Attempted boot from SATA drive, NTLDR Missing

By LibraClassic
Oct 19, 2009
  1. Hello, everybody! I'm new here and I found a lot of useful information already! However, I am at a loss as to how I can solve this problem. It is similar to other problems, yet not quite. I will explain:

    First, my specs (Custom Built Unit):

    Cooler Master Casing
    ASUS M3A78-T MoBo (Dual Core) - MoBo has one slot for IDE, and the rest is SATA
    (2) 750 gig Seagate Barracuda SATA HDD's (Initially set as slaves)
    (1) 80 gig Seagate IDE HDD (initially set as master)

    Now that we have that bit of information taken care of, here's the issue:

    My 80 gig IDE showed signs of imminent failure. I had no money to buy another hard drive immediately, so I partitioned one of my 750g hard drives, and re-installed on that one. I currently use this new installation (which is D:/ instead of C:/).

    I attempted to remove the IDE drive, and kept receiving an 'NTLDR missing, press ctrl+alt+del to restart' error. After doing some researching here and other places, I discovered that this shows up when trying to load from a non-bootable device and that Windows, by default, loads the NTLDR file into the C:/ drive, and if unable to find it, will not know what to do!

    I wanted to name the drive to the new partition "C:", but of course, there was already a drive with that letter, so I had to go with "D:". Do i have to change the drive letter to "C:"? If so, will all of my program installations, files, etc. - reflect that change? I don't want to leave this bad drive in my PC, because when it fails (and you know it will!), I don't want the rest of my system dependent upon it, you know?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks guys n gals....
  2. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Your 750G is not bootable thus the NTLDR missing error.

    More info on how you partitioned your 750G HDD. Download PARTINFO, extract and run. Post screenshot.
  3. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Me, again...

    I apologize, you know? I mean, duh, how were you supposed to even begin to help without the partition information? Sorry bout that. I've downloaded PARTINFO, but I currently can't use it because of a host of other problems that I have to deal with (it's one thing after another). But from Memory I can tell you that my original configuration (done with Partition Magic) was:

    C: Local Disk
    D. Music (750 gig - no partitions)
    E. Production (750 gig - no partitions)

    F. (sometimes), I have an external (750 gig) HDD that may have added to the problem by not unplugging it during a few of these changes.

    Second Configuration:

    C. Local Disk
    D. Music (750 gig - no partition yet)
    E. Production (700 gig - 50 gig partitioned [Website] )
    F. External HDD (750 gig)

    Most recent configuration:

    C: Local Disk (still Primary)
    D. Local Disk (Logical - 100 gig - from Music Drive, OS WinXP Professional SP3 installed)
    E. Production (Logical - 50 gig - Production Drive, No OS)
    J. Music Drive - (New Lettering)
    ?. Website (I forgot the drive letter originally assigned to it)

    Pretty jacked up, huh?

    Now I'm running into major obstacles that are making me literally cry out of frustration. I can't seem to fix this without running into 5 more complicated problems

    I figured I would make C: a slave (snatched off jumper), and it would simply reference the files on C: to load the installation of my new OS installation on the partition (since that's where the needed files are automatically referenced, right?). Nope. Evidently, I caused even more problems. Now I get "boot.ini" errors (I have backups), and can not only NOT locate the "boot.ini" tab in MSCONFIG, but it has become unavailable when clicking "Startup & Recovery" - it reads NO boot.ini file. So using my backup .ini fle, i replace the .ini file, but to no avail - it still doesn't recognize that a boot.ini file is there...

    Ok, so now I'm in Recovery Console, but hark! - an early Holiday gift - all my drive letters are messed up! (D reads as E, etc...), so now I'm in Recovery Console trying to repair the only WinXP installation on letter E, when it should be letter D, and it is rejecting my bootcfg commands (error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows Installations.....etc, etc.)

    If only I could find a way to make my D: Partition a "C:' partition, I could work with it, but I'm stuck. I initially changed the drive and boot order in BIOS, but instead of booting, Paragon Partition Magic's Boot Manager came up and wouldn't respond to the only command it would let you give - "Enter". It listed one installation, but did nothing with it but sat there. *sigh* - I've never had so much go so wrong so fast...
  4. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Avril said it "Complicated" I guess it is. Revert to your previously working BIOS master/slave config. More info on your 80 Gig does it contain 2 partitions? Thinking... thinking...

    This is how we do it

    80 Gig Master
    750 Gig Slave (The one with an OS)
    750 Gig - Unplug it for now.

    Go to the Recovery Console again. Are your drive letters still messed up?
  5. filimarcus

    filimarcus TS Rookie Posts: 29

    gud day to you,
    for my experience it was once happened to me..what I did was disconnect the ide drive on the on the board first, then i Left the Sata drive alone,,configure it as primary master. In the Os setup process..i create a partition on that sata drive for the Os at least 20%. of that drive and then everything's fine. Atfer the os installation succeed i connect back the ide hardrive set it as slave..then everyting's been ok..this is only what i did, i hope it helps.!!
  6. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Thanks for the tip. I twice used that procedure too some time ago but in her case I want more info on how she partitioned her 750 HDD.
  7. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    @WinXpert - Ok, I'm gonna do what you said as soon as this Recovery Console tells me that it can't complete my bootcfg /rebuild, 80 gig contains two partitions (the partition is, like, 7mb or something?).

