Could not open windows, NTOSKRNL.exe is corrupted

Asked By 400 points N/A Posted on -

Upon opening my computer, I could not even reach windows because of an error like this,

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

First of all, I am not a geek when in terms of computers, I don't even know what is NTOSKRNL.exe. And I didn't do anything on my machine to make it stop from working. I searched on different sites and found out some of the possible causes of this errors are, a corrupted boot.ini file, keyboard problems, miscellaneous corruption or can even be a corrupted hard disk drive.

I don't have a recovery disk with me or any installation disk so I am trying to find my luck by checking on errors manually. I checked on my keyboard and replace it with a different one, but it does not change anything. I don't know how to rebuilt my boot.ini if its corrupted. My system has a Windows XP Professional 32-Bit, 2Gb DDR2, 160Gb HDD SATA, Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz.

What is NTOSKRNL and how can I fix this error? I know this a major issue because my system stops working because of it. I hope someone here can send me detailed instructions on how to fix this.

 Thank you in advance.

Best Answer by John Comeau
Best Answer
Best Answer
Answered By 0 points N/A #112566

Could not open windows, NTOSKRNL.exe is corrupted


Hi James,

NTOSKRNL.exe is absolutely having a very important role in all Microsoft Windows NT operating systems. As you can see your system won’t boot at all without it. This file is responsible for a variety of system services like hardware virtualization and system memory management. So without this file or preventing it to run on your system may obviously cause you problem.

Your searches for some possible causes of like corrupted boot.ini, keyboard problems and corrupted hard disk drive are most likely not true to this kind of problem.

The boot.ini file contains configuration options for a boot menu of the system. It means this file contains only menu that allows user to choose which operating system to boot on the system. You can probably see this menu on boot up if you have installed multiple operating systems on your PC. In fact if this file is corrupted or missing, the system just generate an error telling you that file is missing then will automatically boot to your Windows successfully using default configuration.

Keyboard problems are obviously not the cause of the problem as you did your part on replacing them. And corrupted hard disk drive is also not the cause at all. Your drive absolutely works fine and if not, it probably not displays directories as you can see on your error perhaps different or could be more serious problem.

To be able to solve this issue with your own hands, you have to be some kind of a geek for this or if not go find someone else to do it for you. You said you don’t have any recovery disk or an installation disk on hand but I suggest you to get one for an upcoming and future problem that you may encounter.

Pulling out your hard disk drive from your PC and open it to another working one or to PC of a friend that may like to help you. This I think may be the easiest way to solve this problem. Just make sure you didn’t do anything yet on your hard drive like modifications and formatting process or else you have to do a full installation of your system. Windows folder on your hard drive may still contain backups that will help you recover your ntoskrnl.exe file with just a few steps.

  1. Pull out your hard drive from your PC – just watch some basic tutorial videos for dos and don’ts.
  2. Put it on other PC with working operating system – ask your family or some friends for an access grant to their PC.
  3. Start this PC with your hard drive included then open it on explorer – you can see your hard drive have different drive letter probably not C cause your drive is only in slave mode.
  4. On your hard drive explorer view, go to WINDOWSServicePackFilesi386 – this folder contains backups of most critical system files.
  5. Copy the file you are looking for which is “ntoskrnl.exe”
  6. Paste it to directory where your error say WINDOWSsystem32 – select yes when prompt to override file, yes ntoskrnl.exe is still there but it has been modified already why your system doesn’t work.
  7. You’re done, shut down that PC then get back your hard drive to your own PC.
  8. It probably seems to be back to normal again at this time.
Answered By 400 points N/A #112567

Could not open windows, NTOSKRNL.exe is corrupted


The above solution may be possible but because as I mentioned, I am not a geek in terms of computer. I don't have the guts to take out my hard disk from my cpu and transfer it to another. I borrowed a Windows XP CD from a friend then insert it in my optical drive.

Then boot from the cd and enter the Recovery console. I typed some command to expand the drive where ntoskrnl is located then overwrite it.

Thank you John for sharing your knowledge with me.

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