6 Ways to Fix NTLDR Error on Windows 10 Boot Screen

6 Ways to Fix NTLDR Error on Windows 10 Boot Screen

One of the bad starts of a day is when you start your Windows 10 PC and are greeted with the missing NTLDR error. This leaves you perplexed with questions. What is the error “NTLDR is missing”? Why Windows 10 asks to press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart your computer?

In this article we will tell you more about the error, why it occurs and how to fix it in this guide. Once you’ve gone through the pain of troubleshooting, you should see your familiar wallpaper on the computer screen instead of a strange black screen.

Let’s start.

What is NTLDR is a missing error

NTLDR stands for NT Loader, which is also the boot loader, usually located on the main hard drive / SSD. It is responsible for booting all Windows NT OSs, including Windows 10. Hence the name and abbreviation.

It consists of three main files:

  1. NTLDR, the main boot loader file.
  2. COM (also sometimes called NTDETECT.COM) which detects the hardware required to start an NT based operating system like Windows 10.
  3. boot.ini containing the system configuration details.

“NTLDR is missing” is not the only error that you may encounter when solving this problem. Here are three common errors that users see:

  1. NTLDR is missing Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart.
  2. NTLDR is missing Press any key to restart.
  3. Startup: cannot find NTLDR Please insert another disc.

The “NTLDR is missing” error appears when, during the boot process, the system is unable to read / write data to one of these three important files which are crucial for booting the Windows operating system. The reasons may vary from a configuration error, a corrupted hard drive / SSD, etc. The following solutions must work under all three conditions.

1. Restart the computer

Try restarting your computer once to check if it works. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del keys to restart, and if that doesn’t work, press and hold the power button until the system shuts down. Press again to start.

2. Unplug all accessories

Remove all accessories and external devices that you do not need to start your computer, except the keyboard and mouse. If you are using a laptop, also remove the mouse and keyboard. Certain accessories can hinder the start-up process. You can always connect them later. External hard drives, USB drives and CDs, especially because the system may try to load from an external drive where the startup files are not located. Restart again. Deleting external drives will force it to look at the main drive where it should find NTLDR and start up properly.

3. BIOS boot order

If you cannot delete external drives or their removal does not work, you can change the boot order from BIOS / UEFI. Here’s a good video on how to do this.

Use the arrow keys to access System Configuration> Boot Options (keyboard instructions at the bottom of the BIOS / UEFI screen). Make sure that the primary drive containing the NT Loader files, where you installed your Windows operating system, is at the top of the priority list. Your computer should boot from the primary drive now, not the secondary.

Restart your computer and check again whether you get the missing NTLDR error or not.

4. Windows Startup Repair

We recommend that you perform a startup repair using a flash drive or a startup disk. Download the official Windows 10 ISO and convert a flash drive to a bootable drive using the Windows USB / DVD download tool. Of course, you will need another computer for this. Follow point 3 above to change the start order again. However, choose the flash drive as your first priority this time.

Restart your computer and press the F8 key several times before you see the Windows logo. You should see the boot menu where you select the Repair your computer option under Advanced boot options and press the Enter key. If you see the Windows logo or the “NTLDR is missing” error instead, stop and try again. It may take a few tries, but you will eventually get it.

Correction of an NTLDR error on the Windows 10 start screen 1

You will be asked to select your language and input method, and you may need to enter your user name and password afterwards. Select Startup Repair under Troubleshooting> Advanced Options. Then follow the on-screen instructions.

Click Finish and restart your computer to check if you are still getting the missing NTLDR error.

5. Use Recovery Drive

Have you already created a recovery drive? If the answer is yes, you can use it to restore or reinstall Windows 10 on your computer. Note that reinstalling Windows 10 will cancel everything it was when you bought your computer or installed the Windows 10 operating system on it. This means that you will lose all of the custom data, apps and settings there.

Fixed an NTLDR error on the Windows 10 splash screen 2

This is why you should first try a system restore. What it will do is go back in time when your computer was up and restore everything as it was then. Your personal files are not affected, but it will delete all recently installed applications. You will see these two options when you enter the Windows recovery environment.

Fixed NTLDR error on Windows 10 splash screen 4

If you see Keep my files during the reinstallation process, select it to save your files and other important data. You will always lose apps and other settings. Your Microsoft account settings will sync again if you use one.

6. Use the installation media

As mentioned in Solution 3 above, you can make a new copy of the Windows 10 bootable USB as a hot spare. You can also use it to restore or reinstall Windows 10 if you forgot to create a recovery drive.

Download the media creation tool and double-click it to run it. Select Create installation media for another PC when prompted to create one and follow the on-screen instructions. At this point, I assume you are using another computer to create the Windows 10 installation USB drive.

Fixed NTLDR error on Windows 10 splash screen 3

Now insert the bootable Windows 10 flash drive on the computer that launches the error “ NTLDR is missing ” and boot from it. If it is not already done, modify the starting order as indicated in point 3 above. Then follow the on-screen instructions and select Repair your computer> Troubleshoot. Here you can also restore your computer to an earlier time or reinstall Windows from scratch using the installation media.

Repair, restore, reinstall

These are your options when simple troubleshooting steps like removing accessories and checking wires and cables, or boot order don’t work. You can choose any function depending on whether you have backed up your data and the application settings. All three options are available in the Windows recovery environment. You just need to understand how to get there, it will depend on your unique situation.


Here is a list of 7 cool screen recording apps for Windows 10 that you should try. Why? So you can record what’s going on on your screen, errors or bugs, and what you’ve already tried with your friend or support staff.

Last updated March 10, 2020

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