Windows XP does not start on a computer that is configured for dual booting

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q315233
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see 249000.
When you try to start Microsoft Windows XP in a dual-boot configuration, you may receive the following error message:
Windows XP could not start because the following files were missing or corrupted:
You can try to repair this file by starting the Windows Setup program from original floppies or boot from CD-ROM.
Select 'r' at first screen to repair
This behavior may occur if the following conditions are true:
  • You are performing a dual-boot procedure with Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP and you installed Windows NT 4.0 after you installed Windows XP.
  • You reinstalled Windows NT 4.0.
Note Windows NT 4.0 does not detect the additional startup features of Windows XP, and it replaces the shared Windows boot files (Ntldr and
To resolve this behavior, replace the Windows XP Ntldr and files. Follow these steps:
  1. Start the Recovery Console, type fixboot at the prompt, and then press ENTER.
  2. If the Recovery Console does not appear, follow these steps:
    1. Use one of the following methods to start the computer so that you can access the file system of the boot partition:
      • Specify another operating system on the Boot menu.
      • Start from the Windows XP 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 XP 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 and files from the I386 folder on the Windows XP CD-ROM to the root folder of your boot drive. The boot drive is typically drive C.
If you are using MS-DOS to perform this file replacement, you may have to remove the System attribute, the Read-only attribute, and the Hidden attribute from the files by using the attrib command. To do this, type the following 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.
Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 5 (SP5) or later is required to perform a successful dual-boot operation with Windows XP.

For additional information about how to dual boot your computer with Windows XP, see the following Microsoft article:
306559 How to create a multiple-boot system with Windows XP
For additional information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
119467 Creating a boot disk for an NTFS or FAT partition
245808 Prompt for choosing hardware profiles even if only one exists
283433 Cannot start Windows XP after you install Windows 2000
boot.ini boot loader startup

Article ID: 315233 - Last Review: 12/07/2015 08:29:12 - Revision: 2.4

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

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