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Old 15th February 2009   #1
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Missing boot.ini error


Because of the way I upgraded to XP from 98 years ago, my boot drive became "F" instead of C. It was and still is, physically the C system drive as under 98. I have three internal drives and the other two are now C and D under XP. Again, drive F has been the system and boot drive for quite a few years. Since yesterday I have been getting an error message saying "invalid boot.ini, booting from C/windows." Then the system continues to boot normally. There is No Windows Directory on the C drive, so what is the system booting from???

It seems that I should probably be concerned about this message. Any ideas what is going on and what steps I should take?

Thanks... Bob

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Old 16th February 2009   #2
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Your boot.ini is either corrupt or missing. The XP boot process will default to the root of the C: drive when that happens and will look for the bootloader files there. Evidently they are there since your boot process completes. Those files are ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini.

Post the contents of the boot.ini file that is on your C: drive here if you need help editing it.

Since there is a degree of risk when editing the boot.ini file of an NTFS based system, you should cover yourself against getting locked out of the system. One way of doing that is to have a bootable floppy or CD that has an editor for the boot.ini file. You can get one HERE.

You can also use the Recovery Console but it's not as easy.


Last edited by surferdude2; 16th February 2009 at 21:08.
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Old 16th February 2009   #3
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Thanks Surferdude2... west coast or east coast? Any way there was no boot.ini on my F drive, I tried copying the one from C over, but that didn't help. The one on C appears to be empty. I guess I will have to try creating a new file. Done it before, but so long ago, can't remember what I did. I will try your download editor. Luckily I have a full drive backup, but it is from a month ago, and some new programs and files would have to be updated if I restore from that. I also have copies of the new stuff, but it means a lot of work.
Thanks

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Old 16th February 2009   #4
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OK Bob,

Perhaps I can save you a little time. From what I get from your post, your boot.ini should look like this:

Code:
[boot loader]
timeout=5
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS="XP Home" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
Put that on the root of the C: drive. Get the editor first, just to cover your hind side.

With the ARC Path convention, your first HD = drive 0, the second = drive 1, and the third = drive 2. I think your XP system is on drive 2 (your third drive), hence my suggested boot.ini with rdisk(2) in it.

West coast.


Last edited by surferdude2; 16th February 2009 at 23:05.
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Old 16th February 2009   #5
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Still problems. I made a floppy of your editboot.ini. The exe file would only work if I booted from the floppy... so OK I chose first the F disk, and then the C disk. In each case the program infomed me that it couldn't open the file. I have tried editing with Notepad, but when I open the file, there is nothing there. I don't understand the message booting from C:\windows since there is no windows directory on C. I have searched both drives for boot.ini, but only found the two seemingly empty files in the root directories. They read 0 bytes in size. Sure hate to have to restore the whole drive.

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Old 16th February 2009   #6
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Oops my last post was before I saw you latest message.

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Old 16th February 2009   #7
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I think the boot floppy is working correctly, you just don't have any recognizable file for it to edit.

Go ahead and construct and place the one I posted above. I'm 99% sure it's what you need. Just copy the code and paste it in Notepad, save as C:\boot.ini. If you get a refusal to allow saving since there is already a file with that name, you may have to change the attribute of the existing file to remove the possible "Read Only" designation.


Last edited by surferdude2; 16th February 2009 at 23:17.
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Old 16th February 2009   #8
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I have assumed your XP system is using the NTFS file storage system. If not and you're using FAT32, the boot.ini editor isn't of any value. Of course, you can always edit FAT32 files with any DOS boot disk with an editor, such as an old Win98 boot disk.

The "Booting from C:\Windows" message is a standard MS message and doesn't cover all situations. That can be confusing and misleading at times.

The boot.ini edit disk I had you make may appear to have no files on it. That's normal and nothing to worry about. The data is contained on the boot sector. That applies to the CD. The floppy should show all the files, 19 total.


Last edited by surferdude2; 17th February 2009 at 00:03.
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Old 16th February 2009   #9
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To make it even more confusing, I checked my Bios boot disk order, and it indicates HDD3, of course I realize that designation isn't necessarily the same as windows uses. Yes I have NTFS. I will try your boot.ini text with notepad on C drive.

ps. ever hear of Mavericks? I live within easy walking distance.

I am going to take a break now, but I will let you know what happens... Thanks for all your time

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Old 17th February 2009   #10
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OK, I'll check back from time to time.

Good luck.

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Old 17th February 2009   #11
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woe is me. saving the new boot.ini file to c didn't help. on my second reboot, it faliled with the message 'missing root system32 hal.dll. I guess I will have to restore the drive from my backup.

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Old 17th February 2009   #12
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Before doing anything that drastic, download and make a Quick Boot floppy. Booting with it will give you a menu of all three drives and allow you to select each one until you get the one that boots to your XP system. Armed with that info, we can construct a properly scripted boot.ini file.

Get it here.

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Old 17th February 2009   #13
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ok, i'll give it a try. I have already tried to boot all the different drives through changing the boot order in bios. get the same message about the missing dll every time. i'm on my laptop now, and luckily i have an external floppy drive for it.

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Old 17th February 2009   #14
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when i tried to downoload your file i got a trojan warning citing:
Win32:Swizzor-gen [Trj]
if you tell me that it is ok, i will try again tomorrow

cheers
Bob

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Old 17th February 2009   #15
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Wow


Thank you.

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