Windows Server 2003 Does Not Start on a Computer That Is Configured for Dual Booting


When you try to start Windows Server 2003 in a dual-boot configuration with Microsoft Windows XP, you may receive the following error message:
Windows Server 2003 could not start because the following files were missing or corrupted:

Windows\System32\Config\System Ntldr MISSING

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows setup from original floppies or boot from CD-ROM.

Select 'r' at first screen to repair


This problem occurs if either of the following conditions are true:
  • You are dual booting Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and you installed Windows XP after you installed Windows Server 2003.

  • You are dual booting Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 after you reinstalled Windows XP.
Windows XP does not detect the additional startup features of Windows Server 2003. As a result, it replaces the shared Windows boot files (Ntldr and


To resolve this problem, replace the Windows Server 2003 Ntldr and files:
  1. Start to the Recovery Console, type fixboot
    at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

    If the Recovery Console does not appear, use one of the following methods to start the computer so that you can gain access to the file system of the boot partition:
    • Specify another operating system on the Boot menu.
    • Start from the Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM, and then at the Windows Setup screen, press R to use the Recovery Console to repair the Windows installation.
    • Use a Windows NT 4.0 boot disk that also contains the Windows Server 2003 boot files.
    • If your boot partition is a basic disk that is formatted with the FAT file system, use an MS-DOS boot disk.
  2. Copy the Ntldr file and the file from the I386 folder on the Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM to the root folder of your boot drive (this is typically drive C).

    If you are using MS-DOS to perform this file replacement, you may have to use the attrib command to remove the System attribute, the Read-only attribute, and the Hidden attribute from the files. To do so, type the following command lines at the MS-DOS command prompt, and then press ENTER after each line:
    • attrib -r -s -h
    • attrib ntldr -r -s -h


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