How to Fix Ntoskrnl.exe Missing or Corrupt Error

Are you seeing an error about a file in System32 called ntoskrnl.exe being missing or corrupt? This common Windows XP error might look scary, but it'll be easy to fix with this simple tutorial!


Before trying the steps below, you can test to fix this error by following these 2 quick tips:

Boot your Windows into Last Known Good Configuration (press F8 at startup to do so) or disconnect any PS/2 or serial keyboards you may have and try again.

If the above doesn’t work, boot into the recovery console from your installation disk (if you don’t have your installation disk, check the Tips section below for alternatives), if you are unsure how to do this check out the Microsoft Knowledge base article ID:

314058 for a quick guide.

Once in run chkdsk /r and once done reboot.

If this doesn’t work, boot into the recovery console once again and try the following:

From the prompt type attrib -R C:

boot.ini followed by enter

Then del C:

boot.ini followed by enter





Next enter fixboot C:

followed by enter


If none of the above worked hop into the recovery console once again and enter fixmbr C:

followed by enter and then reboot.

If nothing from above worked, you may need to run this command to replace the ntoskrnl.exe file itself:

expand D:i386ntoskrnl.exe C:Windowssystem32 or try to run bootcfg /rebuild


  • If you don’t have a Windows installation disk, you need a disk that’s called “recovery disk” or “repair disk”. These types of disks are bootable and have Command Prompt tools installed.
  • To do this simply boot from the operating system install disk as per booting into the recovery console but instead of selectingR for the console select Enter to set up Windows [version] now. Press F8 to accept the Windows licensing agreement and then when it has found the installation press R to start the repair.


  • Running a Windows repair should be relatively safe but it is worth noting that you should read around the topic if you feel a repair is necessary.

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