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Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \system32\ntoskrnl.exe

If you receive the below error on Windows XP then your boot partition has likely become corrupted for some reason. I would suggest that immediately following repairing the boot partition that you backup all of your important files or all of your files if possible because a lot of the time if the boot partition goes bad it is a warning sign that the entire drive is going to go bad very soon if it hasn’t already.

Error:
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \system32\ntoskrnl.exe.
Please re-install a copy of the above file.

To resolve follow the below directions.

  1. Insert Windows XP CD: First locate your Windows XP CD and insert it into the CD drive.
  2. Recovery Console: Now boot your computer to the CD drive and type “R” to enter the recovery console.
  3. Use fixboot: Type “fixboot c:” from the command line. This will take a couple moments while the boot partition is being rewritten. Please make sure that C: is your main partition though in most cases C: will be the main partition by default.
  4. Reboot Windows XP:After fixboot has finished running the issue with ntoskrnl.exe should be resolved so you should be able to reboot the computer without the Windows XP CD in the CD drive.

If this does not resolve your issue I recommend taking your computer to an computer repair shop so they can recover your data. If you continue to attempt to resolve the issue yourself you could further damage the computer or worse the data on the hard drive.

If you are comfortable with technology and want to attempt to repair the drive or recover the data yourself then I would suggest UBCD4WIN. This set of applications will allow you to recover your data. I think the easiest way to use these tools on a USB thumb driveand follow the directions on UBCD4Win to make the USB drive bootable, etc.


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