problem started with a loop documented by Microsoft http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321295 The short explanation is a window comes up saying that Windows needs to be activated, I choose yes, it tells me it's already activated and logs me out. Need to boot into safe mode to fix and was unable to.

    Put IDE hard drive in another computer and reformatted for a clean reinstall. New error time! NTDLR is missing. Been doing research on that and have a couple of good sources; just having troubles applying the suggestions. http://tinyempire.com/notes/ntldrismissing.htm and http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/20...-key-to-restart

    The current problems are: I made the bootable disk from the first reference above, the CD boots and the list of options to try comes up. Unfortunately, I need to use the up and down arrow keys to navigate the list and the keyboard (working fine before/even swapped with another to test) does not work. Unplugging computer and replugging it in used to solve the problem; now it doesn't. I am not even sure if this procedure is for a reformatted HD; there is no OS on this computer! When it tries the first fix (automatically, that is the only reason it works) I get the error: Windows could not install because the following file is missing or corrupt. <Windows root>system32hal.dll. Please reinstall a copy of the above file. So now I can't go any further with this repair option.
    The second reference, towards the bottom, addresses the issue of the computer not booting from the XP CD; this person was able to use a Windows98 CD to boot. I have a Windows95 CD but that won't work either; I still get the NTLDR is missing error.
    Please, please help. I am <img src=/S/confused3.gif border=0 alt=confused3 width=45 height=45> and <img src=/S/hairout.gif border=0 alt=hairout width=31 height=23>
    As always, I appreciate all of you and your assistance.
    BTW: I have checked the IDE cables, the CD drive is fine - I've checked and rechecked the hardware for what it is worth!

    Thanks,
    cs.
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Ghandi

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Take a look here for some troubleshooting tips for this error and some ideas on how to resolve the issue. Post back with any results or continued problems. HTH <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
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  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    From here.....

    Missing or Corrupt hal.dll Error

    Cause
    Causes of the "missing or corrupt hal.dll" error include, naturally, a damaged hal.dll file or a hal.dll file that has been deleted or moved from its intended location. Additional causes may include a damaged or missing boot.ini file or possibly a physically damaged hard drive.

    Resolution

    Restart the PC. The hal.dll error could be a fluke.

    Check for proper boot order in BIOS. You might see the hal.dll error if the boot order in BIOS is first looking at a hard drive other than your main hard drive.

    If you've recently changed your boot order or recently flashed your BIOS, this may be what's causing your problem.


    Run Windows XP System Restore from a command prompt. If this doesn't work or you're receiving the hal.dll error message before you're able to complete this process, move on to the next step.

    Repair or replace the boot.ini file. This will work if the cause of the problem is actually Windows XP's boot.ini file and not the hal.dll file, which is often times the case.

    Write a new partition boot sector to the Windows XP system partition. If the partition boot sector has become corrupt or isn't properly configured, you may receive the hal.dll error.

    Restore the hal.dll file from the Windows XP CD. If the hal.dll file is truly the cause of the problem, restoring it from the original Windows XP CD may do the trick.

    Perform a repair installation of Windows XP. This type of installation should replace any missing or corrupt files. Continue troubleshooting if this does not resolve the issue.

    Perform a clean installation of Windows XP. This type of installation will completely remove Windows XP from your PC and install it again from scratch. While this will almost certainly resolve any hal.dll errors, it is a time consuming process due to the fact that all of your data must be backed up and then later restored.

    If you can't gain access to your files to back them up, understand that you will lose them all if you continue with a clean installation of Windows XP.

    Finally, if all else has failed, including the clean installation from the last step, you're most likely facing a hardware issue with your hard drive. Replace the hard drive and then perform a new installation of Windows XP.

