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Fresh Reinstall, showing two instances of XP

Last response: in Windows XP
December 27, 2008 1:34:41 PM

I just reinstalled Windows XP Home SP 2 and when it boots up, it has me pick from two instances of XP home. Basically looks like I am dual booting the same version of XP. Anyone know what causes this and what I should do to solve it?

December 27, 2008 6:48:57 PM

Either you have two instances of Windows XP installed to different directories or the boot.ini file contains a duplicate line.
December 27, 2008 7:42:47 PM

When you did the reinstall, you did a quick format of the hard drive. To remove the other OS from showing up, Right click 'my computer', click properties, go to advanced tab, click start up and recovery settings, click 'edit'. Maximize the window. Highlight the last line, delete it and save the notepad document. Next time you reboot, the old OS will be gone.
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December 27, 2008 9:33:28 PM

He didn't do a quick format... in fact, he didn't format at all. Even with a quick format, the hard drive would still be considered "blank" and another instance of XP wouldn't show up after the install was complete.

What you've done is reinstalled Windows without formatting... which means the previous install of Windows is still there. The new install went to a different folder and simply added another entry to the boot.ini. If you want to avoid this in the future, you either have to do a repair install or format the drive before reinstalling.
December 28, 2008 2:36:29 AM

Not necessarily. I've seen a Dell branded XP Home "reinstallation" CD that would produce a duplicate entry in the boot.ini. Apparently, Dell customized the unattended setup to assume two partitions, the first being the recovery partition. When the CD was used to clean install onto a hard drive with only one partition, it somehow resulted in a boot.ini that looked similar to this:

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

I never examined the customized unattended files to see exactly what was going on. Everything else seemed to install/function like a non-custom unattended setup would, so I just edited the boot.ini to remove the invalid entry.
December 28, 2008 2:42:34 AM

I reload Dells all the time... that's a new one on me. Of course, most of the time I reload is right after replacing a hard drive... so the drive is completely blank to begin with. I rarely get to reinstall due to software issues.
December 29, 2008 12:12:41 PM

It was in fact a dell and I used the reinstall disc i got with my computer to do it. I have done it on other dells and not had this problem. Looks like I need to get into that file and delete one of those lines. I have been booting up using the first selection upon startup, so should I just delete the second line in the file?

Thanks for the replies
December 29, 2008 12:35:39 PM

you can safely delete it.
mine had the same problem and it isnt a dell.
There is a chance that one of the switches at the end are different
but it shouldnt matter.
You can look up win.ini boot parameters in google to see which
switches are available.
The one listed above byTcsenter is standard.
December 29, 2008 12:52:53 PM

Just make certain you are deleting the appropriate entry. Does your system drive have one partition or more than one?
December 29, 2008 5:02:06 PM

I completely reformated the disc and then just made one partition and installed XP on that partition only.
December 29, 2008 7:44:22 PM

Then you'll want to leave entries alone that reference the following disk and partition numbering:

May 8, 2009 6:25:15 AM


I have the same problem. Here are my boot.ini entries:

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

Which of the two should I delete? And is there a clue to identify which one is to be deleted? The only difference I see is that the first one says "noexecute=optin" and the second one says "Execute." Does that mean something?

Thanks for your help :) 
May 10, 2009 11:12:31 PM

Do both options work, first of all? Because if they do, then it really doesn't matter which one you remove. However, the Windows.0 indicates that this is the second install and I would assume you reinstalled because your original Windows was screwed up somehow. If so... you have your answer.
May 11, 2009 5:50:58 AM

Hi, that's right. WINDOWS.0 is the second (new) install. I got it sorted by deleting the second entry in the boot.ini and by deleting the WINDOWS folder in C:\. I got it sorted the other day when I posted my query. But my bad, I forgot to update it here.
September 6, 2012 5:37:30 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey