Dell latitude c400 pp03l



I have a Dell latitude c400. It has no floppy drive and no CR-Rom. When I turned it on the other day, it gave me a NTLDR is missing (press ctrl-alt-del to restart) error. I looked on the net and found it’s a simple fix to install the file. However without a cd drive or floppy, I believe I am the owner of a laptop sized paper weight. Anyone have an idea how I might fix this? The error comes up immediately on startup and does not allow the computer to access the USB port yet. I tried my USB cd rom and a USB flash drive. NO LUCK. :doh:


Post moved to the [I]Newbie forum[/I] from the [I]Living Room[/I].


Can you go into your bios/setup and change the boot device order to usb first?


Yes if that option is given to you in the bios.



My options to boot from are:

internal hdd
cd/dvd/cd-rw drive
cardbus NIC
Diskette drive
onboard NIC
module bay cable HDD
C/port II or C/Dock II NIC
C/Dock or C/Dock II top PCI slot NIC
C/Dock II bottom PCI slot NIC

I’ve tried the HDD and the USB cd rom. The computer doesn’t even have a place for a floppy drive and I dont know if it’s possible to use any of the others. I have a network I can connect to if need be, but not sure how to boot from it. Hope this makes sense… Also, I have no docking station…


First the bad news. None of your options are going to be easy, but it is possible to get your laptop running again. Doing a network boot is a pain, your onboard NIC has to support Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE). if it doesn’t this option is off the table. Your second choice is to buy (they are inexpensive) a 2.5in. to 3.5in. ide adapter. They can be found at newegg, I bought mine from RadioShack made buy Cables To Go, it’s a good one which I’ve used at least twenty times. You will also need access to a working PC, preferably a windows xp box (assuming you’re laptop has xp). You’ll have to remove the hard drive from the laptop and connect it to an ide cable of the working pc. If you get that far, you might get by with just copying the NTLDR from the i386 folder to your laptop drive, replace the drive and see if it boots. If you have to do a complete install of windows it will be problematic because of the difference in hardware between your laptop and the pc. I’ve managed to do this successfully on an old Panasonic Toughbook by disabling whatever I could in the bios of the host pc and doing a minimum install of xp. I will say though that it doesn’t always work. Another option is to install one of the lightweight linux distro’s, Puppy, Damn Small Linux, Vector (I’ve had good results with Vector). TinyMe, there are many. Maybe you have data on the laptop drive that you really need to keep, I don’t know, but if you choose the adapter route you will at least be able to recover your data. Don’t give up hope, maybe someone else on this board has an easier solution for you. Good luck


Thanks Whappo,
i got the cable off Ebay and a cd drive with it… It worked great… Thanks for the help