Doing the same thing over and over -- but expecting different results

  • I had a problem where my computer wouldn't boot.  In the process of solving the problem I encountered an error message that seems to be a bit of a WTF.  Windows 7 looks for a file called  <font face="courier new,courier">ntldr</font>  when booting (based on the name I assume that file is used by all NT based versions of Windows).  If  <font face="courier new,courier">ntldr</font>  can't be found, Windows won't boot and displays the message:

      ntldr is missing

      Press Ctrl Alt Del to restart

    It's the second line of that error message I don't understand.  If you press Ctrl Alt Del as instructed, the only thing that happens is Windows tries to boot again, and fails again, because . . . . <font face="courier new,courier">ntldr</font>  is missing.  And because  <font face="courier new,courier">ntldr </font>is missing,  Windows displays the same message, telling you to do exactly what you just did, which doesn't work and can't work because  <font face="courier new,courier">ntldr </font>is missing.

    What message should be displayed?  I really don't know since there's no way to magically teleport the missing  <font face="courier new,courier">ntldr</font>  onto your hard drive.  However, telling me to reboot makes no sense when the problem I'm having is the inability to boot.  

  • Madness.


  • @El_Heffe said:

    Press Ctrl Alt Del to restart

    It's the second line of that error message I don't understand. 


    It doesn't read "Press Ctrl Alt Del to fix ntldr". It's expecting you to have some ERD or maybe a recovery CD/DVD that you can now insert and press those three keys to restart your computer, in the hope that it will boot off that media and drop you into a recovery shell - from which you can repair the broken  NTLDR.

    This is no difference to the "Keyboard not detected - press f1 to continue" message that people got. Once they plugged in their keyboard, pressing F1 would allow the BIOS to continue to boot normally.


  • I get that error some times when I reboot. If I turn off the computer for 5 minutes, it boots up again fine.

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