Won't boot, NTLDR not found

May 17, 2010 at 15:05:15
Specs: Windows XP
I need advice on how to get my operating system going again. I have a Compaq SR1850NX desktop running Win MCE2005. It's an Athlon 64. Through a chain of events, I now only get a screen that says "NTLDR not found", and prompts me to reboot, which brings me to the same screen. I can get into the BIOS/CMOS, but no safe mode or anything else.

Here's the chain of events: The PC started making a sound like it's fan running full blast, and stayed on. After a few minutes of it seemingly running OK otherwise, it reboots on it's own, and after a couple of reboots, would reboot before the desktop appeared.

Me and a friend took the cover off and found the retainer clip that holds the fan against the CPU gave way. We ordered a new retainer clip, and in the meantime I ordered 2 GB of memory, as the PC had only 1 GB. When both items came, my friend did the installing as he works on PC's off and on as a hobby and to supplement his other income.

Both items went in, we fired up the PC, and it ran fine - for about an hour. The system showed that 3 GB memory were now installed, and the retainer clip seemed to do the trick, no loud fan in that hour. I left the house for about an hour with the PC still running. When I returned, there was a screen that said Windows was starting up, like when you reboot, but it just hung there. I powered off at the switch, and rebooted. I let it go into check disk, and after a while it says it's doing this or another - it found some problems - but would only get so far on the second phase of check disk and again just hang. If I tried canceling check disk, whether trying to go to normal, safe, or last good config. mode, it would always bring me back to check disk, but always stalling at a different area of phase 2, and with different messages, renaming files, orphaned files, whatever.

I then tried my recovery DVD, again, it would go so far, then reboot with the recovery trying to start from scratch. I chose the repair option, then the complete reinstall option, then started getting the BSoD and would state "IRQL not less or equal " and a stop code of 0x0000000A (with others in parenthesis). After a couple of attempts with the recovery DVD, I then just started getting the black screen with "NTLDR not found".

My BIOS shows the 3 GB of memory installed, (PC3200-DDR-400MHZ-LOW-DENSITY non-ecc, unbuffered, non registered that I believe this PC is supposed to take).

Any help much appreciated, thanks much.


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#1
May 17, 2010 at 18:10:13
Sounds like a hard drive going bad. But open it up and check that the drive data cable is in good condition and tightly connected on both ends.

If it's not something as simple as a bad connection, go to the drive manufacturer's site and download any diagnostic software they may have.

You're not really green until you're soylent green.


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#2
May 17, 2010 at 18:56:04

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#3
May 18, 2010 at 21:51:20
Thanks much DAVEINCAPS and jam. We found out it's the memory we installed that caused the later problems. I found out I prolly need dual-channel, and prolly received single-channel? Whatever, when the new 2 GB memory was removed, the PC ran and is running fine now. The retainer seemed to fix the loud fan/rebooting problem.

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#4
May 18, 2010 at 22:15:12
Thanks for posting back. I didn't know ram problems could cause the 'missing ntldr' message.

You're not really green until you're soylent green.


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