{ 119 Intelligent Comments }

NTLDR is compressed. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart

Microsoft Windows XP Logo

Compressed NTLDR bootloader causing issues when starting Windows

After switching on your computer or after restarting Windows XP you receive the error NTLDR is compressed. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart on a black screen with white writing when trying to boot into Windows.

If you’re looking for the other NTLDR problem, NTLDR is missing error then take a look at this article instead.


  • Error appears after performing a System Restore using the Destructive Option
  • You receive the following the following error message when starting or rebooting your computer:
NTLDR is compressed.  Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart.


The above error is appearing due to a problem with the attributes of the ‘ntldr’ Windows boot loader file.  By decompressing this file we can solve the problem.


Decompress by using ‘attrib’ command on NTLDR

The NTLDR file must be altered in order to clear this error and correctly boot.

  1. Boot into the Recovery Console (Need help with this? See this article: Three Ways To Get Into Recovery Console)
  2. When the console asks you to choose a Windows install to work with, enter 1 and press Enter
  3. When prompted, enter your Administrator password
  4. At the command prompt, enter the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
  5. cd \
    attrib -c c:\ntldr 

  6. Restart your computer and the error should be gone – you can restart by typing Exit and pressing Enter.


Wow, 119 Comments! We've got a conversation going now. Join the discussion below!

  1. Me says:

    those commands one after another look confusing to the average person. It should be:
    at the C:\WINDOWS> prompt, type cd \
    then type attrib -c c:\ntldr

    if you just do attrib -c ntldr it won’t work.

  2. Rosco says:

    Hi, Thanks for pointing that out. It was actually a problem with the formatting of the site since it was redesigned recently. I’ve updated the text now. I must check all my other posts! That could take a while 🙁



    1. Tim Barry says:

      Nevermind! I figured it out and entered the proper command.

      It didn’t reject the command, but it also didn’t say anything positive, it just want back to the c:\> line
      So I typed EXIT and now I have a light blue screen that says:
      Please wait while Windows prepairs to start

      You Sir are a GOD among men. I honestly don’t know how to thank you properly, or enough!

      UPDATE: It currently show a black screen with Windows XP, Home Edition and the message: Please wait. In the middle of the screen is the hour glass, which is normally spinning, but it’s NOT spinning. It looks like the computer has frozen up again. Gosh, I hope this works! Let me go look again…

      1. Tim Barry says:

        OK…SOME success….It’s now a screen that says:
        Welcome to Microsoft Windows
        Let’s spend a few minutes setting up your computer
        …and it has a next button, on the bottom, right
        It shows the ARROW curser in the middle of the screen, but it does not move with the mouse movement. It is frozen in place.
        WHAT do I do next?

    2. saif says:

      Thanks it nice

  3. Trevor says:

    Wenever u do the attrib -c c:\ntldr and press enter itcsays invalid switch – -c
    anybody know how to fix this?

  4. Rosco says:

    Hi Trevor,

    The -c switch is only valid when using the Attrib command from the Recovery Console. If you are trying to use it from a regular command prompt on XP Safe or Normal mode then you will get an Invalid Switch.

    Hope this helps.


  5. MetJet says:

    After I type in “attrib -c c:\ntldr” The response is :The file cannot be opened” I am using XP PRO in a Dell E6400 and I need to retrive the files on there. Please help

  6. subha says:

    ntldr file missing Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restrat option show my computer.
    How to install this file to my computer i tried to some step

    there was a problem created admistrator password is invalid, but the password i am type the password and the computer shows this password is not valid password.

    So, what i done ?

  7. subha says:

    same message again i am using Window XP

  8. comyhre says:

    I have an emachine XP that does have a restore disk although when I did a reboor with save I got the error ntldr is compressed I have tried all the steps but it won’t allow me to type the comand prompts. I can’t type anything. What can I do I need help!!!!

  9. airstar says:

    omg ty

    1. Rosco says:

      omg you’re welcome 🙂


  10. simeworks says:

    you can not directly change directory from C:\Windows to C:\ directory in the windows xp repair mode console…

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Simeworks…

      What seems to be the problem? Are you getting an error when trying to cd back to root?

      Let me know.


  11. DC says:

    Worked like a charm. Thank you.

  12. Fay says:

    I have the same problem but when I enter “cd \” it gives an error “the path or file specified is invalid”

  13. Rosco says:

    Hi Fay,

    Try running the command chkdsk /r

    When that’s complete, type Logon and choose a windows installation and then enter the administrators password.

    Following this, try the commands listed above in this article.


  14. jiten says:

    I am able to start the Automatice System Recovery Console by inserting the Windows XP installation CD, But after giving the previous installed windows no e.g No:1 it prompts for administrator password. I did not have my administrator password set at the time of installation so I tried to leave it blank and wanted to proceed to the next step but it simply did not work, I also tried to give my administrator level current user password but it also seemed not to be working and I failed to proceed further halting for another Restart. Please help me how to overcome this password issue!

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Jiten,

      Please see the following two articles that discuss Windows Password problems.

      1) https://www.proposedsolution.com/solutions/forgotten-or-lost-windows-xp-password/

      2) https://www.proposedsolution.com/solutions/lostforgotten-windows-password/

      I suggest following them, reseting your password and then continuing where you left off with NTLDR.



  15. Armie says:

    at the C:\WINDOWS> prompt, type D:\
    then type attrib -c c:\ntldr

    this worked for me

  16. Sean says:

    I have an HP running Windiws XP…my computer froze up and when I tried shutting it down nothing happened. I tried restarting it, when it got to the point of entering my user password I couldn’t do anything. I eventually did a system restore and now I get the message…NTLDR is compressed but every time I Ctrl+Alt+Del it goes back to the NTLDR IS COMPRESSED…need help!!!

    1. Rosco says:

      Sean, Have you tried the solution above?

      i.e. attrib -c c:\ntldr


  17. Robert says:

    Hi, I just received my friends Advent 7096 windows xp to fix after having loads of problems with it (my friend didn’t know about system recovery :P) so when I re-booted and got on to the system recovery screen and it scanned all the files and after 20mins or so it rebooted and then came up with NTLDR is compressed. My friend doesn’t have an xp recovery disc and I’ve checked every website to fix it but to no prevail, I even ask a techguy in pc world and he said press Alt,d to get dos up but that doesn’t even work. I managed to press f10 to get the booting drivers up but none work. The laptop is also making a high ‘beeping’ sound……. Can you help me please???

  18. Rosco says:

    Hi Robert,

    In this case you will need to access the Recovery Console and carry out the steps in the article above.

    If you have no Windows CD then you can create a Recovery Console CD by following the steps in this article: https://www.proposedsolution.com/downloads/download-windows-recovery-console/


  19. Robert says:

    Thank you so much, if I have anymore problems I’ll definitely come to you 😀

  20. Robert says:

    I have the same message, and have looked at many possible fixes,…I don’t have a restore disk, but have restored using f10…I cannot get the command prompt to come up…HELP

  21. Troy says:

    I have the same issue as above with the ntldr compressed. however, I cannot boot any disk. the bios is set up for cd/dvd first, then hard disk second, but no disk can bring me to repair/recovery. I can only access the F11 recovery which does nothing. I cannot get to the command screens. Please help!!!

  22. Moot2 says:

    Worked here after I was able to load the proper sata drivers for a mucked up gateway. now it says “invalid boot ini…..continuing to boot from windows” gets about a third of the way and says “setup did not initialize correctly” then reboots. the recovery partition is intact and it will boot the the recovery partition and begin recovery to factory then fails at reboot saying “System not fully installed. Please run setup again” I think I’ll just run an install from the cd and “not” wipe the recovery partition. think it will work?

  23. Rosco says:

    Hi Moot2,

    These problems are a little off topic from the NTLDR is compressed error.

    If you’re performing a system recovery and Windows is reporting the error “The system is not fully installed. Please run setup again. then this can be resolved by editing the Windows registry. You can follow steps provided by Microsoft on this exact error here: https://support.microsoft.com/kb/320279

    Hope this helps.


  24. Steve says:

    I typed in attrib -c c:/DGKAR (because DGKAR is compressed. Press ctrl+alt+del to restart. popped up instead of NTLDR.) it says this is an invalid switch, and I opened the command prompt from the Windows recovery console brought up from a dvd. Any idea on how I can resolve this issue if the attrib command is not working? I also tried to change other random attrib parameters, such as changing if file is hidden or not, and got the message Not Resetting Hidden File. Any ideas?

  25. Steve says:

    Ok, sorry to update comment so quickly, but.. I was able to change different attributes for the DGKAR file, so that isn’t the issue. The only issue I have now is that compressed or -c is not an option for the attrib command in the recovery console I have brought up. Thanks.. : )

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Steve….

      Is your operating system currently Windows XP or Windows 7?


  26. Steve says:

    it is windows 7…

    1. Rosco says:

      Ah…you won’t be able to run attrib properly from a windows xp recovery console with Windows 7 installed.

      Can you access the Windows 7 System Recovery options? See this article: https://www.proposedsolution.com/solutions/windows-7-or-vista-recovery-console/

      If you can, try running the attrib command to uncompress the DGKAR file from there. I’ve never tried it personally but would be interested to see the results.


  27. Steve says:

    hmmm I’ve tried both the recovery consoles that you provided at the link.. for vista and for 7… I did, however, create a dvd from a file from another site (the one that hosts the torrent) so I will try that one and get back to you. Thanks for the speedy correspondence : )

  28. Steve says:

    still no dice… I’ve done: 1) create recovery bootable dvd 2) booted the recovery console from this dvd 3) Fix Start Up options 4)Command Prompt (attrib -c c:/DGKAR) which returned an invalid switch. I guess the next option would be to return to a previous point?

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Steve,

      yes it seems like a System Restore is the only option.

      You can do this from the System Recovery menu.

      As a matter of interest, do you know what caused this error? Did you compress your drive before the error occurred?


      1. Steve says:

        Yes. Last week I ran a disk util to cleanup C:. It was just the provided Windows disk cleaner. Then I clicked on the box to compress the C: drive to save space. The next morning, I rebooted computer, and the message came up: “DGKAR is compressed. Press ctrl+alt+del to restart.”

        Thanks again for replying so quickly. Hopefully this info helps you and your users in the future. Take it easy..

    2. Clefkid says:

      Hi: I have windows xp; got the NTLDR compression message, and the prompt, but my keyboard beeps when I press any key other than control, alt, delete combo my system beeps. The cursor will not move and I’m unable to try any of the solutions in these posts. What can I do now?

  29. Steve says:

    Hmmm… I tried to restore to a previous point. When I did so, it said that the computer can not restore to that point under this restore environment. From what I see it looks like I need to create a restore CD on the computer I need to restore, which means I’m in a catch-22. I checked your site briefly for a page on this, but I couldn’t find anything. Any ideas? I don’t have a CD for the Windows 7 installed on that computer. I did click on the Load Drivers button, and I can see everything on the computer, all drives and files. This is really frustrating.

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Steve,
      OK, so I need to understand a bit more about your situation –

      1) What are you booting the PC from at this point? Is it a CD/DVD or the hard drive?

      2) If from CD/DVD, do you get to a point where you are presented with the System Recovery Options screen as shown here: https://bit.ly/enzGot

      3) If you cannot get to the System Recovery Options screen, at what command prompt have you been issuing commands as per previous instructions?

      There are a few things I’d like to try but need to know this first.



    2. Rosco says:

      OK Steve – I’ve researched this a bit more and here’s what to try:

      When you click the Load Drivers button you should see all the files and drives on your computer. On the left, click ‘Computer’. You should now see your Local Disk C: on the right.

      Right click Local Disk C: and click Properties.
      At the bottom of the properties box, deselect the box that says ‘Compress this drive to save space’
      Another window will pop up asking you to confirm the attribute change.(the windows might get a bit messy so you’ll just have to move them around the screen so you can see them properly)
      Select Apple changes to drive C:, subfolder and files and click OK
      Now I would suggest waiting..you will not see a progress dialog as it uncompresses the drive so give it a few minutes until your hard disk stops showing activity.
      When finished, cancel all remaining dialog boxes and restart the computer.

