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Fatal Startup Solutions

invalid boot.ini file Booting from C:\windows\


Either the BOOT.INI file is missing or damaged.  This file controls the boot process in Windows XP/2003. It is not used in Windows Vista or later versions of Windows.

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invalid boot.ini file Booting from C:\windows\

  Key Facts  
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  invalid boot.ini file Booting from C:\windows\ 

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  XP, 2003

  Microsoft Corporation
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Fix Boot.ini (XP/2003)
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If the Boot.ini file points off to the wrong partition or drive, this error can occur.

If you have Fix-It Utilities Professional or SystemSuite Professional, we suggest using it's BOOT.INI repair tool as it is much faster and deals with some special situations. Simply boot from the Rescue CD or diskette and at the menu, select BootFixer. Remove the CD and select Exit.

To fix Boot.ini using the Windows boot CD:

  1. Boot from your bootable XP/2003 installation CD and go into the XP Recovery Console. Follow our guide and you'll end up at a command prompt.
  2. At the prompt, type: bootcfg /rebuild
  3. This will locate any XP installations and display them. At the prompt Add installation to boot list? enter Y and press Enter.
  4. Next it asks for you to enter the text to use for the OS Enter Load Identifier. For example type Windows XP Professional and press Enter.
  5. One last prompt asks you to Enter OS Load Options. Type /Fastdetect and press Enter. (View Boot.ini options at Microsoft).
  6. Remove the boot CD and type Exit and press Enter.

If the BOOT.INI was the cause of the problem, Windows will boot normally.

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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 6-Oct-2008
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  Technical Details  
  technical details

The BOOT.INI is a hidden file that resides in the root directory of your boot drive, typically c:.  Early in the boot process, NTLDR reads the contents of the BOOT.INI file to determine where to extract the remaining Windows startup files. The contents of a typical BOOT.INI file will appear similar to:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

The timeout is the number of seconds to make a selection if there is more than one choice. For most users, you only have one OS, so the timeout is ignored.

The base part of the default and operating system lines are critical to making Windows boot properly. The following components are used for all IDE/ATA/Serial ATA systems:

mult(x)disk(0) - this specifies the controller number. In 99.9% of the cases the controller is 0. Multi is always followed by disk(0) no matter what disks you have.

diskr(y) - this specifies the disk drive for Windows, where 0 is the first disk (the most common), 1 for the second disk, etc.

partition(z) - this specifies the partition on the disk where the counting starts at 1.  Most users only use a single partition, so 1 is normally the correct value. 

(Notes from Microsoft on Editing BOOT.INI)

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