Windows is the most used operating system in the world on a computer, but that does not mean that it is free of unexpected failures with which we can get our hands on our heads. In this case we are going to focus on an unexpected error that happens when we try to start our Windows 10 computer normally. Suddenly, we get the error “NTLDR is missing” which means that our operating system has suffered some unexpected maladjustment. Today we are going to see possible solutions for this problem.
First of all we will tell you that these failures to which we refer can be given for a wide variety of reasons. Some are more serious than others or can affect functionalities or components of all kinds. For each of them there are a series of possible solutions, although they are not always as effective as we would like.
Having said that, to say that in these same lines we want to focus on one of these specific failures. Therefore, in the event that you have ever come across a message that reads NTLDR Missing, let’s go to what the system refers more specifically.
What is the NTLDR file and what does it do for us
To start with all this we will tell you that the NTLDR file is responsible for starting all versions of the Windows operating system. Thus, it is usually found in the main directory of the active partition of the computer’s boot drive. Therefore, when our computer tries to access the operating system and cannot do so, a warning appears on the screen that indicates “NTLDR is missing”, so the boot loading process stops and cannot continue due to this error.
This error when starting our Windows 10 computer can be indicated in several ways and all represent the same problem. Therefore, the messages that we can find in this regard are these:
- NTLDR is missing. Press any key to restart
- NTLDR is missing. Press Ctrl Alt Del to restart
- Boot: NTLDR could not be found. Please insert another disk
As you can imagine, they all refer to the same operating system startup failure. Therefore, to say that the most frequent reason why this error can appear is because our computer is trying to start with a hard disk, DVD, or pendrive, which is not configured to be able to boot. It may also be due to a virus that has corrupted the files. Thus, it has managed to get into the Windows 10 boot record and damage it. Therefore, we are going to see what are the possible solutions that we can use.
On what systems does the NTLDR file work?
This file works primarily on older Windows operating systems, such as Windows NT, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. For versions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8, and 10, the NTLDR file was replaced by the Windows boot manager, also known as autostart, which gathers all the important files to be able to start up.
Solutions for Windows NTLDR Missing Problem
Once we have known what the Windows NTLDR file is and what it is for, we go on to know the possible solutions that we can find when the system cannot boot due to a failure in the file.
Disconnect external storage drives
The first thing we can do in this regard is, with the computer turned off, disconnect all external drives and remove removable media. This is where things like the DVD drive, memory cards or USB devices come into play. As we said before, the “NTLDR Missing” problem is usually caused by a problem in the BIOS that tries to boot the computer from a drive that is not configured to boot, so avoid trying to load from any of them.
Check the status of the boot disk in BIOS
Next, we must access the BIOS and verify that the system is going to try to boot from the drive where the Windows operating system is installed. To access the BIOS we must turn on the computer while holding down the F2 or Delete key, depending on each brand, it can also be F5 or F8. Once inside this section, we will click on the Boot tab , at the top and it will take us to the configuration part of the start of our computer.
Here we will check that the drive where the operating system is installed (for example, C 🙂 is in “Boot Option # 1” or similar when booting. Once verified, we exit the BIOS, turn off the computer and reconnect the external drives that we had previously removed. We try to start the computer and check if we can boot normally, if not, we will update the BIOS.
Update the PC BIOS
The NTLDR Missing error may be due to the fact that the BIOS of our computer is outdated, so we must visit the manufacturer’s website to make sure that we have the last option installed, although this process carries risks so you only have to go through him if you have the necessary knowledge. If there is a new version, we must download it from another computer. This file must be ZIP type that we must unzip and save on a FAT32-formatted pendrive.
Next, we will turn on the computer again and enter the BIOS with the pendrive inserted. Now we will go to the “Advanced” option and we will see an option called “Start Easy Flash” or similar because it depends on the manufacturer model. From here, a wizard will allow us to find the file that we have downloaded, select it, accept the process and the update will begin. Finally, if everything has gone well, the computer will restart and we will have the new version of the BIOS that can solve the problem and start the computer normally.
Repair BOOT.INI and MBR in Windows 10
In order to repair this error that we refer to in system versions after Windows 7, including Windows 8 or Windows 10, we first need to have a bootable DVD or USB with the operating system in question. Then we connect it and start the PC with it until we reach the first window of the Windows installation process. Then we select the language and continue to select the option to Repair the computer.
In the next window that appears, we choose Command Prompt to get to a new window from which we will repair the computer. We do this through Command Prompt commands. That is why we are going to show you which ones you must type in order:
- bootrec / fixmbr
- bootrec / fixboot
- bootrec / rebuildbcd
The first command is responsible for repairing the MBR, while with the second we reinstall the Windows boot. At the same time with the last one what we achieve is to make sure that there are no incompatibility problems in the process. To finish with all this, we type the Exit command to exit the wizard and restart the PC. Now the entire operating system should work normally again.
How to repair BOOT.INI and MBR in Windows XP
It may be the unlikely event that this is a bug encountered by those who are still using Windows XP. Well, to repair this we need to have the original CD of the Windows XP operating system and that it be self-bootable. Therefore we introduce it into the drive and restart the PC by changing the boot sequence in the BIOS.
Once it has been changed, having the Windows XP CD auto-bootable when restarting the PC we find a window from which we can access the recovery console through the R key.
From there we will find a command prompt window in which we execute the following two commands:
It is worth mentioning that each of them requires our confirmation and they will help us solve the problem we have had.
Startup Repair feature in Windows 10
The function called “Startup Repair” is a Windows recovery tool that can help us fix some system problems that may prevent you from logging in, such as the missing NTLDR file. This function will take care of examining the entire computer for the error in trying to correct the error so that the computer can restart correctly.
The “Startup Repair” tool can be found in the system’s “Troubleshooting” menu that we will find in the Windows installation menu. To do this, it will be necessary for us to download and create our own installation media by following these instructions.
- Download and create your Windows 10 installation media from here.
- Boot your computer from DVD or USB
- Choose the Language and keyboard layout.
- Choose the option “Repair your computer.”
- Click on “Troubleshoot.”
- We select “Advanced Options” and then we click on “Startup Repair”.
- Choose your Windows 10 operating system.
Reinstall Windows or change the hard drive
Another option is to reinstall Windows 10 on our computer from scratch, so we will lose all the saved data in case we did not have any backup made. If the error still appears after reinstalling it, it may be due to a hardware problem with our hard drive. For this reason, we will have to replace the hard disk and reinstall Windows 10. With everything and with it these last two are the most radical solutions that we are going to use.
And it is that the failure that we have been talking about, in the worst case can be due to a physical failure in the storage unit. That is why if this is the case, no matter how many changes we try to make, none of them will be effective, so we will have to change the disk at the hardware level.