      Let me know how you get on.


      1. BKW says:

        Hi Roscoe, Hi I am having the same issue but the Key word is VUFEI is compressed and it says to press ctrl alt del to restart. But when I do this it comes back to this screen. It does not give the option to type in anything. I cannot do a system recovery or get to a prompt for anything. Can you help me? It is stuck. I made copies of the recovery and repair disc for Windows 7. It is still stuck in the command screen. No keys work….Any help is greatly appreciate

  30. Rosco says:

    Hi BKW…it seems like your system is not even booting from your CD. Try the following:

    1. Insert your CD/DVD
    2. Power off your computer completely
    3. Power back on your computer and look out for a message asking you to press a key to boot from CD…
    4. After pressing a key the system should start booting from CD

    If you don’t get a message in step 3 above then you may have to configure your BIOS/Setup Utility to boot from CD/DVD.


    1. BKW says:

      I got no message I tried three times. It went straight back to the message “VUFEI is compressed Press”, Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart . How do I configure BIOS setup?

      1. Rosco says:

        What’s your computer manufacturer & model number?


        1. BKW says:

          HP Pavilion a6747c PC

          1. BKW says:

            I tried to go to the boot menu and do as you instructed. I made sure the first boot device was the cd/dvd drive and it did not work. I cannot get any other screen but VUFEI is compressed, Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart. Any other ideas? I am at a loss.

            1. Rosco says:

              OK BKW – Try accessing the Windows boot menu by doing the following:

              1) Unplug the computer from the wall wait at least 5 seconds with the computer OFF.
              2) Plug it back in and switch on the computer and press the F8 key repeatedly as the computer starts.
              3) An “Advanced Boot Options” screen opens if the system partition on the hard drive is still good.
              4) Select Repair Your Computer and press Enter .

              See if you get that far and let me know.

  31. Steve says:

    Hey Rosco, that fix worked! The one where I open ‘Load Drivers’ Right-Click C: Drive and unclick the Compress box. Thanks so much! Looks like you have another article to write : )

  32. BKW says:

    Hi, I tried unplugging the computer from wall and when I restarted it repeatedly hitting the F8 key, It went back to the same VUFEI screen. My hard drive may be bad.

    1. Rosco says:

      BKW – When you restart your computer, what’s the FIRST thing you see on screen?

      1. BKW says:

        The HP screen pops up for a millisecond and it goes straight to VUFEI is compressed, Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart.

  33. josh baych says:

    I installed the ntldr compressed hard drive to a working computer but now how do I uncompress it

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi josh,

      You’re going to have to give me a bit more then that?

      Have you follows the directions in this post to fix the NTLDR is compressed error?


  34. josh baych says:

    Yes it wouldn’t let me into dos to type anything but now I installed a new hard drive and all that works. Installed compressed hard drive as secondary now what steps should I take. Emachine windows xp

  35. jerry says:

    I typed in attrib -c c:\ntlrb and it says There is no floppy disk or cd in the drive

    1. Rosco says:

      hi Jerry…

      If you type dir c: does it give the same message?


      1. Anonymous says:


  36. Eva says:

    Hi, I run Windows 7 as well and I have the same problem only mine says FIJDZ is compressed. I’m trying these methods atm booting from a cd and I’ll see if that works however I just wanted to know, what is the difference between all these files or boot files or whatever they are?

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Eva,

      This problem is different on Windows 7 so these methods will not help you.

      You need to do the following:
      1. Boot to the Windows System Recovery Options screen
      2. On the Select Operating System to Repair screen click LOAD DRIVERS button.
      3. On the left, click ‘Computer’. You should now see your Local Disk C: on the right.
      4. Right click Local Disk C: and click Properties.
      5. At the bottom of the properties box, deselect the box that says ‘Compress this drive to save space’
      6. Another window will pop up asking you to confirm the attribute change.(the windows might get a bit messy so you’ll just have to move them around the screen so you can see them properly)
      7. Select Apply changes to drive C:, subfolder and files and click OK
      8. Now I would suggest waiting..you will not see a progress dialog as it uncompresses the drive so give it a few minutes until your hard disk stops showing activity.
      9. When finished, cancel all remaining dialog boxes and restart the computer.

