Missing or corrupt c:\windows\system32\drivers\ntfs.sys

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Missing or corrupt file

To restore a missing or corrupt ntfs.sys file, you must have the Windows XP CD and follow the steps below.

  1. Insert the Windows XP CD into the computer and restart the computer.
  2. As the computer is starting, make sure to press a key to boot from the CD.
  3. In the Windows XP setup screen, press the 'R' key to run the Windows Recovery Console.
  4. If prompted, enter the number of Windows installation you're repairing.
  5. At the command prompt, type the command below.

copy x:\i386\ntfs.sys c:\windows\system32\drivers


In the above example, you would replace x: with the letter of your CD-ROM drive. Many computers have the CD-ROM drive configured as the D: drive.

  1. If ntfs.sys is still on the computer, you'll be prompted if you want to overwrite the file. If prompted, press the Y key for Yes to overwrite the file.
  2. Once the file is successfully copied, remove the CD and reboot your computer.

Overclocking related issues

If you have previously overclocked your computer, restore your computer back to the system defaults to make sure it is not the cause of your issue. Improper settings, especially those with bus or memory speeds, can cause issues with your memory or other systems settings, which can cause file corruption.

Heat related issues

Verify all computer case fans and the processor heat sink fan (if present) is working. Excessive heat can cause random issues or the system to abnormally power down causing corrupt files.

Improperly connected, bad, or failing system memory

If following the above steps does not resolve your issue or you're unable to boot into the CD to restore the file, it's possible your computer has a hardware issue or failure. Often, for this issue, it is bad or failing computer memory.

If you've ever added memory to the computer, first remove that memory, even if it was added before this issue started.

If no new memory is added or removing it does not resolve the issue, it's possible the remaining memory in the computer is bad or failing.

We also suggest trying the following troubleshooting options.

  • Reseat the memory (removing and then reinstalling the memory).
  • Replace the memory with known good memory.
  • If you have two sticks of memory (i.e. 2 sticks of 256 MB for 512 MB total or 2 sticks of 512 MB for 1 GB total), try only one stick of memory.

Other serious file corruption

If you've reviewed all the above-related issues and are still unable to resolve your problem, we suggest doing a full system restore and reinstalling Windows. If during the format or the installation of Windows, you encounter additional errors, it's likely your hard drive is bad.

If you're unable to boot into the CD to restore the file or run a full system restore, it's likely you're encountering a hardware issue. If you've already tested or replaced the computer memory, see the other hardware confliction or issue section below.

Other hardware confliction or issue

If you've tried all the above recommendations and continue to get this error, it's possible that a more serious hardware issue is being encountered on your computer. We suggest replacing the hardware devices below, one at a time, until the issue is resolved or have the computer repaired at a local computer repair shop.

Additional information