    @filimarcus - that really worked for you? wow, I must have done something wrong (how obvious is that?), because I initially unhooked my C: drive and I continued to get the error message: NTLDR is missing, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to restart, so I had to hook the drive back up (I'm pretty sure it's almost time for it to fail)

    Hopefully I can get this to boot properly to give WinXpert a proper screenshot of the partitions....I'll be right back (i'm on an emergency computer, so I won't be long!)
  8. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    @WinXpert - Ok, I'm gonna do what you said as soon as this Recovery Console tells me that it can't complete my bootcfg /rebuild, 80 gig contains two partitions (the partition is, like, 7mb or something?).

    @filimarcus - that really worked for you? wow, I must have done something wrong (how obvious is that?), because I initially unhooked my C: drive and I continued to get the error message: NTLDR is missing, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to restart, so I had to hook the drive back up (I'm pretty sure it's almost time for it to fail)

    Hopefully I can get this to boot properly to give WinXpert a proper screenshot of the partitions....I'll be right back (i'm on an emergency computer, so I won't be long!)
  9. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey, everybody...ok, I unhooked the drives like you said, and my computer booted up like nothing happened, boot.ini is back in MSCONFIG, and all that jolly rot...I just realized the mistake (or what appears to be the mishap) - in the boot.ini file, it appears that where it asks for the partition to look in, I was putting (1 - the default), and it was actually (2).

    WinXpert - You know I downloaded that Partinfo and when clicking on the .exe (I used the PARTINFW.EXE), I get a fleeting cmd prompt and then nothing. So I'm going to have to respectfully beg off of that, because it's seriously another headache I don't need:

    Here are my drives:

    Local Disk (C) 74.5 g , 72.4 g free (bad sectors were found, so you know what that means)
    Local Disk (D) 100 g, 5.81g free (the new OS, from the "Music" drive)
    Production (E) 638 g, 171g free (contains a partition called "Website")
    Website (G) 58.6g, 22.2g free (from the "Production" drive)
    Music (J) 598g, 89.6g free (Contains a partition called "Local Disk")

    I haven't been back into Recovery Console yet (to be honest, I forgot because it booted so lovelily (is that a word?)

    So now we're back to square one....How do I take out that faulty C drive without disrupting the proceedings again? Fillimarcus sounds like he has a point there, but I will take no more action until I know something else definite, because the last time I unhooked the C, my computer told me off. Could you guys let me know how to do that without ruining my life again? I don't want my system dependent on this faulty drive at all! Thanks so much for all your help!
  10. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Good to hear your PC is working again. If your C: is failing better to get rid of it. Make notes of your HDD setting- jumper wires and where it is connected. Now make your E: the master D: slave. Take out C:. At the recovery console

    It will detect your OS on your slave drive. Add it and reboot. Changes BIOS accordingly. Let me know.
  11. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Before I do that, after typing Fixmbr - it says this:

    This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record.
    FIXMBR may damage your partition tables if you proceed.
    This could cause all the partitions on the current hard disk to become inaccessible.

    Now before I do that, will I lose the information on my partitions?
  12. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    We are referring to your other 750 Gig HDD the one without an OS. If you don't want to risk loosing data we'll try another one.

    Unplug C: and D: that means you have only on drive the 750 Gig w/o OS. You have your WinXP CD ready boot with it and install Windows, select your partition (Drive C:) Continue setup leaving everything on your HDD unchanged. DON'T select format or it will wipe everything that's the last option. When Windows Restarts remove the CD. We'll spot at that no need to complete the installation process. Time to connect Drive D: as slave. Reboot.

    If is Windows successfully boots it will search for the installation CD and will generate an error. Go to the recovery console and do the BOOTCFG /ADD. No fixboot or fixmbr.
  13. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you all so much for your efforts. I unplugged C & D, and left E. Ok. I did the initial pre-install which loads all the necessary start-up files, ok. Ok. After Windows restarted, i removed the disc. I connected the D/E drive. I get the error message (not sure what you expected to see, you didn't say what it would say). It said something about not being able to find any installed Harddisks???? and ended with "press F3 to restart".

    Nevermind Recovery Console - my drives are now invisible in BIOS. I'm sorry if I seem inept at this, but now i have a new problem...

