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Author Topic: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?  (Read 776 times)

Deozaan

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How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« on: December 23, 2019, 01:20 PM »
Last night I told my computer to go to sleep and left it as it was doing its thing since it can take a good 10-20 seconds to fully go down into sleep mode. This morning I returned to my PC to find it hadn't fully entered sleep mode. The displays were off, power had been cut from USB devices, but I could hear that the fans were still running.

Wiggling/clicking the mouse gave no response. Pressing keys on my keyboard resulted in no response, other than the keyboard backlighting briefly turning on and then off again (it turns off when my PC enters sleep mode). Pressing the power button on the tower resulted in no response.

It didn't occur to me to try ctrl-alt-del at the time, and I ended up just holding the power button long enough until it fully powered down.

When I turned the machine back on I was greeted by a BSOD before it even made it to the "loading Windows" startup animation. After the machine rebooted itself it went into self diagnostic and ended up checking the disk(s) for errors. Then it told me it couldn't repair the problem.

If I manually boot from my OS SSD from the BIOS (UEFI) I get an error saying something to the effect of:

"NTLDR is missing. Press ctrl-alt-del to restart your computer"

Everything I've found in my searches on the error seems to indicate that this error message is for Windows XP/7 and I should only be seeing it if I upgraded my PC from an older version of Windows to Windows 10. But I haven't done that. I have formatted this SSD and installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 on it in the past.

Other guides I've seen either don't work (probably because they're written for Windows XP/7) or I can't be guaranteed whether or not they'll work since they suggest using some program(s) (usually partition managers) that are not free, and I'm hesitant to buy something that I'll likely only need this one time without knowing for sure that it will solve my problem.

I've booted into a Linux Live USB and the SSD itself seems to be functioning properly and the data appears to be in tact.

It seems the problem stems from the fact that the PC failed to fully enter sleep mode. Perhaps that changed some files or boot configurations and I just need to modify or replace some files somewhere, but so far I haven't found any useful information that is actually helping me to repair the boot problem.

Any helpful tips, suggestions, or pointers would be greatly appreciated.

wraith808

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2019, 01:53 PM »
Unfortunately, the only thing I've seen in Windows 10 if you get NTLDR is to start a clean install.  Not sure if there's another solution... can you get to the repair using a repair disk?

Deozaan

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2019, 01:56 PM »
I have a Windows 10 installation USB I can use to get to the setup/troubleshooting thing, but if I click the option to diagnose/repair it just tells me it couldn't repair the problem.

x16wda

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2019, 02:44 PM »
If you boot to the installer and go into the command prompt in the troubleshooting section you can try some things. If your box isn't seeing the loader then you can try to set it up again.

bcdedit /export c:\bcdbkup --- never hurts
ren c:\boot\bcd bcd2.old --- you don't necessarily have to do this, this renames the existing file so it doesn't get looked at
bootrec /scanos --- verify that it finds a windows installation
bootrec /rebuildbcd --- reply yes to add, exit to restart

Hopefully that would get you farther along. Sometimes "things happen" but it is always concerning when you can't even start to boot.
vi vi vi - editor of the beast

Deozaan

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2019, 03:50 PM »
Thanks for the detailed response.

bcdedit /export c:\bcdbkup --- never hurts

This seems to have made a backup of something.

ren c:\boot\bcd bcd2.old --- you don't necessarily have to do this, this renames the existing file so it doesn't get looked at
This says file not found. (The cmd window does say I'm running in administrator mode, so I don't think it's a permissions issue.)

bootrec /scanos --- verify that it finds a windows installation
It didn't find any Windows installations...

bootrec /rebuildbcd --- reply yes to add, exit to restart

This appears to do nothing since it didn't find any Windows installations.

So what did I make a backup of in step 1 if there's no Windows installation that it can detect? :-\

Deozaan

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2019, 05:34 PM »
I booted into Linux and backed up everything from the OS drive that I felt could be useful. Then I booted back into Windows recovery and attempted to "Reset this PC" but it said there was an error and it couldn't continue with that process.

So unless anyone else has any suggestions, I think I'm just going to wipe the drive and reinstall fresh.

