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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Howdy All! Long time no see! Guess I've been real lucky, huh?

    The wife's desktop (Dell Dimension 4100, P4, .5GB RAM, Win XP Pro SP3) was running slow and occasionally hanging. I noticed that there was a D:\ partition that I didn't create - don't know where it came from - that I couldn't access to see what was on it. I ran all the AV and spyware and malware programs I have and found nothing. So, I decided that I would remove the D:\ partition. After doing so, the computer will not boot. It gives the "NTLDR is missing" message. After searching the web and finding the consensus that files are missing from the boot sector of the hard drive. I began trying to recover.

    The best instructions I could find told me that I needed to copy the missing files (NTLDR and another whose name I don't recall as I type this) to the root directory (/Windows/i386) of the drive on the desktop. All of that was well and good, but I had no way to copy the files because the system wouldn't boot. What to do?

    The instructions told me to use my Windows XP Pro install CD and to tell the BIOS to boot from it, to choose the Recovery ("R") option, then to choose option "1". I was able to change the BIOS to boot from the CD but when I tried following the R then 1 instructions, up jumped the devil - it demanded an Administrator's password.

    Well, I had never set a password for the admin and even went into the BIOS options to prove that none was there. Trying to enter a space, or a bunch of them would give me no joy. After 3 attempts it forces the user to try again. After trying every password that I have ever used and any that my wife could think of, I decided to go into the BIOS and enter an admin password and try again. You've already guessed, haven't you? THE SAME THING HAPPENS.

    I've scratched my head until the little grey cells are exposed (that has done no good, either). If I could figure out what the problem is with the admin password, I could move on to uncover the next large, gaping hole in my knowledge to expose the vast chasm of ignorance lying beneath.

    So, I bring before the assembled enlightened ones the best description of the problem that I can muster (including how I inflicted it upon myself) and a similar attempt to describe the fixes I've attempted and the (lack of) results obtained. I need help. Yes, I've read voluminously of the resulting hits on NTLDR here at the lounge but did not discover - or missed - anything that describes my results.

    First, is the information about needing the NTLDR file in the root directory of the hard drive correct?
    Second, is the solution to copy the NTLDR and the other file from the CD to the root directory of the hard drive?
    Third, how does one copy files when one can't boot a system?
    Fourth, does booting from the installation CD seem a reasonable approach?
    Fifth, (assuming positive answers to the foregoing), how does one get around the admin password problem? (I've triple checked spelling and had the wife watch as I carefully entered the PW in both the BIOS and when requested in the recovery process.


    So - call me a tree that's been felled. I'm stumped!


    I want to format this hard drive and reinstall everything. Yes, I made a complete backup before I did away with the D:\ partition. I've got all the software and all the files. I also ran and printed results from Belarc Advisor to give me a snapshot of how the system was set up before. I'm prepared to spend a day recovering the OS and apps and another day updating everything and the next few weeks picking up the fallout . . . unless you've got a better idea.

    As always, TIA!!!!

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    It's been a while since I was in your precise shoes. That said, except for the Admin password issue, what you've been doing should have worked......

    The one time I did have that Admin password issue, it was on a C:\ drive install and came about as a result of having installed IIRC SP2. Like you, I had never used the Admin account, and so had never set a known password for it ..... and there was the undocumented gotcha. Perhaps someone has got luckier over the years than me, but I went for a reinstall. To be certain (as they say), I never let those circumstances arise again.....
    Grüße

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by unkamunka View Post
    It's been a while since I was in your precise shoes. That said, except for the Admin password issue, what you've been doing should have worked......

    The one time I did have that Admin password issue, it was on a C:\ drive install and came about as a result of having installed IIRC SP2. Like you, I had never used the Admin account, and so had never set a known password for it ..... and there was the undocumented gotcha. Perhaps someone has got luckier over the years than me, but I went for a reinstall. To be certain (as they say), I never let those circumstances arise again.....

    Thanks, unkamunka!

    I would go for a reinstall but I can't get past the missing NTLDR file. For whatever reason, I can't get it to read the file from the CD. I know it's on the CD because I put the CD in this laptop and found it with Explorer. I'm still hopeful that someone will tell me about a way around the admin pw problem.

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    I have found this password recovery CD very effective for similar situations in the past. You boot the CD, select your Windows disk and it can set the Administrator password for you.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    The "D" drive that you couldn't access was your "Recovery Drive" that is used when you select "R" for repair. Once you delete/format and forever do away with it, you will have to do a complete recovery install back to "Out Of The Box" conditions. You can just hit enter when you come to the enter "Admin Password" (Do not hit any other key, only enter). You should then be able to continue with your install.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Cliff sounds like he's right on the money to me. Please let us know where you are with it all.
    Xty

    & she was....

  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger
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    Haven't been able to work on it the last couple of days but might get some time with it tomorrow. I'll let you know what happens.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    If you never set an Administrator password, then the password field is blank; blank meaning no spaces, nothing. Just hit Enter.

    If you get logged on, type

    bootcfg /rebuild

    and hit Enter. The utility will search your drive(s) for Windows installations and ask if you want to add them as boot items. After you have satisfied the "rebuild" questions and get back to the console prompt, type

    fixboot

    and hit Enter. Once that finishes, remove the CD and reboot.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    This may be too simple but make sure no floppy (if you have a floppy drive) or CD/dvd is in the dvd drive when you turn the pc on.

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    ..Or a flash drive for that matter

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    On my MSI desktop I have a SATA (boot) drive and regular ATA drive!

    I was playing around with the boot order in the bios and when I tried to boot with one setting, I received the NTLDR is missing message!

    By correcting the boot order the problem was resolved! It was trying to boot from the ATA drive. Once set to boot from the SATA drive, all was well!

    Is their any chance that the boot order was changed in the bios?

    That D:\ is the hidden partition that contains the original OS. On my HP laptop, I was allowed to burn one copy of this partition for back-up in case of a major failure, such as a hard drive! If you don't have a backup of this partition, it may be possible to buy one from the manufacturer. I know that this is possible for HP computers!

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