NTLDR is missing Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart

The only persons I know who love computer errors are computer technicians, simply because in most cases these errors mean work for them and money for their wallets.  For everyone else computer errors are nothing more than just “royal pains” in the “you-know-what“.

One of the many errors that may show up on a Windows-based computer is the NTLDR error message.  This particular error tend to come in a few different “flavors” and is displayed soon after the computer is started and the Power On Self Test (POST) is completed.

Here are the different “flavors” of the error with the first one being the most common:

But what is NTLDR, why is it missing, who took it, was it kidnapped and how on earth do you fix the problem?

NTLDR (short for NT LoaDeR) is a small program which is loaded from the boot sector of your hard drive.  This particular program is responsible for providing you with a boot menu (if you have multiple operating systems installed) as well as getting the operating system to start loading.  If the computer is unable to locate the NTLDR program it simply won’t be able to boot up the computer.  So how did it go missing?

Possible reasons for the NTLDR error:
  1. Your computer is trying to boot from a device (hard drive, flash drive, CD/DVD media or other removable device) that is not properly configured to be booted from.  In other words, the computer is trying to boot from a non-bootable source.
  2. You may have a faulty or damaged hard drive.
  3. Corrupted or misconfigured files due to viruses (among other things).
  4. Damaged or loose cables or connectors connecting the hard drive to the computer’s motherboard.

Please note that the error can be caused by any one of the reasons listed above, but your computer may have a combination of them which means fixing just one of the problems with your computer may not get rid of the NTLDR error.

How to fix the NTLDR error:
  1. Try restarting the computer again. It could have been a tiny glitch.
  2. Ensure that there aren’t any discs in the optical drive, flash drives plugged in or external drives attached to the computer before starting it up.
  3. Ensure that the cable connecting the hard drive to the motherboard is properly connected.  If it is and the drive is still not showing up, try another cable.  If the hard drive still does not show up you will most likely have to replace the drive.
  4. Check your computer’s BIOS setup and ensure that the main hard drive shows up or is registered and is set as the drive to boot from.  If the hard drive does not show up in the BIOS setup you may be looking at a faulty drive or a faulty cable (see option 3 above).
  5. Try repairing the Operating System (OS) from the installation disc/drive.  If that does not work you can always just re-install the entire OS (this should be a last resort).
  6. If the methods listed above are too complex for you to handle then maybe you should give your technician a call, but know that he/she will be checking for the same things listed above.

Have you had this error, were you able to fix it on your own, have you found this post useful?  Hit me up in the comment section.