    Applies To
    This issue applies to the Windows XP operating system, including Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition.
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  4. #4
    Star Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Hello Doc - Good to hear from you again! I forgot to mention that I'd been to the Compter Hope website also.
    This is the only hard drive in the computer and it was reformatted in another computer for a clean reinstall. Thought I'd pop in the XP CD and load the operating system - <img src=/S/disappointed.gif border=0 alt=disappointed width=15 height=15> - but that's when the NTLDR error began. Most of these instructions appear to think there is an operating system on the HD; there is not.
    Why isn't the keyboard working??? There is nothing wrong with it. When I boot and hit DELETE to get into the BIOS it works fine. I have the HD as Master on the primary IDE cable and the CD drive as Master on the secondary IDE cable. The CD drive is first in the boot sequence and HD0 is second.
    I KNOW the CD drive is working; is there a way to test the IDE ribbon cable to the HD? My guess is I'll have to go out and get one . . . <img src=/S/beep.gif border=0 alt=beep width=15 height=15> Sorry, this one is killing me because it is for my nephew; he is from out of town and will be here for his birthday later this month and I am trying . . . and I'm <img src=/S/broke.gif border=0 alt=broke width=31 height=23>
    Someone somewhere suggested that I remove the battery on the motherboard for 5 minutes. I mention this because I am not aware of what flashing the BIOS is.
    I'm totally stuck. The reformatting of the hard drive was successful according to the computer I did it in - not that it means much I guess. It was working fine prior to the Microsoft activation loop.
    More help, Doc? I have the two, three, four, etc aspirins covered!
    Many thanks!
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Ghandi

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    What do you get when you try to boot from the install media (the Windows CD)? Errors, nothing etc.

    Damaged/missing NTLDR or HAL etc. is if there supposed to be an OS on the drive in the first place.

    As you know it is possible to format and create partitions from within the Windows setup program (no matter if an old OS is present), when it's running that is. So let's focus on being able to boot from a CD.

    Since you are more less starting from scratch anyhow, nothing on the HDD etc. why not check all the BIOS values, and perhaps do a "Load Default", then perhaps a small tweak or two depending on BIOS; disable Quick Boot (more thorough POST) and perhaps disable any Boot Logo (a small picture shown on some BIOSs instead of POST messages at start) so that you can see POST messages.

    I know my BIOS values, so if return to "Load Default" I know which needs a small change. But in general the Default values should work with the detected hardware, and later on one perhaps do some small changes such as boot priority (Floppy/CD/HDD or whatever), perhaps CD/DVD priority etc.

    Which makes me come to think; I have more than one CD/DVD, and I can choose which one should be the "CD" in the priority (Floppy/CD/HDD), if you have more than one CD/DVD drive have you checked this?

    Then when default values are loaded one can check that the HDD is properly recognized etc. Or perhaps force an auto check.

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    I'll reiterate Argus' question.... what happens when you try to boot to the XP install CD ??? Do files begin to load from the CD ??? I'm gathering that you get to the screen where you select what you want to do, but cannot select New Installation option because your keyboard doesn't work. Yes, No ???

    You said that you formatted this HD in another computer. Did you reformat to FAT32 or NTFS ??? Regardless, you should still have the option during any installation from CD to format the drive to the file system you wish to use. Are you getting this far in the installation process ??

    You asked, "is there a way to test the IDE ribbon cable to the HD?" The easy way is just to swap the cable from the CD to the HD and HD to CD and see what happens. If nothing changes, shut down, remove the "new" cable from the CD drive and reboot. You know that the cable attached to the HD is good, so if it doesn't boot then the problem is in the drive or the motherboard.

    You might want to take a look at Paul Therrott's XP Installation Tutorial to get an idea of what you should be seeing and compare it to what you are seeing.
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    And an addendum, have you prepared the HDD in any "odd" way?

    In some cases some have prepared the HDD with a disk tool for dynamic drive overlay (DDO), and then they get problems. I don't know much about that (DDO), but don't think anyone would need that with modern BIOSs with today’s large disks.

    Some old threads in the Lounge may sadly miss some parts of their posts etc. The original post in this thread is gone, but it was about a problem with installing Windows. If you take a look at the thread you'll see that in that case it was a problem with "unusual" disk preparation (DDO). My reply here: <post:=543,124>post 543,124</post:>.

    It perhaps isn't your problem but we should rule out "odd" disk preparation. Then I don't know what keyboard problems you have.

  8. #8
    Star Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Hello and thank you for your help. I took a day off from this problem; it's over my head but I've not given up!
    Originally, when I tried to boot from the XP CD (to just possibly do a repair or install over the OS) it was during the activation loop I mentioned before and although the CD drive was present in the BIOS, the process never got far enough to read the CD.
    As such, we decided to install the HD in my computer (SATA HD's so I had to uninstall one CD drive to connect his HD) and right click on the new drive and reformat it. Thought that would do the trick and put it back in his computer and obviously the activation problem was gone but in its place was the NDLDR problem. With that situation, the computer still would not boot from the XP CD. After Googling, I came across the fix I mentioned in my last post and there are 10 or so things to try but you have to use the up and down arrow to go to the next fix; only the first one is automatic. They keyboard that works fine to go into the BIOS doesn't work in this situation at all so I can try the other fixes. However, the CD I made with the fixes on it works so I know the drive is working.
    The first fix on the fix disk resulted in the HAL error. I read in another post that someone else couldn't boot from XP CD and was able to use WIN 98. Don't have that one but tried WIN 95 - seems like the CD drive will just not recognize a OS disk.
    Did have two CD drives but couldn't specify so I took one out; had actually just added it in since I had an extra one.
    Unfortunately, I do not know enough to follow the your BIOS suggestions. I've been in and out of the BIOS 100 times; don't know if the settings are correct any longer and don't know how to figure out what they should be. I was getting help from a friend in CA and when he looked at his BIOS it was different than this one and I'll double-check but I am not sure there was a "Load Default" option; I believe there was something similar we tried though.

