A boot loader is a special program in a computer system that is used to load the operating system when the computer is switched on. In the Windows system, the NTLDR (NT Loader) is the boot loader that is usually executed from the primary hard disk drive. A Windows system requires minimum 2 files to boot a system, NTLDR and boot.ini.
But strictly speaking, only NTLDR is needed to boot the system as the absence of boot.ini can be sometimes covered by alternate methods. However, sometimes the NTLDR file gets corrupt or missing because of several reasons such as virus infections, human errors, power outages, corrupt boot sector, etc. In such cases, you should look to use appropriate corrective measures to resolve the issue. However, if you are unable to do so then you should consider using a third-party Windows hard drive recovery software to recover hard drive.
Consider a scenario wherein you switch on your NTFS-based Windows XP system but it fails to boot. An error message is displayed, that is:
“NTLDR is missing
Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart.”
Boot: Couldn't find NTLDR
Please insert another disk
NTLDR is missing
Press Ctrl Alt Del to Restart
The root cause for the aforementioned error messages is that the NTLDR file is either corrupt or missing.
To address the issue, you need to perform the following steps:
1.Insert the Windows XP boot CD into the computer system.
2.Press any key, when prompted.
3.On the Windows XP setup menu, press the "R" key to repair Windows.
4.Press the “1” key and “Enter” to start the Windows installation.
5.Enter the administrator password, when prompted.
6.Copy the following files to the root directory of the primary hard disk as shown in the following command:
copy e:\i386\ntldr c:\
copy e:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\
7.Remove the CD from the computer and reboot. This should resolve the issue.
However, if you still are not able to perform hard drive recovery then you should use a third-party hard drive recovery software to address the issue. Such read-only tools are able to recover the lost data from corrupted hard drives using fast yet sophisticated scanning algorithms.