Troubleshooting Startup Problems

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 28 Nov. 2006 / Last Updated on 28 Nov. 2006]

How to troubleshoot "missing or damaged system file" startup errors.

Another boot failure problem that can be difficult to troubleshoot is when you try and start your system and you get a message about an operating system file that is "missing or damaged." Often this does not mean your disk is corrupt or the file missing or damaged. Instead it may simply mean that you've changed your boot.ini file and now it no longer points to the right partition to start your system. So much for informative error messages!


Mitch Tulloch is President of MTIT Enterprises, an IT content development company based in Winnipeg, Canada. Prior to starting his own company in 1998, Mitch worked as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for Productivity Point International. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking and security and has written 14 books and over a hundred articles on various topics. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch is also a professor at Jones International University (JIU) where he teaches graduate-level courses in Information Security Management (ISM) for their Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. For more information see

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The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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