      Let me know how you get on.


  37. Rick says:

    I’ve created the disk and have tried time and time again. Sometimes when I
    ctrl + alt + del it will restart and return to “Press F11 to start recovery” followed by the compressed error. Now after burning the file to a DVD I get nothing but a blinkin cursor at the top of the screen. eMachine, W6409 XP Media Center.

  38. Steve says:

    Thankyou very very much for this article id have been buggerd if not for this. One happy camper here 🙂

  39. joe says:

    Wow this worked great I did the destructive recovery thing got the compressed ntldr message and I followed steps to the t and bam! Lol thanks and I’m a noob when it comes to command lines

  40. Enzed Bozzo says:

    Had to reinstall NTLDR AND Uncompress it from my Windows CD.
    Followed your tack…all good.
    Only reseaon I think that caused the failure was after installing Samsung Kies Ver2 for my phone and while syncing music, having it crash.
    Thanks again

  41. Hubie says:

    hi, having similar problem, i already ran the recovery system to try and wipe the pc, now when i restart it says “press r to go to recovery options”. So i press r and it brings me back to my recovery disk which i already ran. My options on the cicero system recovery are non destructive system recovery, system recovery no format, and system recovery quick format. When i first ram this i did the no format which moves all my old files into a folder and starts a fresh op system i think.

    I am never promted to chose a windows install to work with as you mentioned and dont get to type the things you mention to in a command prompt. please help, feel free to email. Running xp, sp1.

    1. Rosco says:

      Hubie, Do you get the NTLDR is compressed error or is this unrelated?

      1. Hubie says:

        Yes sorry I am getting the ntldr is compressed press ctrl at del msg.

        1. Rosco says:

          Hubie, It sounds like you’re accessing the system recovery options provided by Cicero as opposed to the Windows Recovery Console.

          Did you read the article, Three Ways to Access The Recovery Console as mentioned in step 1 above?

          If you successfully access the recovery console you will eventually get to a command prompt which is where you type in the above commands.

          All of those recovery options (non-destructive, etc) you mention are completely unrelated to how this solution works.


  42. Jamie says:

    Do the custom recovery console discs only work once?!? Mine did! Won’t load again. HAngs at boot from cd!

  43. Rama says:

    i have problem same like in this topic but mine is UOVER compressed press ctrl+alt+del to restart. please help me if you guy have the solution for my problem. i am using Windows 7 Ultimate. I don want to loose my data install on my laptop.


    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Rama.

      Did you compress your hard disk in Windows 7?

  44. Tim Barry says:

    I was running XP3, SP3, until I downloaded the latest updates on 08-12-11. Then my desktop wouldn’t fully load. I powered down and used the F10 function (first mistake) for an HP System Restore. Since then, I now get the “NTLDR/compressed/cntl/alt/del to reboot. I’ve now used the 4th option to create a FlashDrive, on this (a working) computer. Now I can’t get my DEAD computer to boot from the Flashdrive. I see no way to steer the dead unit to /K:XPRC.iso or anything else. I’ve tried several configs, but nothing seems to work. Any ideas? Tim

    1. Tim Barry says:

      I even burned a start up CD to try, but I still have the same problem that the computer doesn’t SEE either the USB post (with inserted thumb-drive, and start up files) or the inserted CD, with the start up files. I have two different methods (of the four) but the computer doesn’t even TRY to boot, from either of these two options. How do I tell the computer to boot from the CD or the flash drive? HELP!!!!

      1. Rosco says:

        OK, first up please try creating the bootable CD/DVD with a new piece of software that I’m trying out to replace the Unetbootin software.

        It seems several people are having trouble with it so will you try to download and create your bootable USB flash with Passscape ISO Burner (available here: https://www.easy-share.com/1917464076/pib.zip)

        1. Unpack the zip file.
        2. Launch ISO Burner .exe
        3. On the first screen choose burn ISO to CD/DVD
        4. Select the ISO image file by browsing to it
        5. Insert a blank CD/DVD and select the drive you’d like to burn the ISO to
        6. Click Burn/Create button.

