ntoskrnl.exe missing - can't boot up at all

  [DELETED] 22:25 28 Nov 2003

Medion, xp (in German!) Having problems with a fairly drastic boot-up problem: the two first screens full of figures flash by then I get the message “ missing or corrupted windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe file” . This screen is as far as it will go. Is there any way of halting this and making the computer load up in some more manageable way? I have the xp recovery disk. Pressing f8 to load up in safe mode is not possible, as I never get far enough for the recovery options to work. It is possible that the machine is infected as it is not very well-maintained anti-virus wise. I had just downloaded an updated Medion driver for a digital camera from the official web site, and played an MP3 file – apparently clean, according to Panda antivirus. Is there a home solution, or do I have to take it to an expert?

  Giggle n' Bits 23:07 28 Nov 2003

I may have spelt that a tad wrong ?

It could be caused by a few things, searching at click here came up with a lot of Win2000 O's with the problem.

I would use the factory restore as it can vamp your HDD from the boot sequence all together if it goes wrong using a command promt edit.

It can also be faulty memory causing it say's Overclockers.

Factory restore safe. Is it under warranty ?.

  [DELETED] 23:08 28 Nov 2003

Is your XP Recovery Disk, a full XP installation CD, or just a CD which restores everything back to the state when it was sold to you?

Also, do you have access to another computer using XP?

  [DELETED] 07:50 29 Nov 2003

Thanks for the advice. The computer actually belongs to a friend I was "helping out". I think it might still be ubder warranty.
Flite: can I do a factory restore, or is it a shop job>
Temp003: I think it is a CD which takes it back to as sold state. My laptop running xp is available: what do you have in mind?
The worrying thing is the difficulty of getting at the bios settings. Esc, f1, f8 ( and even the "any" key ) are ignored, as far as I can work out.
They had been having problems downloading pix from their Medion digital camera: not detected. Eventually I diconnected the printer usb and plugged the camera one in its place: hey presto! it worked. But I went from hero to zero when the above problem occured. So, if possible I would like to fix the prob without it costing them money.

  [DELETED] 11:30 29 Nov 2003

I asked whether the CD is a Recovery CD or installation CD because if the latter, you could try a repair installation, i.e. installing over the existing copy of XP, which would keep all data and programs. This is not possible with a Recovery CD, with which you would lose all installed pograms and all data.

A lot of these startup error messages saying a certain system file is missing or corrupt are caused not because the file is missing or corrupt. Quite often (but not always) it's there but the boot process somehow can't find it. Sometimes it's because the boot path for Windows in a file called c:\boot.ini has somehow got wrong.

Try the following (not guaranteed to work, but worth a try). This will be another of my long and not necessarily useful post, but the suggestions are long but actually simple.

On your own XP laptop, insert a floppy. Right click Drive A and select Format. On the next window, click Start (and do NOT tick any of the option boxes). You must do the formatting on an XP computer, and even if you are using a brand new floppy.

After formatting, go to your C drive. See if you can see 3 files, ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini.

If not, click Tools, Folder Options, View tab. (1) Tick Show hidden files and folders (2) Untick Hide file extensions for known file types (3) Untick Hide protected operating system files (4) Click OK.

When you see the 3 files, copy them to the floppy. Then remove floppy and label it XP boot floppy (1).

Now insert another floppy. Format as before. Now go to C drive again. This time only copy ntldr and ntdetect.com to the 2nd floppy. Then double click c:\boot.ini, which will open in Notepad.

Make the following changes. In the line that says "default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS", change it to read:


Then under the section [operating system], change it to read:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home" /fastdetect

Now be careful. You want to save the file to the floppy. You do NOT want to save it on your own computer.

So after making the changes, click File, SAVE AS, and then in the box that comes up, point to your A drive, and save it as A:\boot.ini

Now floppy 2 has the 3 files as well, but a different boot.ini. Remove floppy and label it "XP boot floppy 2". The second floppy is prepared just in case for some strange reason, the partition number for your friend's XP partition has changed.

Now if you have an installation XP CD for your own computer, take the CD together with the 2 floppies to your friend's computer.

Insert XP boot floppy (1) into your friend's computer. Start computer (try to get into BIOS to make sure that the boot sequence is floppy drive, CDROM drive, then hard disk - try computer manufacturer website or manual to find which button to press to get into BIOS). If you can't get into BIOS, a lot of computers have this sequence anyway and just hope your friend's is the same.

If all the startup files are there and in the right place on your friend's computer, boot floppy (1) should boot into XP. If not, see if the same or other error message appears.

If the first floppy fails, remove it, and insert floppy (2) and restart. See if it can boot into XP.

