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Corrupt or Missing: system 32\drivers\ntfs.sys


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#1
animalfriend

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I have an older Dell Inspiron 2650 that's been a workhorse, running the original XP Home Edition. I attempted to download/instal SP2 yesterday (because it was required for an application I needed). In doing so, I received a message stating that the computer was low on memory and it subsequently ran an application to free up some space. I allowed it to do so because I assumed I needed the space for the updates.

After several hours, it appeared to be "stalled" in that the progress bar was no longer advancing (I let it sit for about 3 hours with no change).

So I mistakenly chose to cancel the download/install. I thought I could simply start over. Boy was I ever wrong.

I first received a message stating the computer was restoring the previous settings because the installation was not complete. The screen then went black with the following message:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: System32\Drivers\Ntfs.sys

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM. Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair.


I'm unable to locate my original CD. I'm not sure if I even have it, as I bought the computer used. I tried using the XP CDs that came with my HP computer, but they wouldn’t work. I noticed there are Dell XP Home CDs for sale on ebay and I’m wondering if that might be a solution – or if I were to purchase an OEM copy of XP Home. (???)

I don’t want to lose the data I have on the computer. It’s my understanding that as long as I select ‘r’ for repair, my files will be intact. Is this correct?

If all else fails, is it possible to recover the hard drive and either read it with another laptop or use a “Laptop to IDE Hard Drive Adapter Cable” like the one shown here: http://www.cablestog..._...6&sku=45169

If anyone can offer any advice, I’d be grateful. There’s a lot of important data on this computer that I don’t want to lose.

Thank you so very much!
Cindy
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#2
Mark D

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Howszit and welcome to Gto G

I would try to find one someone with a WindowsXP Home cd and boot from that. Attempt to repair the operating system by pressing R once Windows loads. You will be asked what drive to log onto, (normally #1). Admin password should just be a enter key, (cross thumbs). If it comes to a c:\> prompt, type chkdsk /r and then the enter key...

Good luck

PS: Never a good idea to stop an upgrade. Thank the stars you're not running vista. This should fix everything. Unless you're good with tools, taking out a hard drive isn't that easy... :) :)

Edited by Mark D, 30 May 2010 - 10:44 AM.

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#3
animalfriend

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Thanks for the quick reply! That's what I'll try.

I've learned my lesson and will never again cancel during an update. But out of curiousity, how long would you allow it to run before giving up hope? (It was running a total of about 4 hours and for the last 3, there was no apparent progress.)

Thanks again,
Cindy
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#4
Mark D

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Howszit again,

This is an extraction from KB822800, which may help you recover as well:

To resolve this problem, replace the missing or corrupted Ntfs.sys file:
Use the Windows XP startup disks or the Windows XP CD to restart your computer.
When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to select the To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R option.
Type the number of the Windows installation that you want to access from the Recovery Console, and then press ENTER.
Type the administrator password when you are prompted, and then press ENTER. If no administrator password exists, just press ENTER.
At the command prompt, type the following commands (press ENTER after each command):
cd \windows\system32\drivers

ren ntfs.sys ntfs.old
Note This step renames the corrupted Ntfs.sys file to Ntfs.old. If the Ntfs.sys file is not found, the file is missing.
At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
copy cd:\i386\ntfs.sys drive:\windows\system32\drivers
Where cd is the drive letter for the CD-ROM drive that contains the Windows XP CD, and drive is the drive where you installed Windows XP.
Remove the Windows XP CD from your CD-ROM drive, type quit at a command prompt, and then press ENTER to quit the Recovery Console.
Restart the computer.

To resolve this problem, replace the missing or corrupted Ntfs.sys file:
Use the Windows XP startup disks or the Windows XP CD to restart your computer.
When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to select the To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R option.
Type the number of the Windows installation that you want to access from the Recovery Console, and then press ENTER.
Type the administrator password when you are prompted, and then press ENTER. If no administrator password exists, just press ENTER.
At the command prompt, type the following commands (press ENTER after each command):
cd \windows\system32\drivers

ren ntfs.sys ntfs.old
Note This step renames the corrupted Ntfs.sys file to Ntfs.old. If the Ntfs.sys file is not found, the file is missing.
At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
copy cd:\i386\ntfs.sys drive:\windows\system32\drivers
Where cd is the drive letter for the CD-ROM drive that contains the Windows XP CD, and drive is the drive where you installed Windows XP.
Remove the Windows XP CD from your CD-ROM drive, type quit at a command prompt, and then press ENTER to quit the Recovery Console.
Restart the computer.


Again, this was in response to a hard drive conversion gone bad, but may also get you up and running. You could also try the Repair XP steps as detailed here Repair XP, which is pinned to the top of this forum. The key is that you will have to get an XP CD to boot from. If you run the repair operation from a XP service pack 2 CD, it would also update your system to that service pack... :)

Hope this helps...
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