        Also, what ISO file are you using? Is it one of the Windows Recovery Console ISO’s available on this website?

        When the CD/DVD has been created try booting your dead PC with it.

        If this doesn’t work, try the USB Flash option using the above method.

        1. Tim Barry says:

          Wow…that’s a lot of stuff to digest. I feel as though I can burn the CD you’re talking about. I’ll do that after I finish here. You asked the questions: Also, what ISO file are you using? Is it one of the Windows Recovery Console ISO’s available on this website?
          Answer: I’m not computer savy enuf to know what an ISO is, or what it does. I was using Window XP, SP3, on a HP computer. I tried the HP System Recovery, which was F10. That program (?) compressed my NTLDR. I can say these things, but I don’t really understand what has happened.
          Even with the new CD that you want me to burn, I don’t know how to STEER the computer to LOOK at the CD drive and to try to boot from the CD drive. That’s the problem I had with the 1st CD and Flash Drive that I made. It’s like the computer doesn’t know to look at the USB (flash drive) or the “E” socket(?), which is my CD drive, and to try to boot from them instead of the NORMAL bootup prigram (NTLDR) WHICH IS COMPRESSED. Hewlett Packard compressed the damn thing. I should SUE THEM for compressing it and causing this problem. I can make 150 CD’s and Flash Drives. If the computer doesn’t know to LOOK at those as an option, it’s not going to matter how many CD’s and Flash Drives I make.

          1. Rosco says:

            OK, what’s the make and model of your PC/laptop?

          2. Tim Barry says:

            Make: HP Model; Pavilion a405n
            System Number: DW146A-ABA
            This is a tower that is about 7 years old now. Dinosaur computer, I know. I’ve gone thru 5 keyboards, four mouses and two monitors. It’s probably time to retire this tower. I’ve now purchased an Windows XP Home edition, SP3, Recovery CD. I found it on eBay for about fifty bucks. It comes with a new Product Key, as well. But I DON’T want to LOSE any info on the hard-drive, I want to un-compress this damn NTLDR thing. But the computer doesn’t even try to boot from the CD drive, or an USB. It DOES look at the floppy disc drive, because it does it’s chattering, while booting. Is there a program, available for download to a floppy, that would tell the computer to boot from a CD driver, or an USB post?

          3. Tim Barry says:

            I answered this once, but I don’t see the posting. Do you see it, or do I need to answer it again?

  45. Katie says:

    You are wonderful, thank you!!!

  46. Tim Barry says:

    Let’s get back to burning this new CD for a moment. I found and un-zipped the IsoBurner.exe. It brought up a new window. The ZIP file also include three other things, listed below:
    In the new window, or screen, I set the thing to burn ISO to a CD/DVD. You next set (in your instructions above) say to browse to the ISO image, but browsing to it. NOTE: I know how to browse. My question is WHERE IS this ISO image to be found? It’s not in the opened IsoBurner.exe Where do I browse to, to find this ISO image?

    1. Rosco says:

      OK, lets forget this for a moment.

      I didn’t realise at the time that your problem was that you actually couldn’t trigger the boot from CD process.

      OK, with your computer OFF, switch it on with the power switch and immediately press F1 at the HP logo. You’ll be brought into the BIOS/Setup.
      You should see 5 tabs across the top – Main, Advanced, Power, Boot and Exit. Open ‘Boot’ tab and it is here that you set the order in which devices are read during startup.

      With the age of your PC it’s highly likely that you will NOT be able to boot from a USB – this is a more recent feature on PCs.

      So try to set your boot order (sometimes called priority) to Floppy, CD/DVD, Hard Disk.

      Then save and exit the setup utility, insert the CD and restart the computer.

      During restart the computer should either automatically boot from the CD or it may prompt you to press any key to boot from CD.

      Try that and let me know how you get on.


