"NTLDR Is Missing" Error Message When You Upgrade or Install Windows 2000 Over Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Millennium Edition

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Article ID: 255220 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q255220
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 314057.
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SYMPTOMS

When you attempt to install Windows 2000, or to upgrade a Microsoft Windows 95-based, Microsoft Windows 98-based, or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me)-based computer to Windows 2000, you may receive the following error message after the first reboot:
NTLDR is missing
Press any key to restart
This behavior occurs only if Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me is installed on a large-capacity drive that uses the FAT32 file system.

CAUSE

This behavior occurs because the Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me installation was improperly cloned on a different-geometry drive and the following conditions also exist:
  • The system/boot partition is formatted with the FAT32 file system.
  • The computer boots using INT-13 extensions (a partition larger than 7.8 gigabytes with a System-ID type of 0C in the partition table).
  • The Heads (sides) value in the FAT32 BIOS Parameter Block (BPB) is inaccurate. This must match the geometry of the physical drive.
The Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me boot code ignores the head value in the BPB and boots even when it is invalid. The Windows 2000 boot code uses this value and causes the boot process not to succeed if it is inaccurate.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this behavior, correct the invalid Heads (sides) value in the FAT32 BPB to enable the Windows 2000 boot process to continue. The easiest way to update the field is to rewrite the Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me boot code by using the following procedure:
  1. Restart the computer with a Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me Startup disk that contains the Sys.com file (this file is included by default).
  2. At a command prompt, type sys c:. This command rewrites the Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me boot code with accurate BPB information. If this is successful, skip to step 3.

    If you are using a Windows Me startup disk and receive an error, indicating that the command "Cannot find the system file in the standard locations on drive C:", this indicates that one or more files in the Windows Me installation have been removed. Use the following steps to place the correct files on the drive so that the sys command can access them:
    1. Change to the c:\Windows prompt using the following commands:
      c:
      cd\windows
      NOTE: If Windows is installed to a different directory, you will need to adjust the above commands accordingly.
    2. Try to change to the Command directory by using the following command:
      cd command
      If you receive an error indicating that the path is not found, use the following command to create the folder and then repeat the command above:
      md command
    3. Change to the EBD folder using the following command:
      cd ebd
      If you receive an error indicating that the path is not found, use the following command to create the folder and then repeat the command above:
      md ebd
    4. In the EBD folder, use the following commands to copy the io.sys file from the root of the hard drive and rename it to winboot.sys, which is the file sys.com needs to transfer the system:
      attrib -s -h -r c:\io.sys
      copy c:\io.sys winboot.sys
    5. Then change back to the A drive and sys the drive using the following commands:
      a:
      sys c:
  3. Restart the computer to Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, and then attempt the Windows 2000 installation or upgrade procedure again.

    NOTE: Alternately, after you run the sys c: command you can boot to the Recovery Console, and then use the fixboot command to rewrite the Windows 2000 boot code. This procedure enables the original installation to proceed typically.

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

Properties

Article ID: 255220 - Last Review: November 1, 2006 - Revision: 3.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
Keywords: 
kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbenv kberrmsg kbprb kbsetup KB255220

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