Question about Windows XP boot.ini file modification?

Discussion in 'Windows XP Help and Support' started by MikeHawthorne, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
    Microsoft Community Contributor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    6,046
    Likes Received:
    300
    Hi Guys.

    I haven't had a Windows XP question in a lot of years.

    My friend Paul asked my to come over and upgrade his Dell computer to 2 Gigs of ram.

    I did that and it booted and worked fine, but I noticed that only half of his hard drive was available.

    I said where is the rest of your hard drive, it shows under 60 Gigs and Belarc says it's a 120 Gig drive. He's been complaining about not having enough space.

    He also has Ubuntu installed in a dual boot setup but seldom uses it.

    I went to Disk Management and found that he had three partitions one small one of about 6 gigs.

    The other 2 each took roughly half of his hard drive.

    One was the Windows drive and the other was identified as Unrecognized.

    I figured the small one was Ubuntu and the other one was, who know what but not usable.

    He agreed so I created a new partition on it and closed disk manager.

    Everything worked great the drives were visible and functional.

    Later we rebooted while updating his graphics drivers and a screen came up saying Grub Error.

    I looked it up on his IPad and found this happens when you delete Linux without modifying the boot file first.

    Apparently another friend of his who had installed Ubuntu had partitioned the hard drive in half and put Ubuntu on it making it unusable in Windows.

    I got the same error when I tried to run repair but it allowed me to install XP on the now empty H:\ drive, so I wouldn't overwrite his data.

    As soon as I did this it booted with an option to boot into either version of XP.
    This was great, it recovered his original install and all his data intact.

    So I finally get to my question, I found out you can't use EasyBCD in Windows XP and he want's to get rid of the new install, and forget about Linux.

    I found the boot.ini file on the correct drive with his old Windows installation.

    Here it is.....

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    I'm guessing that if make sure which one of these is the one that starts the new installation and delete it, I'll be all set and can delete the new install.

    But I thought I'd ask here first, just to make sure that I'm right?

    So if I just remove the entry...

    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    I'll look in Disk Management to make sure which one is really partition (1) and which is partition (2) the disks have names so I can tell which is the old install.

    It will boot directly into his original installation, right?

    Thanks for the help...

    Mike
     
  2. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    13,845
    Likes Received:
    833
    Hi Mike:
    It should be obvious to you at this point that you are currently booting into
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect
    as that is the location indicated in the "default=" line of the boot dot ini file
    before you make any change you can (and probably should) alter this line to choose the other boot option
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
    If that is the one that holds the preferred version of your OS.
    You alter the "default=" line to pick the one you want as the default boot
    and then and only then should you delete the other line from the boot.ini file
    Deleting an option before changing the default line to reflect your preference would likely leave your machine unbootable.
    Make a copy of the XP boot files. I use to keep them on a floppy back in the day
    ntldr, ntdetect.com, boot.ini (are the three primary ones that you need to have) bootsect.dos (for dual booting) and ntbootdd.sys (for some scsi adapters).
    Hope this helps.
    Good luck and keep us posted
    Randy
     
  3. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
    Microsoft Community Contributor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    6,046
    Likes Received:
    300
    Hi Randy

    Thanks for the info, I think that partition 1 is the old install, the one that we want to keep.
    It's the one that comes second in the list when we boot up, it will default to the new install if we don't do anything.

    When I get back over there I will be able to tell for sure because the disk with the new install is named Games and I will be able to see it in disk manager.

    So if I understand you correctly I should change the boot.ini file to read like this....

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    Then boot the computer and make sure it boots with the defualt OS as the original one.

    Then modify the file to look like this...

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

    Make sure it boots into the original install and then delete the new installation.

    Am I right..

    Just out of curiosity what does the "/noexecute=optin /" command do? Stop it from booting to the second option without input from the user?

    Mike
     
  4. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
    Microsoft Community Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    15,157
    Likes Received:
    393
    You can check the reference for an answer. But for some reason I seem to remember that switch might have been used with a dual boot situation. It has just been too long since I was doing the Linux dual boot with XP.

    A detailed description of the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) feature in Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, and Windows Server 2003
     
  5. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    13,845
    Likes Received:
    833
    Looks like you have got it down now.
    As I said I always used to keep copies of the boot files (especially boot.ini) somewhere that I could easily get to, in case I needed to copy them back to the root of C:, because I had screwed things up.
    Here's an article on the noexecute=optin parameters that are included on the option line that you are referring to from MSDN. It explains it better than I ever could.
    /noexecute
     
  6. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
    Microsoft Community Contributor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    6,046
    Likes Received:
    300
    Hi

    Thanks again for the help guys.

    I read through the info on "noexecute" I understood about 20% of it, but I think I was right in my guess to start with.

    I will create boot.ini files in all of the versions and take them with me when I go over to Paul's.
    Then I will just load them in the correct order and keep rebooting until we are done.

    Looks pretty low risk but I will take my Ubuntu disk along as well.

    If the worst happens and it won't boot for some reason, I can use Ubuntu to restore the .ini file to the previous version.

    Once I boot into the original Windows directly I should be safe to go, but just to be super safe I'll just rename the new Windows directory and reboot first before I delete it.

    I don't know how with my "You Can't be Too Safe" approach I get my self in so much trouble. LOL
    But I've been doing it for years.

    I have to brag a little, even though I've caused most of my problems myself, I've never had to take my computer some place to be fixed or had some one come here to do it. Some how I've always manged to get it right in the end, clear back to my first computer.

    Now I'm knocking on wood.

    Mike
     

Share This Page

Loading...