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we are running Windows Server 2003. Today suddenly the system was down and it showed

NTLDR missing. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart

When I pressed the key combination, it again showed the same message. Now I switched off the power supply to the system, and when I restart after this the system booted properly.

I understand that there are lot of web resources addressing this problem. I wanted to know why it booted after I switched off the power supply and later switched on.

Also, I wasn't able to create the image of the disk with Acronis. The Acronis True Image ended with errors.

I read from the web that the NTLDR error arises if the C drive is fragmented to the extreme where even the file which stores the indexes is also fragmented. Is this the reason why Acronis failed to create the image as it couldn't read the MBR?

For your information, the C drive contains lot of files and is fragmented.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

NTLDR error can arise for many different things, but fragmentation is not one of them.

In this case I would go with "disk failing" reason since, as you noticed, even TrueImage couldn't read it. Since TrueImage reads everything sector-by-sector, it would not mind fragmentation.

Try to backup everything you can since I assume that drive will completely fail very soon. Fragmentation will have effect here since it is much harder to recover data from fragmented drive than from non-fragmented one, but it is definitely not the cause.

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can I run chkdsk utility, then defragment and then try to create the image? I think chkdsk utility will delete the bad sectors. Will this cause some instability to the system? – rboorgapally Sep 14 '09 at 17:28
Best chances are to backup it as is. Any moving of data, regardless of which utility does it will only make things worse. – Josip Medved Sep 14 '09 at 21:33

In your case the system was shutdown improperly, so nothing surprising that you got error.

When I see same error in Windows XP, I use command chkdsk (under Recovery Console). It helped me many times.

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If the box is running again, make a backup of your data on an external drive or over the LAN, and then run chkdsk. You can also run chkdsk in readonly mode, but it may require a reboot (hence the backup suggestion). – user3914 Sep 14 '09 at 18:23

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