Windows XP boot.ini errors!

I still have my dinosaur home PC so I can't find my original Windows XP CD.  I get the error message 'INVALID BOOT.INI file" when I start the computer but it never goes into XP.  The error message just stares at me on that black page.  When I hit the space bar it tries to reboot all over again but I end up on the black page with the error message.  When I hit F12 during the attempted startup, I get some menu options but I don't know what the heck I'm doing so that hasn't really helped me either.  Could someone please tell me how to fix this problem?  Again, I do not have the Windows XP CD.  Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Question Info


Last updated July 17, 2019 Views 1,875 Applies to:

Press F8 repeatedly after restart to get advanced menu options, can you enter safe mode?

If you can, check your boot.ini file located in C:

click on My Computer, then local disk C: and your boot.ini file should show right there after all other files.

this is what it should look like for just one OS, (this is mine and I use xp pro)

[boot loader]
timeout=15
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

 

I also use the recovery console and safe mode in my boot.ini.

you can edit your boot.ini by right clicking, choose open, and edit if it does not say like above.

You should install the recovery console and you do not need your installation cd to do that just a working computer and a cd drive, follow the instructions here:

Here's how to  make a bootable xp recovery console cd

If you have no bootable XP media (or are not sure what you have) create a bootable XP Recovery Console CD and be sure what you have (no XP media required).

This is not the same as any recovery disks that might have come with a store bought system. 

You can make a bootable Recovery Console CD by downloading an ISO file and burning it to a CD.

The bootable ISO image file you need to download is called:

xp_rec_con.iso 

Download the ISO file from here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?ueyyzfymmig

Use a new CD and this free and easy program to burn your ISO file and create your bootable CD (do not install UniBlue or the Ask Toolbar - ever!):

http://www.imgburn.com/

Here are some instructions for ImgBurn:

http://forum.imgburn.com/index.php?showtopic=61

It would be a good idea to test your bootable CD on a computer that is working.

You may need to adjust the computer BIOS settings to use the CD ROM drive as the first boot device instead of the hard disk.  These adjustments are made before Windows tries to load.  If you miss it, you will have to reboot the system again.

When you boot on the CD, follow the prompts:

Press any key to boot from CD...

The Windows Setup... will proceed.

Press 'R' to enter the Recovery Console.

Select the installation you want to access (usually  1: C:\WINDOWS)

You may be asked to enter the Administrator password (usually empty).

You should be in the C:\WINDOWS folder.  This is the same as the 

C:\WINDOWS folder you see in explorer.

The Recovery Console allows basic file commands like: copy, rename, replace, delete, cd, chkdsk, fixboot, fixmbr, etc.

For a list of Recovery Console commands, enter help at the prompt or read about the XP Recovery Console here:

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/recovery_console_cmds.mspx?mfr=true

A good idea before starting things is to first verify the integrity of your file system using the chkdsk command.

From the command prompt window run the chkdsk command on the drive where Windows is installed to try to repair any problems on the afflicted drive.

Running chkdsk is fine even if it doesn't find any problems.  It will not hurt anything to run it.

Assuming your boot drive is C, run the following command:

chkdsk C: /r

Let chkdsk finish and correct any problems it might find.  

It may take a long time for chkdsk to complete or it may appear to be 'stuck'.  Be patient.  If the HDD light is still flashing, chkdsk is doing something.  Keep an eye on the percentage amount to be sure it is still making progress.  It may even appear to go backwards sometimes.

You should run chkdsk /r again until it finds no errors to correct.

Remove the CD and type 'exit' to leave the RC and restart the computer.

You do not have to adjust the BIOS again to boot on the HDD since the CD will not be present.

 

The above advice is from JoseIbarra.

post back and answer a few questions please, make and model of pc, current antivirus, OS and service pack.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_xp-system/invalid-bootini-file-message-when-starting-windows/1b329eec-ec6e-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5?tab=MoreHelp

also read the above thread please.

Dell Dimension 3000, Firefox, WinXP Pro/Sp3, 360 TSE by Qiho, MBAM

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If your system will not boot, you will not be able to edit the boot.ini file (duh!).

Like Contributor Elizabeth23 says, what you need to do is get into the XP Recovery Console...

That link to the instructions assumes your boot.ini is missing, but you can still boot, but that is not the case with you (from what I understand).

What you will end up having to do from RC is renaming your afflicted boot.ini to something else and then create a fresh boot.ini that is not afflicted.

Once you successfully get into RC and run the chkdsk  /r, we can help you with that part when you are ready.

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I appreciate the suggestions provided but like ElderL said, I can't get to the Windows (blue) screen, so I can't go to My Computer. Neither can I get the DOS prompt so I can't run the checkdisk command..  I can, however, get to the advanced menu options from pressing F8 during startup but EVERY option I select after that just takes me right back to the error message (black screen).  I was able to see the System Error Log and the last error mentioned something about memory size.  Is it possible that my 8 year old computer doesn't have enough memory to boot up?  Maybe someone downloaded something that has to startup when the computer boots....?...?  I also tried to run the Recovery Console cd (after changing the boot sequence to cd-rom) but ofcourse it didn't work. 

So...while I was in Best Buy purchasing a new laptop cause my 10-yr old needed a computer for her homework assignment, they offered to "wipe my old computer clean" so that I could start all over....WTF!! Anyway, I just need a sledge hammer at this point so that my confidential files on my dinosaur computer don't get compromised.  Glad I had a hard backup.

I think the only fix would have been to purchase the XP cd and use the directions from Elizabeth 23.  But even before this, my computer was locking up all the time and giving me pop-up messages that "Memory Usage is High".  "Looks like Another Love TKO" as Teddy Pendergrass would say.

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What you ought to do is use the directions from Elizabeth 23 and create a bootable XP Recovery Console CD (no XP media required).  Those directions start here:

Here's how to  make a bootable xp recovery console cd

Did you do that yet and if you did, what happens when you boot on it?

If you made a RC CD, did you try it in a computer that is not afflicted to be sure it works?

Once you get booted on that, you can run a chkdsk /r  on your HDD and create yourself a new boot.ini file that is not afflicted.

If you are/were seeing a message about "Memory Usage is High", that sounds like something coming from some kind of Norton/Symantec product and not from XP.

You are unlikely to find an XP CD t purchase, but you sure can try.

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Yeah, I created a bootable XP Recovery Console CD using Elizabeth 23's instructions above BUT I didn't test it on a working computer.  I'll do that next.

 

And you are correct - that pop-up error message was from Norton but the memory usage comment in the System Error Log was from the computer (from the menu after hitting F12 while booting up).

 

I'll let you know what happens when I try the RC cd on a working computer.

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