      1. Tim Barry says:

        SUCCESS!!!!!! Finally, the computer is looking at the CD drives on my computer!!!! I didn’t know HOW to make that point, that it WASN’T looking at the CD DVD drive or the USB ports. We’ll forget USB posts for now. STOP: If I call you, is there any way we can do this on the phone. I have a LOT to type here. The phone call will be on my DIME and I’ll only use it this ONE TIME. I’ll throw it away after. I’m so close now. I burned the CD you mentioned last night. The computer see’s it, but now I need advice in real time as the computer is asking me questions. PLEASE PROVIDE ME WITH A PHONE NUMBER TO REACH YOUm so that we can do this in real time. I’m SO CLOSE now, I don’t want to make a mistake. I don’t want to lose any data on my computer. Please, Please, Please….

  47. Tim Barry says:

    OK….It didn’t hurt to ask, I hope. No phone support. I now have a LOT of typing to do….
    I pushed the option to get into the XP Recovery Console, it offered:
    1: H:MiniNT
    2: H: \I386
    3: C: \Windows

    I pushed (1) one, per the instructions. NO Admin Password was asked for. I typed: cd\ (and hit the enter button)
    (att rib – c c:\ntldr – would have been next)
    BUT it didn’t recognize the first command – I type HELP to see what commands it would accept. There are a LOT of them.
    I don’t think I’m in the right place, BUT it IS reading the new CD. I just need to figure out what to do next. THANK YOU, SO MUCH, FOR ALL YOUR HELP. I’m close now….closer than I have been

    1. Rosco says:

      When you see:

      1: H:MiniNT
      2: H: \I386
      3: C: \Windows

      Choose 3

      Enter admin password if requested.

      cd \
      attrib -c c:\ntldr

      Press enter after each of the above two commands.

      1. Tim Barry says:

        OKAY! I entered “3” for C:\WINDOWS
        (I’ve never SET an Admin password, so I just hit the ENTER key on the keyboard. The following came up:
        C:\WINDOWS (and a curser, of sorts, a square box)
        I added: cd\ to the end of the command and hit enter again.
        The following is what the computer said:
        The command is not recognized. Type HELP for a list…

        It still displays: C:\WINDOWS>

        1. Rosco says:

          Theres a SPACE between ‘cd’ and ‘\’

          Type cd \ and try again

          1. Tim Barry says:

            sorry…THAT WORKED! Now, what is the PROPER SPACING in the command: att rib – c c:ntldr
            Or is that the correct command? We’re almost there! Please son’t give up on me….

            1. Tim Barry says:

              It’s giving me the same: The command is not recognized. for the command att rib ….(and the rest of it….)
              the second command is not working the way I’m typing it.
              Also please indicate which, if any, need to be upper case.
              I’m a dummy, which is why I need so much helo….

              1. Rosco says:

                Tim, there’s NO space in the command attrib.

                Did the cd \ command work?

                The second command should be:

                attrib -c c:\ntldr

                Sorry mate, can’t make it any clearer then that.


              2. Tim Barry says:

                I don’t SEE either of the last two messages I’ve sent to you, do you see them? My curser won’t move…it’s frozen in the middle of the screen. I can’t go through the Microsoft “Let’s set up your computer” prompts. The curser will not move. Should I power-down and reboot?

              3. Rosco says:

                You should check the physical mouse cable and connectors to make sure it is connected properly. Then power down and reboot but make sure the Windows XP CD is removed. You might test the mouse on a different PC also.

              4. Tim Barry says:

                I actually installed a BRAND NEW mouse and restarted. The mouse now moves and I’ve been working thru the SETUP. It’s now at a “Are you Ready to Register with Microsoft screen….so I guess I’m on my way. YOU are THE MAN. How can anyone ever thank you enough?

              5. Tim Barry says:

                Yes, the cd \ command DID WORK. Now the attrib -c c:ctldr has worked, and the EXIT (enter) command has worked. I’m now on a SETUP screen that I can operate, because my curser won’t move.

  48. Tim Barry says:

    It now shows welcome to miscrosoft windows screen
    and says: “Let’s spend a few minutes setting up your computer.
    There is an ARROW curser in the middle of the page and a NEXT button on the bottom, right. But the curser won’t MOVE, when I move the mouse. I’ve had this problem before and rebooting was the only way to get the curser to move again. What SHOULD I do now, Sir?

