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I tried to install Windows XP Pro SP2 over the current Xubuntu 10.04 install on my laptop using the original factory CD but got the error

CDBOOT: Couldn't find NTLDR 

First I will let you know that I set my BIOS to boot from the CD/DVD drive first.

Second, during researching this issue I learned that normally the message

Press any key to boot from CD... 

will appear but this message never appears for me.


Does the fact that my laptop's hard drive partitions are in ext4 and linux-swap formats have anything to do with this error?

How can I install Windows XP Pro SP2 over my current Xubuntu 10.04 installation?

What is NTLDR and why is it missing?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Does the fact that my laptop's hard drive partitions are in ext4 and linux-swap formats have anything to do with this error

No, the error message is not because of your hard drive partitions. It would seem likely that the CD has got some scratches / CD Drive lens is failing as a result of which it is finding difficult to read the CD. Try using another Installation CD, from a friend perhaps

What is NTLDR and why is it missing?

From Wikipedia,

NTLDR (abbreviation of NT loader) is the boot loader for all releases of Microsoft's Windows NT operating system up to and including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. NTLDR is typically run from the primary hard disk drive, but it can also run from portable storage devices such as a CD-ROM, USB flash drive, or floppy disk.

NTLDR requires, at the minimum, the following two files to be on the system volume:

  • NTLDR, which contains the main boot loader itself
  • boot.ini, which contains configuration options for a boot menu

If either of the two files are missing or cannot be read, you are likely to get this message.

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Could it be anything else? – classer Sep 6 '10 at 23:49
@Adam Unlikely, the system boots from the CD as you confirmed – Sathya Sep 7 '10 at 0:49
Ok so it's definitely the CD. Thanks. And thanks for the extra explanation :) – classer Sep 7 '10 at 11:25
You're welcome @Adam! – Sathya Sep 7 '10 at 13:48
@Sathya I have the exact same issue but tried two different original cds of windows XP and a windows 7 dvd. Windows 7 shows a different error, all info about my version of the issue here… – John Demetriou Jun 22 '13 at 19:05

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