ntfs.sys corrupt – Don’t believe Microsoft!

I had one big scare this morning after booting up my HP laptop. I just had to check something before breakfast, then did my morning routine of taking a shower (yes, I do this once in a while!), easting my breakfast, sending the wife to work and beating the kid (for all you people from child services – I am kidding!) and went back into my office, only to find the screen displaying the terrifying message

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt

You can attempt to repair this file by starting windows setup using the original setup CD-Rom.
Select “r” at the first screen to start repair.

I know you Mac user are now just giggling but I had such a scary message on a mac as well a while ago. There it was something that I only got the text prompt to log in and no graphical user interface. I like the Mac and am actually thinking of switching to it, but this specific point is not one to snicker about.

Obviously the first thought is “When did I back-up last?” and I was not too bad in this department. I would have lost some bit but not too critical.

OK, so it was finding a disk with XP Pro. Could not find the one with XP SP2 but I thought it would do. Pop it in and restart but after a while, instead of getting to the screen where I may type that ‘r’ I get a message

ntfs.sys corrupt – can not continue

or something to this effect. How could this be?? I am booting from a CD but to make sure I find another CD and try this one, with the same effect.


Thoughts of evil-doing hackers enter my mind. I had this computer temporarily put in the DMZ of my router because this was the only way I could get bit torrent to work at a decent speed, but it still did not make too much sense because – I am booting from a CD!!

Maybe the installation looks for an existing OS on the drive and gets so confused by some nasty hackers droppings that it goes to heaven? And I still can’t find my CD with an XP Pro SP2.

Now thanks to Google – after booting up another computer – and some inspired searching I find a hint that this might be a memory problem – somebody had solved his problem by changing a memory module.

That’s definitely worth a try. Out comes the screw driver, the laptop flips over and is gutted from it’s memory. First attempt to just swap the two modules. There is a change, the computer error-beeps on startup, but still the message that this essential system file is missing.

Now the process of elimination – which is not too involved with only two memory modules, and we have the culprit…

broken memory module

Now I am writing this with a computer with only half a gig, but I have to say, I don’t really notice the difference – maybe if I want to start up photoshop and illustrator at the same time.

But not a problem, it will be a trip to the computer store and just get another one of those.