Saturday, August 28, 2010

Confusing Error Messages – Ntoskrnl.exe missing

It can be confusing when an error message does not clearly describe a problem. We’ve seen this with all types of software, not just Microsoft or Apple products. Here’s an example we came across recently:

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Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

Winnt_root\System32\Ntoskrnl.exe

Please reinstall a copy of the above file.
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This is usually the result of a missing or corrupt boot.ini file. The Ntoskrnl.exe file is most likely on the disk, however the system can’t see it because it can’t find the hard disk during the boot up process.

The fix is to boot the PC into the Recovery Console and do the following:

  • Type bootcfg/rebuild (enter)
  • When asked “Add installation to boot list? (yes/no/all), type y
  • When asked to “Enter Load Identifier:”, enter the name of the OS, such as Windows XP Professional
  • When asked to “Enter OS Load options:”, press enter and restart the computer.

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