Thankfully I do all in my power to keep my OS drive separate from any important user data. If only Microsoft would allow me to move my User directory off the OS drive, then I could keep things totally separated. . .
« Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 05:43 PM by Deozaan »

Shades

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2019, 07:49 PM »
If you are starting anew, that is the time to apply this trick of moving user folders to a separate partition or (network)drive:
https://www.windowscentral.com/how-move-default-user-folders-new-drive-windows-10
Problem with the above method is that you'll need to repeat it for every account on your PC.


https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/1964-move-users-folder-location-windows-10-a.html
After applying this method you won't need to think again about repeating configuration steps. It will all happen automatically.


For myself, I always create a small-ish partition (25 to 50 GByte) just for storing temp files. I use a tool called: RapidEE (run as admin) to redirect temp folders from the system, but also users temp folders.
And when I'm a bit stretched for storage space, I often use the temp partition also for the swap file. This I configure with the same size for minimum and maximum, so it becomes one big block that isn't likely to fragment. Or at least slowing the fragmentation by a lot. Less important of a step if you only have SSD (or better) drives in your system.


 

x16wda

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2019, 08:16 PM »
The "bcd" is boot configuration data. It's what the boot loader uses to find the parts that it needs to start the boot process. That's what got backed up, the current boot config info. Seems like in your case, part of that is missing.

If you are willing to wipe and rebuild, you could try doing these two commands:

bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot

and then follow with the bootrec /scanos and bootrec /rebuildbcd. Since your system is actually running the boot code up to the point where it is looking for NTLDR, I am not sure if this will help, but it doesn't take long.

At any rate if you wipe and rebuild, at least you'll have a clean environment again.It's just a pain to reinstall stuff, although it gives you a chance to revisit the programs you use.
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4wd

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2019, 01:05 AM »
Could also try Lazesoft Recovery Suite if you're at the point where you might reinstall anyway.

Home Edition is free but you'll need a working computer to install it on to create the WinPE bootable drive/disc.

And mirinsoft has a couple of nice apps to prepare for the next time. :P

Deozaan

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2019, 01:49 AM »
If you are willing to wipe and rebuild, you could try doing these two commands:

bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot

The first one said it completed successfully. The second one said access was denied even though it was an administrator command prompt.  :huh:

Could also try Lazesoft Recovery Suite if you're at the point where you might reinstall anyway.

Home Edition is free but you'll need a working computer to install it on to create the WinPE bootable drive/disc.

I'm in the process of making the WinPE USB drive. Thanks for the tip!

If you are starting anew, that is the time to apply this trick of moving user folders to a separate partition or (network)drive:
https://www.windowscentral.com/how-move-default-user-folders-new-drive-windows-10
Problem with the above method is that you'll need to repeat it for every account on your PC.

That one doesn't actually move the User directory. It just moves some of the default folders such as Music and Documents. But the big one is the AppData directory which everything just kind of stuffs full with all kinds of random, but often important, things. And I've not seen a way to move the AppData directory after installing Windows 10.


https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/1964-move-users-folder-location-windows-10-a.html
After applying this method you won't need to think again about repeating configuration steps. It will all happen automatically.

This one, however, appears to actually move the Users directory, so it looks like it will indeed do what I would prefer to do with Windows 10. I'll give this a try if I end up installing fresh. Thanks!

Deozaan

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2019, 02:09 AM »
It seems Lazesoft was a bust. The home edition says it can "fix Windows Boot Problems due to corrupted MBR, Boot Sector, Boot File, Registry, etc." But in order to "fix missing file crash such as 'ntldr is missing', 'bootmgr is missing' etc." I need the pro version.

4wd

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2019, 04:11 AM »
It seems Lazesoft was a bust. The home edition says it can "fix Windows Boot Problems due to corrupted MBR, Boot Sector, Boot File, Registry, etc." But in order to "fix missing file crash such as 'ntldr is missing', 'bootmgr is missing' etc." I need the pro version.

Damn, missed that in the comparison table ... however, the Pro version is available as a *Free Trial* ... don't know how far it'd get before asking to register/buy though.

Deozaan

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Re: How to fix "NTLDR is missing" error in Windows 10?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2019, 04:01 PM »
I just went ahead and installed a fresh copy of Windows 10. Now it's just a matter of getting everything back up and running the way I like it again. :)

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. And thanks to Shades I was finally able to fully move my Users directory off the OS drive! :Thmbsup: