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Windows root system32 ntoskrnl exe missing or corrupt

I recently upgraded from WinXP x32 to Win7 Ultimate x64 and kept getting the:

"Windows root\system32\ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt" when attempting to boot.

My system:
CPU: Core2 Quad Q8300

Hard Drives:
Primary (System) = Western Digital 300GB 10,000rpm
Secondary (Data) = Western Digital 1T-GB 7,200rpm
*External cloned CasperXP backups for BOTH on matching HDs -- However the backup Sys HD is still configured w/WinXP x32 until I can get all problems ironed out.

Problem Discovered:
Upon booting the OS is pointing to the Secondary HD as Primary,
however, once booted the C: drive is indeed the intended 300GB and Secondary is the 1T-GB HD.

How Discovered:
I needed to relaunch the OLD XP system to access some old Firefox Bookmarks so replaced Sys HDs. Had to reconfigure boot sequence to get OLD x32 OS HD to boot (successful). Saved Bookmarks and shut down. Replaced the Old x32 Sys HD with the New x64 Win7 OS HD. Then got the above error repeatedly. Played with boot settings and BIOS settings for an hour before identifying that the x64 Win7 OS would ONLY boot with the Secondary Data HD listed as the Primary Boot Device. Do note that the OS files are all on the 300GB Primary even as the boot sequence points to the secondary HD.

Is it possible to correct this situation WITHOUT having to do a clean install of Win7 x64 with the 1T-GB Secondary Data Drive disconnected, in other words doing a clean install with ONLY the 300GB Primary connected?

I am hoping to NOT have to reinstall all my Software AGAIN, if you know what I mean.
18 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about windows root system32 ntoskrnl missing corrupt
  1. There is no way to "upgrade" from XP to Win 7. Are you trying to trying to set up a clean install or Win 7 or a dual-boot system (XP and Win 7)?
  2. I have already loaded Win7 x64 as a "clean install" and installed my software. I did this BEFORE discovering this issue.

    Not interested in doing dual boot. Current Win7 x64 is running fine, with the ONLY problem is the OS pointing to the secondary as if it were the primary HD. The 300GB primary will NOT boot by itself. Nor will the secondary boot by itself either.

    My fear is that one HD crash will require both HDs to be replaced.
  3. You have stumbled into one of the "flaws" associated with installing Win 7. For best results, when installing the OS itself, it is best to only have the single primary drive attached during the install. You then connect the other drives afterward.

    There are ways to move an install, as well as cloning the smaller disk to the larger disk (using a program like Clonezilla). The cleanest way to do this is to perform another clean install with only your primary drive connected.

    Are all of your applications installed to the 300GB HDD (with none on the larger HDD)?
  4. Are all of your applications installed to the 300GB HDD (with none on the larger HDD)?

    Correct, I do this for pairing the speed of the VelociRaptor 300 GB (10,000rpm) with my programs. I tried RAID back when we had NT and found no real benefit at home (beside the PITA of NT).

    As far as stumbling into one of the Win7 x64 "flaws", yep. This is my first time leaving WinXP when searching, I found absolutely NOTHING about this boot sequence "redirecting" issue when multiple HDs are used.

    Still hoping for a tip to save me from another clean install.
  5. If it were me, I would clone the 300GB drive, in total, to the larger drive. I would use Clonezilla (a bootable Linux based tool that is used to clone disks). Once complete, I would use the Disk Management tool (in Control Panel/Admin Tools/Computer Management/Disk Management) to expand the c: partition to whatever size you want.

    When you clone a disk, the source disk is not changed, only the destination.
  6. OK, now you have confused me.

    I have TWO 300GB OS drives: one is primary and one is external backup
    I also have TWO 1T-GB data drives: One internal and one external
    I also have Casper v7.0 Backup/Cloning software to create my external clone backups

    QUESTION: I am not following you as to WHY I would want to clone my 300GB to my 1T-GB drive and lose my data. I am NOT interested in having my OS and Data on the same HD, even if it were in a separate partition (at least in a permanent sense). Are you suggesting:
    1. Clone OS onto separate partition on 1T HD without destroying my data
    2. Do clean install of 300gb drive
    3. And then somehow transfer only PART of the "saved/cloned" original 300GB back to the NEW "clean" installed OS on the orginal 300GB HD and then I could get my software programs back without the OS pointing to the secondary 1T HD? And just how could I go about doing that without getting that "false redirect" to the secondary?
  7. I miscounted your HDDs. Sorry about that. I see my mistake now.

    Your best option is to reinstall Win 7 with only the primary HDD attached. Then add the secondary internal drive and then reinstall your apps.

    No cloning will be necessary.
  8. So you are saying NO, it is NOT possible to fix this issue without a clean install of the OS that wipes out my programs. Well thanks for your input.

    Still hoping someone out there has figured this one out...
  9. crazy question but should your secondary drive be set as a slave drive i had the same problem with windows xp pro missing wind system32 ntoskrnl it led me to have to do a complete install some times you can do a system repair when you put your os in the d drive it will ask you what you wish to do repair or reinstall i found it was more simple to do a fresh install
  10. Best answer
    You can disconnect the secondary drive and perform a repair via the install DVD. Go to this link and follow the directions (they are exhaustive). Good luck!

    Essentially you are adding a new boot sector/MBR to the primary disk.
  11. I have tried several times to do system repairs, but I had left the secondary HD hooked up.

    DOAH! Never thought to attempt the system repair with the secondary unattached. :o
    I'll try that in the morning,but for now good night. Thanks
  12. HorizontalMike said:
    I have tried several times to do system repairs, but I had left the secondary HD hooked up.

    DOAH! Never thought to attempt the system repair with the secondary unattached. :o
    I'll try that in the morning,but for now good night. Thanks

    Good luck. Don't worry about messing up since you have a complete backup already.
  13. :bounce: :bounce: :D I thunks ah dun it! :bounce: :bounce:

    Disconnected 1T data HD, leaving 300GB primary installed
    Got the above error message on reboot
    Booted from DVD Win7 x64 disc
    Did "System Repair" -- This also followed up with memory test (successful)
    Removed Win7 x64 Disc from DVD drive and rebooted
    Boot successful with ONLY 300GB primary installed
    Tested software installs --Outlook, Photoshop, Firefox (ALL SUCCESSFUL)
    Re-plugged in SATA cable to 1T Data HD and rebooted
    Before completing boot -- went into BIOS /Boot/Select drives/ and selected the 300GB as Primary (it was still showing primary headed to 1T HD so I changed selection)
    Backed out to the BIOS /Boot/Boot Priority/ and set the 300GB as first boot device (was NOT available before doing the Select Drives)
    Saved and exited.
    Rebooted -- completed reboot WITHOUT error
  14. You da' MAN! Good job. Have fun!!!
  15. BTW, I did NOT use the SevenForums solutions link when doing the repair. I just did a boot from CD/DVD and selected the repair option, then followed though any pop up windows/instructions. This was MUCH simpler and surprisingly easy to do, once I realized to uninstall the secondary HD so it could not be seen during the boot process. Thanks again for the head's up on that.
  16. No problem. Glad it worked out. Agreed on the other forum. Very detailed way to to do something. Had you not disconnected the secondary drive, you would have had to do the more involved process.
  17. Best answer selected by HorizontalMike.
  18. This topic has been closed by Nikorr.
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