Unable to Find Boot Program Ph_exec.exe in Real-Time Target

Updated Dec 9, 2022

Reported In


  • PXI Controller

Operating System

  • NI Linux Real-Time

Issue Details

When my Real-Time system boots, I see an error that displays:


Unable to find boot program c:\ph_exec.exe. Booting into Safe Mode…


  1. Connect to your controller from the host PC and load software to the target using NI MAX. Find the steps to do so here: How Do I Format My Real-Time Target and Reinstall the Software?
  2. If you have trouble discovering your device in NI MAX, follow the guide: NI Networked Device Doesn't Show Up or is Missing in MAX

Additional Information

This indicates that the Pharlap executable isn't present in the controller's disk. It means there is no software loaded in the Real-Time operating system, and it usually appears when the controller is booted up for the first time from factory settings, or when it is formatted.


The file can also be missing in the host computer, in which case it will display an error message stating the file can't be found when installing software to the target.