Edit the Boot.ini File in Windows XP

SUMMARY
This article describes how to view and manually configure the Boot.ini file in Windows XP from within the Startup and Recovery dialog.

In Windows XP, you can quickly and easily locate the Boot.ini to verify and/or edit the file.

It is suggested to backup the Boot.ini file before editing. The first tasks will involve modifying folder option so as to view hidden files and then backing up the Boot.ini file.

Save a Backup Copy of Boot.ini
1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
-or-
In Control Panel, start the Performance and Maintenance tool, and then click System.
2. On the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
3. Under System Startup, click Edit. This opens the file in Notepad ready for editing.
4. In Notepad, click File on the Menu bar, and then click Save As.
5. Right click in an empty area of the Save As dialog box, point to New in the Context menu, and then click Folder.
6. Type a name for the new folder, for example temp, and then press the ENTER key to create the folder named temp.
7. Double-click the new folder named temp, and then click the Save button to save a backup copy of the Boot.ini file.

Edit the Boot.ini File
To view and edit the Boot.ini file:
1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
-or-
In Control Panel, start the Performance and Maintenance tool, and then click System.
2. On the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
3. Under System Startup, click Edit.

Sample Boot.ini File
This is a sample of a default Boot.ini file from a Windows XP Professional computer.
[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOW S
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Micro soft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
This is a sample of the above Boot.ini file after adding another partition running Windows 2000 Professional.
[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOW S
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windo ws XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect

Modifying the Boot.ini
While you can modify the Boot.ini file using the Startup and Recovery dialog, where you can select the default operating system, change the timeout value, or manually edit the file, the following method uses the command line utility, Bootcfg.exe.
1. Click Start, and then click Run.
2. In the Open text box, type cmd.
3. At the command prompt, type bootcfg /?.
4. The help and parameters for BOOTCFG.exe will display.

Adding an Operating System
At the command prompt, type:
bootcfg /copy /d Operating System Description /ID#
Where Operating System Description is a text description (e.g. Windows XP Home Edition), and where # specifies the boot entry ID in the operating systems section of the BOOT.INI file from which the copy has to be made.

Removing an Operating System
At the command prompt, type:
bootcfg /delete /ID#
Where # specifies the boot entry ID that you want to be deleted from the operating systems section of the BOOT.INI file (e.g. 2 for the second Operating system that is listed.

Setting the Default Operating System
At the command prompt, type:
bootcfg /default /ID#
Where # specifies the boot entry id in the operating systems section of the BOOT.INI file to be made the default operating system.

Setting the Time Out
At the command prompt, type: bootcfg /timeout# Where # specifies the time in seconds after which default operating system will be loaded.

Open the Boot.ini File to Verify Changes
1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
-or-
In Control Panel, start the Performance and Maintenance tool, and then click System.
2. On the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
3. Under System Startup, click Edit.

APPLIES TO
? Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition
? Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition