What is NTLDR?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by JXBlack, Apr 14, 2008.

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  1. JXBlack

    JXBlack Registered Member

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    I recently had my Hard Drive replaced by Compaq on my Laptop. I had backup up with Acronis 10 when I first bought the computer and successfully re installed everything on the C:\ partition and re formatted the other 2 partitions.

    Now upon booting up all I get is

    "" NTLDR is missing,,,,,,,hit ctrl-alt-del""

    When I do, I simply get the Compaq screen and the same message again.

    I am running WinXP Sp2. Everything I have seen concerning NTLDR has to do with Windows 2000.

    Can anyone help?

    Thanks
     
  2. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    It's the Operating system's (OS) own little bootstrap that pulls the OS into the computer's memory on startup. First the computer runs the BIOS test, then goes to the disk for the main bootstrap to load up software. That basically takes the machine to the sector of the disk with the OS bootstrap to load the OS. "Bootstrap" is where the term "boot" and "botting up" come from.

    When the bootstrap can't find the NTLDR ( the NT loader because the Windows OSs are all basically versions descending from NT), you get the message you see. Sometimes, it's jsut that the BIOS is looking to the wrong drive for the bootstrap and yo can fix the that by going into the bios and setting which harddrive is tried first when the machine boots up. If that's not the problem, then you can probably fix this by doing a repair of the OS with the Windows startup disk that came with your PC.

    And there's lots of threads about this subject in the forum.
     
  3. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    When you restored your C drive backup did you include the MBR backup image? If not restore this a separate step and you should be good to go.
    Out of interest what was on the two partitions you re-formatted ?

    Xpilot
     
  4. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    Which in turn came form the old expression "Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps."
     
  5. Dave49

    Dave49 Registered Member

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  6. justalice

    justalice Registered Member

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    Hi ... Here the thing when I did my backup I just done the whole computer which consist only one hard drive partitions into 2 drive one for the OS and the other for the backup . So would this have the MBR ? Because If I recall when doing a backup I only could choose one or the other options not both ( c drive / MBR ) Is there anywhere a guide ( step by step ) as to how to perform a correct back up ? If not ? why not ? If so ? Where ? Thanks
     
  7. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    I had this exact same thing happen to me over a week ago with my laptop. Dell shipped me a new, blank hard drive and I restored my image (from DVD) on to it. WinXP Pro, simple single system, no multiple boot stuff. Restored both Disk 1 and Trk 0 and MBR.

    I got the same error. NTLDR is missing.

    And I tried all of the advice above. I restored Track 0 and the MBR. I did FIXMBR, I did FIXBOOT, etc. Nothing works.

    It looks like ATI version 10 does not properly back up or restore (hard to tell which) the critical files, data, or sectors required for the computer to boot again from a blank hard drive. So all of those image backups I have been creating for the past 4 years was a waste of my time (and money on 3 different True Image upgrades). When disaster struck, I was left with a backup/recover solution that does not work.

    No reply from Acronis about this major bust in their software. No help to me, a paying customer, despite repeated requests.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    JXBlack and tjcanno,

    Did you check your boot.ini?
     
  9. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    If the post by Brian K does not resolve your issues, here are some additional thoughts.

    JXBlack,
    When you created the original backup, how many partitions did your system drive contain (both hidden & diagnostic)at that time?

    In your posting, you mentioned restoring C and plus formatting two others.

    TrueImage is very picky. It is very much aware of the number of partitions that exist when a backup is created.

    a. When restoring to a blank/new drive, TrueImage is expecting to restore the same number of partitons that existed when the backup was created.

    b. When restoring a single partition to a new or old drive, it is expecting the other partitions will still exist even though you may not be restoring all the other partitions. Plus, it is expected that the partition being restored is in the same position as when backup was created.

    If the number of partitions currently differ from what existed when the backup was made, you might try matching the number of partitions and then perform a new restore of Drive C. During the restore setup, when you get to the screen titled "Next selection" (maybe 5th screen or so), click on the yes option and this will return you back to where you can now select the "Track 0 & MBR" option. This will enable drive C and track 0/mbr to be included all in one restore. This procedure is illustrated (but not exactly the same situtation) in my Help Guide on Upgrading to larger harddrive. The content of the partition not being restored in not relevant to TrueImage--as long as the partition does exist.

    Of course, your best chance of success is when you have a prior "disk" backup which includes all partitions and then perform a "disk" restore which will restore all partitions.

    When you deviate from the above steps is when you have to ask for customized individual forum assistance and end up with a lot of wasted time and frustration--which the above can usually prevent.:)

    Best chances of success when cloning or restoring is
    a. when booted from the TrueImage Rescue CD and
    b. Position disk receiving cloning or restoration in same position as original prior to restore/clone.
    c. Most of the comments above relate to a single boot XP system.
    e. Data partitions can usually be restored wherever and whenever.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  10. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    Yes, I did, Brian. Thanks for thinking of that. Because it was a simple one-system boot, the boot.ini was very simple. but I renamed it boot.bak and ran FIXBOOT again to generate a new one. No difference.

    Jim
     
  11. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    The above is what I did. I created an image of the entire hard drive back in December with ATI V10. I verified the image with ATI booted from the rescue CD (not within Windows).

    When new drive arrived from Dell, I booted laptop with rescue CD and restored image of Disk 1 and of MBR and Trk 0 from the DVDs. It was a picture perfect disaster recovery. I felt quite smug for having a complete image from just a few months ago. But upon boot at the end of the restore, I got the "NTLDR is missing".

    I appreciate all of your ideas. I guess it's not going to work as I had planned.

    Jim
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  13. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    Brian-
    My error, I used BOOTCFG to create new boot.ini, not FIXBOOT. (I also tried to use FIXBOOT but that did not help.) I have tried so many things now that they are getting scrambled in my head.

    It is not so easy to post the boot.ini here. I can list it out on the screen of the dead laptop when in WinXP recovery console but can't copy/paste here at this other computer. The new one looked the same as the old one.

    The added complication to all of this is that the dead laptop is in Atlanta with my daughter (at school) and I am in Texas trying to walk her through the restore procedure. So my ability to try new things is limited to what I can direct her to do over the phone. She has limited access to web (borrows computer for a few hours) and is not heavy computer literate. If the restore would have worked as designed, this would all be over by now.

    Jim
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Jim,

    All clear now.

    I'm a little confused as you said....

    Dells typically have several partitions and if you don't get the order correct when you restore, there can be boot.ini issues. However, NTLDR missing isn't the typical error message.

    If your daughter could use EditBini and let us know the partition number eg

    partition(2)

    Here is my boot.ini (It's a Dell)

    If I change partition(2) to partition(1), WinXP won't boot.
     
  15. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    Hey, Brian, thanks for the help.

    I have the image of her hard drive here with me on the external USB hard drive that I create the images for all my computers on. (I burned 7 DVDs from this drive and fedex'd them and a Rescue CD to her when her hard drive crashed.)

    When I open it up I can see the boot.ini saved in the image:

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

    This is what would have come off of the backup DVDs I sent her that did not work (gave the "NTLDR is missing" error). Perhaps the disk was restored to Partition 1 and the system is looking for it in Partition 2. What might Dell have put in Partition 1? Restore image for ZZTOP?

    When we did the restore we did it in 2 tasks. First restored Disk 1 (C: drive) and second restored MBR and Track 0.

    The image says it is Disk 1, C: 37.20 GB FAT32 (LBA) when you browse it in ATI 10.

    I can browse around through the "slice" in the archive with no problem.

    Jim
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Jim,

    Looks promising. Most Dells (? all) have a diagnostic partition in front of WinXP so that makes WinXP into partition(2). If you restore the image to a HD and don't restore the diagnostic partition as well, WinXP won't boot unless you edit partition(2) into partition(1). It has to be done twice as you can see from your boot.ini.

    It's easy to do with EditBini. Let us know the result.

    How large is the image? FAT32 sounds strange.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  17. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    OK, I always test things before I have her do it.

    EditBini ver. 1.01.1 says it only works with NTFS. This image is going to restore a C: drive that was formated in FAT32. It came that way from Dell; don't ask me why.

    The following reference seems to be what I have here:
    http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=3632

    Only they were not FAT32.

    Is there a later version of EditBini?

    Jim
     
  18. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    The image is 6 volumes of about 4 GB each plus the 7th volume of about 1.2 GB.

    When I browse the image on my external HD, ATI 10 is telling me that the image is of the C: drive, ~37 GB, FAT32 (LBA).

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  19. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    Perhaps I should restore some other small bit of data and call it partition 1. Then restore the image and call it partition 2.

    Jim
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Jim,

    That may not work as the boot.ini partition order is based on the primary partition order in the MBR, not the order on the HD. So even if you put another partition in front of WinXP, WinXP may still be partition(1) in the MBR.
     
  21. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    OK, I understand. So deleting existing Partition1 and creating a small new Partition1 with a DISKPART command prior to restoring the image as Partition2 would not do it either?

    After restoring the image I used the WinXP Recovery Console MAP command to see what I had. It reported \Device\Harddisk0\Partition1

    So I used BOOTCFG /rebuild

    to create new boot.ini with \Harddisk0\Partition1 syntax

    I did not use the syntax with the disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)

    I did not specify a new DEFAULT.

    That still gave NTLDR is missing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  22. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    That would work if the MBR was empty before you started but WinXP is currently in the first slot and depending on what you do you may get unexpected results.

    So you did that test on one of your computers or on the daughters laptop? It doesn't look good for the laptop booting. I don't use BOOTCFG /rebuild anymore although it should work. I'd feel happier if you used EditBini and tried partition(1), then partition(2), then partition(3). If they don't work we are on the wrong track.
     
  23. tjcanno

    tjcanno Registered Member

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    I did the BOOTCFG /rebuild with her last week when the "NTLDR is missing" error first came up. (Everything is done over the phone at this point.) I had her pull up the Recovery Console from the WinXP Install CD.

    It sounds like Dell's Partition1 was hidden so ATI 10 did not include it in the disk image (or I did not choose to back it up -- I don't remember).

    She is limping along now on a fresh install of WinXP through the end of the term and then I will take the laptop home, reinstall the image and beat it into submission. I can't effectively fix it by remote control from here and she can't be without it right now to send it to me to fix.

    I will be back here in a few weeks, when I get her laptop, getting your help.

    Thanks for your seriously helpful direction.

    Jim
     
  24. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    OK. I understand. Please let us know what happens next.

    Could I suggest that you copy all the DVD images to an external HD and see if the image verifies. Then restore from the external HD.
     
  25. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    tjcanno,
    If you have access to the *.tib backup files, would you

    1. Right click the first backup file and click the Mount option
    2. Tickmark the option to mount in read/write mode. (See note 1 below)
    3. Cycle through the screens by clicking Next
    4. You should get a window saying "Drive Letters successfully assigned (it will be the next sequential drive letter.)
    5. Now click on MyComputer and click on the new (virtual) drive listed there.
    6. The new virtual drive should open and display a directory tree of the old C drive. Browse down the root directory of the C drive until you find the c:\boot.ini file and then dbl click on the boot.ini file name. File should open in Notepad.
    7. Advise us of the boot.ini content. Maybe this info confirmation can open other alternatives to see what new changes are needed. ​
    Note-1: Once the original boot.ini file is opened in Notepad, the file content can be edited. The changes must be saved. Once saved, a new boot.ini file will be written to a new next sequential .tib file #8 as an incremental file. Dismount the virtual drive via Right clicking the normal MyComputer icon and choose Dismount. The virtual drive will be removed. Examine the external *.tib folder and you should find the new #8 file--if you chose to create/save a modified boot.ini file. The content of the original boot.ini file in #7 tib was not changed. A completely new boot.ini file exists in the #8 incremental file. Restoring the updated backup file including the #8 incremental files would restore the revised boot.ini file.

    Note-2: When creating a full disk backup, if there are hidden or diagnostic partitions on that disk, these additional partitions will appear as "checked" on the backup disk selection" screen. Likewise, these special partitions will appear on the "disk or partition to restore" screen when a full disk restore is performed.

    Note-3: I have never restored an edited backup file but it should work. It would be the new incremental file#8 which would be the first selected tib file to begin the full restoration once it is decided what changes are necessary. The new #8 incremental file can also be deleted from the backup--should it not be needed or used.
     
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