    UPDATE: I went into BIOS, chose "Hard Drive" for first boot device, and rebooted - my drives have shown back up. NOW i'm going to attempt to go into Recovery Console and add the OS installation....
  14. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Next time you boot do it in Safe Mode and select the entry you've added with BOOTCFG. Don't worry you're doing fine.
  15. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

  16. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Let's rephrase, your adding the OS (from drive D:) thru the recovery console using
    BOOTCFG /add
    and follow post #14
  17. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I'm going to be very blunt here. I understand that you owe me nothing, and don't have to do this, and that i'm at the mercy of whoever is on here, but I really need to say that the added after-the-fact instructions have really messed me up, and now I'm sitting here with an extra windows installation that insists on finishing (you said I wouldn't have to do that, to take out the disc upon the first reboot). I'm in safe mode reading "Windows XP Setup cannot run under safemode. Setup will restart now" and now i'm wading through all these instructions that i'm being given AFTER I've obeyed your initial can see how this is confusing to someone who doesn't have your experience?

    I now have TWO useless OS on the same drive (any ideas on how to get rid of the new one and start over? *sigh* ) and i'm no closer to my goals. Let's have a debriefing, because I think we're engaged in a classic mix-up -

    First - What exactly are you trying to help me do? I need to know that we're on the same page and that what you are saying isn't missing CRUCIAL information (for example: FIXMBR??) Before I follow any more directions (they seem to be digging me into a deeper hole than I originally was in), I HAVE to make sure of this...

    I have taken out the faulty C drive and now I onlly have the two 750 gig drives to boot from temporarily, until I obtain a replacement drive. I dont really want anything booting from either of these drives, but at this point I have to do what I have to do - hence the partitions.

    As it stands, once again, i can no longer get BIOS to recognize my SATA drives (they refuse to come back), so now I'm worse off than when I began (and no i'm not some ***** newbie, i may not know as much as you do, but I'm certainly not computer illiterate by any means, but hey, it's on me - i took a chance coming up here).

    I'll be back, but now i've got to go somewhere else on this forum to try to find out how to get my BIOS to recognize my drives.

    UPDATE: "Setup is being restarted" ??? Do you mean I have to actually go THROUGH with the setup? Now i'm stuck in this loop that I can't get out of. And when I switch from one SATA drive to the next in BIOS, i get Paragon Boot Manager (I used their software to partition) and it says "press enter to boot" - but it won't boot - it just sits there. I gotta hurry up and get a replacement C drive before I make the ultimate mistake and lose my data or damage my dirive...
  18. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    My explicit instruction is to make an XP partial intall on your other 750gig drive that is not bootable. Now it boots but it tries to finish the installation. The purpose of BOOTCFG /add is to add an entry in your boot.ini that is your XP on the 750gig (your initial drive D). How many entries do you see when XP begins to boot. It defaults to the setup because if you do not press any key within 1 sec the boot.ini will select the default entry (that is the partial setup). If you see multiple entries when you reboot again press cursor down immediately and select the last entry. Hope you can post your boot.ini. At the recovery console

    CD \
    ATTRIB -s -h -r boot.ini
    TYPE boot.ini

    What we are going to do is to change the default in your boot.ini

    for example:

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional Setup" /fastdetect /NoExecute
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(?)partition(?)\WINDOWS="This could be any text you entered at bootcfg " /fastdetect /NoExecute

    I,m not sure if EDIT works in RC but try this
    EDIT boot.ini

    First you change the timeout to 10
    Next we change the default to=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(?)partition(?)\WINDOWS
    that's in italics.? replace the ? with the number your seeing and save.

    As a precaution I told you to "Make notes of your HDD setting- jumper wires and where it is connected." did you do that? in case you want to return to your working settings.

    One more thing I expected errors and there is which means we're going in the right direction. Yes it is complicated but where near our goal. Keep me posted we're almost there. After editing boot.ini and Windows successfully boots I guess we're through. It's up to you to delete the first entry.
  19. LibraClassic

    LibraClassic TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I did actually do the partial install on the unbootable let's see.. Lemme see...ok, I get the missing/corrupt hal.dll (boot.ini) that about right? Now lemme reboot, change to CD in BIOS, load up - ok, now this is intimidating -

    CD \
    ATTRIB -s -h -r boot.ini
    TYPE boot.ini"

    I don't know what to do with this. Should I type "EDIT Boot.ini" first? Wait, nope - doesn't work in RC...hmm...

    and you know what? I just was in RC and my drives read "C", now I'm back in and they're reading "D" again...does that mean anything?? Ok, i just activated the bootcfg /add thingamajig...i'll be back...
  20. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    On RC type
    TYPE boot.ini

    write this down and post it next time. Then we edit
    EDIT boot.ini

    follow post #18 content of boot.ini may differ from my example. One more thing I told you before your 750 [Drive E] is your master and the other 750 [Drive D] is your slave. Note your working BIOS cable combination. Put some masking tape and mark it for easy reference. Oh btw did you set your jumper wire? E: master, D: slave or cable select. I'm referring to your last configuration you've posted.

    Remember how long it took me to do the same procedure. Just be patient, and follow everything to the letter. Don't worry your data is still there, I'll do the best I can to protect your partition.
  21. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Some additional explanation on what we're doing.
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