If either floppy succeeds, do not switch off computer until your friend has backed up any important files.

Then go through the same steps to enable show all files on your friend's computer, and copy the boot.ini file from the successful floppy to the C: drive (replacing the existing c:\boot.ini).

If none of them works, you will have to use the XP CD (has to be a normal installation CD). You cannot install XP from your CD (there will be an activation issue). You can only use the XP Recovery Console.

Restart computer with XP CD.

click here: for instructions for getting to Console.

At the C:\WINDOWS> prompt, type map and press Enter.

You should see the drive letters and partitions. Note down the drive letter for the CDROM.

Then at the prompt, type:

bootcfg /rebuild

and press Enter. Computer will be scanned for XP installations.

When asked whether to add an installation, say yes.

When asked to enter Load identifier, type

Microsoft XP Home

and press Enter. When asked for load option, type


and press Enter. That rebuilds the boot.ini file.

Then at the prompt, type

expand x:\i386\ntoskrnl.ex_ c:\windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe

and press Enter (where x is the CDROM drive letter).

Then type exit and press Enter. Computer will restart. Let computer try to boot from hard disk to see if it works.

If after all that, it still doesn't, see if someone else can help, or the last resort is do a factory settings restore.

Good luck, and I hope I haven't wasted your time.

  Giggle n' Bits 12:23 29 Nov 2003

it will be a restore by using the Medion labled CD all you do is read the intruction that came with your friends PC, but its very straight forward as long as you read and do what you see on screen.

DO NOT PROCEDD if your friend is missing the rest of the Medion CD Set.

  [DELETED] 05:34 30 Nov 2003

To add to what Flite says, if you don't feel comfortable with trying out my suggestions, don't do it, especially when it's a friend's computer not your own.

I would also add this. The 2 XP boot floppies boot method does not attempt to write anything to the hard disk. This boot method simply uses the boot files on the floppy to initialise the XP boot process, which bypasses the hard disk boot files. It will only work if the only problem is with the boot files (such as boot.ini) and the system files for XP are otherwise in the right place and intact. If the ntoskrnl file is really missing, this method will not work. But it will not cause any damage. That is why it was my first suggestion.

The Recovery Console does change things on the hard disk.

The bootcfg command will redetect the XP installation and where it is, and rewrite the boot.ini file. To that extent, it does change that file.

The expand command is to decompress the file ntoskrnl from the CD, and copy it to the hard disk in the right place. This is done in case the file is really missing. Again to that extent, it changes what's on the hard disk.

So if you don't want to write anything to your friend's hard disk, don't use Recovery Console.

If a factory settings restore turns out to be the only solution, you can consider (either yourself or a professional) taking the hard disk out and putting it in another computer as a slave, back up any data from the hard disk first, before doing a restore. If your friend's hard disk is NTFS formatted, the other computer has to be on an OS which can read NTFS and is on an NTFS partition.

If it makes you feel better, I don't think you've done anything which caused the boot up error. USB devices are supposed to work like this, plugging and unplugging while Windows is at work, and switching devices on the same USB port.

  [DELETED] 09:23 30 Nov 2003

Thanks both. I'll try it this afternoon, and report back if still in one piece!

  [DELETED] 16:07 30 Nov 2003

Right then..! The second disk was more successful, in that 2 things happened:
1 the error message was in English
2 now the problem is with a missing hall.dll file
the screen stays blank.
The XP Recovery disk is not acted upon by the computer, even though it seems to be being chewed over by the drive, so that rules out all of the official stuff from the handbook. Unless there is a piece of abracadaberry you can suggest, I think I fade gracefully into the background at this point and let a shop take over. I wonder if it was a virus?
Thanks for all the time you've devoted to this, both. I'll report back in the fullness of time.

  [DELETED] 22:33 30 Nov 2003

I was just poking about in XP on my puter,and found the ntoskMl file in Device manager clicking the + by Computer.This file was also mentioned in a page I was looking at(lost www fav)and said this file was to do with BIOS(I think),and pressing F7 during install of XP allowed the selection of several other options.I need to relocate the page as the above was as I seem to remember,but as I also got the HAL.dll/cfg.sys,etc missing/corrupted messages after effecting a Repair of XP,I ultimately ended up formatting each hdd and starting afresh(hence the missing www's)as I couldn't get XP to boot at all.

Just had a search for ntoskml and it says its to do with boot screens click here

funlove virus click here

funlove again click here

and searching for ntoskrnl gives click here

I'm off to peruse the google links,see if I can find out if its boot screen or BIOS + F7 during install. :-)

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