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Have you ever run into the “NTLDR is missing; press any key to restart” error when you’re booting up your computer? I hadn’t either until the other day and I wondered what it meant, so I found out and I thought I would tell you all about it too. First of all, NTLDR is short for NT Loader. It’s basically the boot loader for Windows NT, along with the later versions of 2000, XP and Server 2003.

The loader can be used from either a CD ROM, a USB flash drive or a primary hard disk. In order for it to run correctly, two specific files have to be set up on the system. One is NTLDR, which functions the main boot loader and the other other is boot.ini, which includes configuration options for a boot menu. If you’re using Windows NT, the file of ntdetect.com must also be present.

NTLDR also goes by several other names, such as SETUPLDR.BIN, I386/SETUPLDR.BIN and OSLOADER.EXE. So, if you’re not able to find the actual NTLDR on your system, you may want to look for those other names. Also, just for your information, the NTLDR will not be able to function with Windows Vista, because the new operating system will divide its compatibility with the winload.exe and Windows Boot Manager components.

~ Erin