Windows NT Does Not Boot to a Partition That Starts More Than 4 GB into Disk

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Article ID: 197295 - View products that this article applies to.
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X86-based computers running Windows NT do not start if the "multi()" syntax is used in the Boot.ini file and the first sector of the partition to which Windows NT is installed is 4 GB or more into the disk. That is, if the cumulative size of other partitions and unpartitioned free space before the partition to which Windows NT is installed is greater than or equal to 4 GB.

One of the following error messages is displayed in this situation:
Boot record signature AA55 not found (25EB found) Windows NT could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows NT documentation about hardware disk
configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information.
Windows NT could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: Windows NT Root\System32\Ntoskrnl.exe


This error is caused by a miscalculation that takes place during the boot sequence where Windows NT is attempting to compute the starting location of the partition to which Windows NT is installed.


To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows NT 4.0. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
152734 How to Obtain the Latest Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack

To resolve this issue if you received an error message about a missing Ntoskrnl.exe file, extract a new copy of this file.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Windows NT version 4.0. This problem was first corrected in Windows NT version 4.0 Service Pack 5.


This problem can be avoided by using the "scsi()" syntax in the Boot.ini file because a different code-path is invoked that does not include the mathematical errors encountered when using the "multi()" syntax. For more information about the Boot.ini file, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

102873 BOOT.INI and ARC Path Naming Conventions and Usage


Article ID: 197295 - Last Review: October 11, 2013 - Revision: 1.2
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
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