Ntfs.sys Causing Windows Blue Screen or Stop Errors During Boot

If Ntfs.sys encounters certain kinds of error on the drive, a blue screen appears and the system will lock up. This article explains.

During boot, the operating system installed on the disk drive needs Ntfs.sys to read and write to NTFS partitions. In addition, Ntfs.sys is also engaged when booting from the installation CD or with the Windows 2000/XP floppy boot disks. If Ntfs.sys encounters certain kinds of error on the drive, a blue screen appears and the system will lock up. Until these errors are repaired, the operating will continue to be inaccessible. The end user has the option of either:

(1) Zero filling and then reformatting the problem drive with Disk Management


(2) Temporarily disabling Ntfs.sys prior to boot and then manually running Check Disk to correct the errors.


For option 2, after running Check Disk, the Ntfs.sys file is re-enabled and the operating system is rebooted. The data can now be backed up. Due to the potential instability of this partition, it is recommended that after data back up, the end user should zero fill/low level format the drive and proceed to reformat with Disk Management. If after running Check Disk, the drive is still negatively affecting operating system boot, then the only remaining recourse may be to zero fill and low level format the drive .

There are two methods to disable Ntfs.sys. The system partition’s file system type is the determining factor as to which technique to use.

FAT or FAT32 File System

If your system partition is using the FAT or FAT32 file system, disconnect or turn off any disk drives that contain NTFS volumes. This allows you to start back into the operating system to perform troubleshooting steps. If you can determine which NTFS volume is causing the boot problem, use the following steps:

  1. Make sure the drive that contains the corrupted NTFS volume is disconnected, and then start Windows by using Safe mode.
  2. Rename the %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers\Ntfs.sys file to Ntfs.old, and then shut down the computer (this action prevents the Ntfs.sys driver from loading).
  3. Reconnect the drive that contains the corrupted NTFS volume.
  4. Restart the computer, and then run the following command on the corrupted NTFS volume:

    chkdsk driveletter : /f

    NOTE: The Chkdsk tool has built-in support for NTFS and does not require the Ntfs.sys driver to make repairs.
  5. After you use the Chkdsk tool to repair the corrupted NTFS volume, rename %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers\Ntfs.old to Ntfs.sys, and then shut down and restart the computer.

NTFS File System

If your computer contains only a single NTFS volume, you can boot from the four Windows 2000 Setup (boot) disks to run the Chkdsk tool with the Ntfs.sys driver disabled. Using Windows 2000 boot disks will be necessary even if your system is running XP or Server 2003 since the boot disks that are available for these operating systems can’t be adjusted appropriately. If necessary, you may need to download the Windows 2000 boot disks from a website like bootdisk.com. To repair a NTFS volume by using Recovery Console, use the following steps:

  1. Create the four Windows boot disks by either running the Makeboot.exe or Makebt32.exe within the \Support\Bootdisk folder on the Windows 2000 installation CD-ROM or by downloading them from somewhere on the internet.
  2. Using Notepad, modify the Txtsetup.sif file on the first Setup disk you created in step 1:
    1. In the [FileSystems.Load] section, locate the line that begins with "ntfs."
    2. Insert a semicolon (;) at the beginning of the line, as shown below:


  1. Start the computer that is experiencing the error message by using the four Setup disks. When the Welcome to Setup dialog box is displayed, press F10 to start Recovery Console.
  2. Run the following command to repair the corrupted NTFS partition:

    chkdsk driveletter : /p
  3. Type exit to quit Recovery Console, and then restart the computer

Again, if none of the above methods work, you may have to low level format/zero fill and reformat the corrupted NTFS partition. It is recommended that Disk Management be used to reformat the drive to reduce the chance of this problem reoccurring.

Additional Information:
Reference Microsoft KB article 228888



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