    I hate to ask (yes, I really do) but can you give me directions on the procedures you suggest? The person who put this computer together 4 years ago for me is booked up for weeks . . . I don't think he wants this particular problem either personally!

    As for reformatting a special way, as I said, I just right clicked the drive and chose format. No questions were asked now that I think of it about which way I wanted to format it.

    Thanks to all for your help. What do you think the keyboard's problem is?

    cs.
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Ghandi

  9. #9
    Star Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Hello again. Nothing happens when I try to boot from the XP CD; I could be wrong but it doesn't even seem to try to read it. I'm just not sure. None of the files load - nothing happens. Immediately, I get the NTLDR error and since I used the repair CD (and that shows the CD drive works) the first option out of ten or so is automatic so after that ran I am getting the HAL message.
    Apparently, right clicking on Josh's drive in my computer and choosing reformat wasn't the ideal way to do it. What should I have done different; what can I do now? I wasn't even given the options of FAT32 or NTFS now that you mentioned it and, no, it is not the first HD I've reformatted. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> I just can't seem to get this computer right. So the answer is I am not getting that far in the installation process. Beware: a stupid question: If the IDE cable for the hard drive is plugged in and the HD shows up in the BIOS wouldn't that suggest that the cable is good? I'm trying, really I am!
    Many thanks.
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Ghandi

  10. #10
    Star Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Thanks to you also for your help. As you will have read in the previous posts I've answered, I just right clicked on the HD and chose format. I certainly never expected this. I have reformatted HD's before and reinstalled OS's many times; this one is killing me!

    Thanks again.
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Ghandi

  11. #11
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Not that it is extremely important to know this (to be able to give advise), but could you give some information about the hardware involved. What BIOS does it use? (Or perhaps do you know the model of the motherboard?) Is the PC supposed to be set up with one HDD and one CD/DVD?

    Also, you do have a Windows XP Home installation CD? (Either retail or OEM as long it is an installation CD, but not a recovery CD or "Restore disk".)

    The messages you see about NTLDR etc. when trying to boot from the Windows CD could indicate that, as I think you know, it indeed isn't trying to boot from the CD but the HDD.

    Since you have earlier formatted the HDD, which is nothing wrong since in the process of creating a new installation as long as data is on backup, the fixes you mention is of no interest. There is no OS or OS loader to find. Your interest now, as I understand it, is to get the hardware and BIOS settings working so that you can start fresh with an installation CD.

    As for BIOS settings; the "Load Default" setting is usually located somewhere on the exit screen; you usually have some options (Save & Exit; Discard changes & Exit; Load Default etc.). If needed, and one does this, after loading the default settings one usually chose "Save and Exit" to restart the PC with the new, default, values. But one can of course do some minor tweaks after the "load default" but before saving to CMOS. Such as, mentioned before, temporarily disabling Quick Boot (if present) etc. to better be able to diagnose the boot process. Or, if one happens to know that something indeed needs to be changed about HDD, onboard devices (Network, sound etc.).

    Apart from temporarily disabling Quick boot, the only thing to check before a save of the default values usually is that the BIOS has identified the HDD correctly and that the priority under “Boot” is correct so that you can boot from the CD or DVD during the installation. The default values and the auto detection of the hardware normally work very well.

    As soon as you can boot from an install media you can do anything to the HDD (partition and format) and install the OS as you want, as you know, so I don't know what others think but getting the hardware to work is priority 1.

    P.S. I have had one of the "boot files” missing, but that was a glitch/corruption on an otherwise working PC. In those cases one can dive into the Recovery Console on the installation CD, and work with the OS installation from there. But if there is no OS on the drive (post format), all tips about NTLDR is of minor interest in the case. The message can then be seen as a "confirmation" that there is indeed no OS there.

