Customer tells me he’s getting a message on his screen (ntldr missing).
So I think: “aha! i know what this is… it shouldn’t be too hard to fix)…
I boot ubcd4win, and overwrite the existing ntldr and ntdetect.com … but the system still generates the same error.
Hmmm, this system has an internal C: drive and a “caddy” drive… So I try pulling out the caddy, then start the PC. This time the PC boots like there was never anything wrong.
I shutdown, insert the caddy, and then the PC gives the familiar ntldr problem.
I remember reading that this kind of problem can be caused by a faulty ATA cable (and I previously replaced a faulty ribbon cable a few months ago)… but it doesn’t seem to make sense.
During yet another reboot, I catch a glimpse of the bios information page… and it looked like there was no drive detected as ide0 master. Now that isn’t right!
I restart, jump into the bios, and see that the main HDD has actually been detected, but as ide1 master … while the caddy drive is detected as ide0 master (hence the ntldr error. The caddy drive has no OS).
Has someone been inside the PC and swapped cables? Customer assures me no-one else has opened the pc since I last looked at it.
Anyway, I disconnect power to the PC, open up the PC, notice the IDE cables look correct… OK, I’ll swap them anyway.
I then restart the PC, and I get the ntldr error again!
bios says the main HDD is plugged into ide1.
OK then, I swap the cables back to how they were originally, and now the bios detects the main HDD correctly.
and now everything boots correctly, without any problems in sight.
What I think happened is: Bios or MOBO electronics got confused… maybe due to caddy system, and/or a power glitch… and the PC reversed the meaning of ide0 and ide1… removing the caddy fixed problem temporarily.
removing power to the mobo while I swapped the ide cables caused everything to go back to “normal”.
I advised the customer to remove the power cord (for about 1 minute) if this ever happens again.