    1. Rosco says:

      Well Tim…looks like your ‘NTLDR is compressed’ woes are over and you’re into the Windows XP Setup screen.

      Have you removed the Windows XP CD and rebooted without it?

  49. rick says:

    Since I intend on upgrading the version of windows currently on the machine any ways, would buying a new copy of windows and running tell disk fix my machine?

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Rick, Upgrading Windows (presumably to Windows 7) will get rid of the NTLDR is missing error.


  50. rick says:

    Thanks for the reply, would there be an issue if I went with vista? I don’t think mine will run anything above that without hardware upgrades.

  51. Eddie Mattison says:

    Hi Roscoe, this looks like a great site to fix “NTLDR is compressed. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart on a black screen with white writing when trying to boot into Windows”. I used Comodo Dragon and rebooted to those same words, no further. I have a 854n Hp Media Center running xp. I have tried running a nondestructive recovery and also running recovery disks, I created before, when the computer would boot up. But just like alot of these folks, I’m getting nowhere. I can’t get a command prompt to type in the words that might uncompress it. Do you have any suggestions for me, sir? 🙂 I looked thru alot of these notes, but not all of them. Found alot of similarities :-). Haven’t found a solution yet. Please help 🙂

    1. alec says:

      same here

  52. Grace says:

    JQPWR is compressed.. ctrl+alt+delete to restart….Im having this error once im switching on my PC. What do I have to do? I have windows 7 installed and I dont have the original OS upon a CD but I have a windows xp OS that when trying to reboot is not working either, I have downloaded a recovery of windows 7 on a pendrive but still not working!!! what can I do? and also do I have to burn the recovery on a CD

    Many Thanks

  53. alec says:

    i’m having the ntldr is compressed..ctrl+alt+delete to restart error.
    I followed all the steps in the 4 ways to get into the recovery console(I can only make the usb boot device because my computer dose not have a cd/dvd or floppy drive). In my bios I cant change the boot to usb.
    Thanks Alec

  54. Scott says:

    Wow, holy guacamole, i have been trying to correct this for months now, and this article FINALLY did it! Thanks a ton.

  55. Zac N. says:

    Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Mohammad MAliK says:

    VHQLM is compressed. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart.

    No boot, no recovery keys working(f8), when I restarted my Lenovo laptop after BIOS the system just show the above error message. I just stuck because of the above error message, is anybody there can help me in this matter.

    i’m very thankful to him/her.



  57. richwebbie says:

    worked fine for me. thanks

  58. Chris says:

    Many, many thanks for this. Every other posting simply tells you to copy ntldr / not detect.com from the recovery disc… I must have done so 5 times. Finally found your posting, changed the attributes, and hey presto… A full week of tearing my hair out, ended.

  59. useful info says:

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself spending way too much time both
    reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

  60. Barbie says:

    hi rosco,my computer is windows xp and here is my problem,it looks like this happened after I did a system restore-the screen went black and it said ntldr is missing- then I discovered your site and followed your directions to get rid of this error–then when I solved that error another one popped up saying ntldr is compressed…then followed your instructions for that and now I have the computer rebooting non-stop and still not back to windows and desktop–btw I do have the recovery cd—need somemore good advice for this problem—help please….(:

  61. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s
    to be exactly what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content
    for you? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write in relation to here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

  62. eabgab says:

    You, sir, ROCK! I was having all kinds of trouble with this but not anymore! Thank you!

  63. Patrick says:

    Tried all of the above and more. Problem happened after resizing partition above the 128GB and even though BIOS saw the 250GB drive fine it still booted to a blinking cursor. Hooked the drive to another computer and resized below the 128GB limit. Hooked it back up and it says the NTLDR was compressed (I’d copied the NTLDR file from the CD earlier). Booted back to repair command prompt from CD and uncompressed NTLDR and rebooted and it was able to go into Windows.

  64. First off I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Appreciate it!|

  65. my blog says:

    Excellent post. Keep writing such kind of information on your page.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it
    and in my opinion recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

Leave a Reply