    And I don't know how the "NTLDR boot disk" work that you created, from the reference above, but almost any problem you have with that could also be related to the fact that there is no OS to repair, you did format the drive prior to that. When you install Windows there will be a copy of the boot loader.

    If the keyboard works in the BIOS that is obviously a good start, there could be problems with some at that stage, but if it work there then the rest, installation etc. should be no problem. Keyboard problem with the "NTLDR boot disk" you created could be due to the disk. But since you say that CD can boot, you must check the install media CD, and HDD detection/setup in BIOS.

    BTW <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> it is 312295 as in your other thread; 321295 is for Windows 2000 SP3. I know, MSFT and all their numbers <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>, just to tell that I checked your link, but it's of no interest now.

  12. #12
    Star Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Hello again. I am not getting email notice of replies so I just keep checking in. The motherboard is an ASUS A7N8X-X and I downloaded the manual for it. I am working through the BIOS section now . . . <img src=/S/read.gif border=0 alt=read width=19 height=33> and yes I do have the full XP Pro CD. I am going to use the Load Default setting in the BIOS again and see where that gets me.
    Unfortunately, the family downstairs dropped off their laptop; won't connect to the internet. That one is almost done thankfully.

    Thanks for all of your assistance.
    CS.
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Ghandi

  13. #13
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    We still have a problem with e-mail notifications - see Teething troubles!.

  14. #14
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by Argus on 12-Jan-09 23:04. Lousy memory)</P>When you now are reading the manual and looking at the BIOS setup, some comments till you'll come back:

    If you do let it try to start (not pressing "Delete") note that you can at any time press "Pause" to pause the POST if you would like to read the screen output, this can be done, obviously, on a working system as well, as long as pressed before or during POST.

    To carry on the boot process (after the “Pause”) you press "Enter", but in your case at the moment, there is no OS to start, so just let it carry on until it stops and then turn off or reboot for a new session in BIOS Setup.

    The above isn't normally needed, since if errors they will be displayed. But in this case you can get the BIOS version, on older PCs/BIOS it isn't always presented inside the Setup. There is most probably no need to update (flash) the BIOS, and we don't want more problems. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> But it can be good to know which version a PC has, for this M/B there are only a few BIOS updates and they are old due to a little older M/B. So most probably nothing to do there (and I wouldn't suggest it, but sometimes one needs the latest or the one before, instead of the first (oldest) version).

    If you do the above early in the start process you should be able to catch what BIOS version that is there. It could say something like "AwardBIOS 0110 2004/08/10" etc.
    ---------------
    Added:
    Dang, I knew it was something I should mention together with the above blah blah. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    When/if you load the default values in BIOS, the boot priority will most probably be set to floppy/HDD-0/CDROM. As we discussed before, don't forget to change that.

  15. #15
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    Re: NTLDR is Missing (Was XP Home/ reformatted drive)

    Hello Argus,
    Just when you think it is safe in the forums again, I return the fourth day into the flu. Here is the information I have been able to gather:
    Phoenix Award Bios Version 6.000 PG
    AsusA7N8X-X ACP1 BIOS REV 1010

    I don't think you want to know how long its been since I remembered to use the pause key.
    I entered the BIOS both the HD and the CD show up there; boot sequence is CD, HD, Floppy (even though there isn't a floppy, a third choice is required) and I went to LOAD SETUP DEFAULTS and selected that and changed default N for no to Y for yes and saved and exited the BIOS. On reboot, I recieved this error: Floppy disk(s) fail (40) If that is referring to my selection of the non-existent floppy disc in the third position in the boot sequence, I have two questions:
    1. Why is it bypassing the CD drive.
    2. What choice should I make for the third boot position? Other choices for #3 position are: LS120, SCSI, and HDD 1, 2, & 3 (non-existent.)
    I can add another CD drive in, however, I do not get to specify which one the computer boots from.
    What can you suggest at this point?
    Thank you for sticking with me; it means a lot to me.

    *** Edit: I tried the boot sequence one at a time with each of the options listed above and got the same floppy error. A third choice must be made. <img src=/S/blowup.gif border=0 alt=blowup width=60 height=60>
    **** Turned off Legacy Diskette which took care of Floppy problems in boot sequence. Changed boot to CD, HD0 and HD0 again. Started booting fine, came to the part to select and key to boot from CD, selected key, ignored me and returned to NTLDR error.
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Ghandi

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