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NTLDR is missing - before Windows is even installed!


ctp9
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I just made an XP Pro SP3 with all the latest hotfixes and updates with nLite, popped it in the computer and let it run.

After the drive has been partitioned and formatted, setup started copying the required Windows installation files, then crashed, rebooted, and said that NTLDR is missing. After that point it was an endless loop... and sometimes - if I let the loop run for a bunch of consecutive crash/reboot rounds in a row - I would get a blue screen saying "ntfs.sys is missing or corrupt".

I tried many different things but what seemed to have worked was using BartPE (Preinstalled Environment, BartPE, bootable live windows CD) and the CMD prompt from there to copy over the missing NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM files.

Windows was then able to install successfully after I copied the missing files back on the hard drive; however, now my ACTUAL Windows folder in the root of the drive is called "WINDOWS.0", and an empty Windows folder (spelled correctly, just 'WINDOWS') is also present.

Does anyone know why setup did not just continue installing into the first Windows folder which was created before the NTLDR boot error? Also, why am I getting NTLDR boot errors all of a sudden? I've created multiple nLite installations before without this error ever occurring, but now for some reason I keep getting it. The only thing I am doing differently this time is slipstreaming all the hotfixes and critical updates from Windows Update.

Thanks for your help.

Edited by ctp9
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Yes, both of you are right, but WHY do the latest nLite CDs I make ALL give me the NTLDR error? I made three new installations, slipstreaming SP3 and integrating all the hotfixes and add-ons, and I started getting this error. Whereas all the CDs I've made prior to these last three, were all fine? It doesn't make and sense or have any pattern - these errors are all by random chance, and I seem to be hitting them now.

It's very frustrating. Hopefully someone here might have some, literally, MAGIC solution to this random problem... seeing as so many of us are getting it, but under different circumstances and with different configurations and variables involved.

Edited by ctp9
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This is not the place for requesting "magic" solutions and not everyone is getting random problems. Though it is true that there are so many different configurations and variables involved, that is why we need, as for most posts you see on this board, the basic info under the now famous "attached, not pasted" format, your last session.ini file. Also make sure you always start from a fresh MS cd as source, because this is the most frequent cause of what people then call "random problems".

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I wipe all partitions always... never have anything exotic going on in my installations. I always use a fresh source for nLite CDs, and always wipe partitions and format using the regular NTFS method through Windows setup.

I solved the mystery of this particular computer though - the problem lay in the BIOS and the "Top Performance" setting. As soon as I changed it to the "Fail-safe" setting, then everything worked like a charm again and I was able to install without any problems. I changed the BIOS settings to my likings afterwards and everything is still working fine now.

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