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Boot up problem

Last response: in Windows XP
January 7, 2012 6:02:46 PM

Hello, I'm hoping someone can help.
I have an old Dell Dimension 3000 PC that was given me. It worked but I couldn't update the OS (Windows XP Home) suggesting a bogus system had been previous installed.
I have a XP Pro disc that I have used successfully elsewhere so I decided to try and install this OS and delete the existing.
All went well with the disc installation (included a complete hard drive disc re-format) but when it comes to the boot of the OS the system gets caught in a loop and a messages flashes up that reads
Invalid BOOT.INI file
Boot from C:\Windows\
NTDetect failed

so the bootup rejects the boot.ini and keeps trying and ends up in a loop.
I've got to Recovery using the installation disc again and to the prompt
C:/Windows> (slash might be other way around..)
and tried to edit 'bootcfg' using 'bootcfg /rebuild'.
I've now got four boot options under 'bootcfg /list' partly because of my fumbling, but there's only the one OS on the disc ie: XP Pro.
I don't understand why the bootup process doesn't stop and ask me which of the four boots I wish to use.
Anyone help?

More about : boot problem

January 7, 2012 9:05:01 PM

It sounds as if the boot.ini is missing from the hard drive.

I would just boot up from the cd and delete any partions and reinstall XP.
January 9, 2012 4:11:44 PM

danny2000 said:
It sounds as if the boot.ini is missing from the hard drive.

I would just boot up from the cd and delete any partions and reinstall XP.

Hi, and thanks. I was getting confused. I did a complete installation using the OS disc and this time chose the full re-formatting (not the 'quick' option) and this has re-defined the 'boot.ini' file.

I can get into the system prompt by taking the Recovery option on the installation disc and at the prompt if I run 'bootcfg /list' it now shows only one entry and it is this:

‘Microsoft Windows XP Professional’
‘OS Load Options: /fastdetect’
‘OS Location: C:\WINDOWS’

That seems OK, does it not? Does this not suggest that the 'boot.ini' is present on the C drive as per normal?

Yet at boot up I'm still getting this flash up briefly as it cycles:

Invalid BOOT.INI file
Boot from C:\Windows\
NTDetect failed

Any ideas?

Many thanks,


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January 9, 2012 4:40:25 PM

Does it load the o/s or is it rebooting?
January 9, 2012 4:57:06 PM

You can try a bootconfig /rebuild.
Did you delete all of the partitions on that hard drive?
January 9, 2012 5:09:24 PM

Your suspicions are correct! There is an option to delete all partitions before re-formatting and I didn't take this option, but rather the one that still appeared to re-format the whole disc but it's obviously not doing the same thing! My apologies. I've now got past the problem I had so I'll see how I get on now that the OS is installing.
Many thanks.
January 9, 2012 5:40:54 PM

It may have been a recovery or diagnostic partition; I have had problems reinstalling an o/s on a hard drive with those types of partitions on the hard drive.
January 9, 2012 5:47:21 PM

Glad I'm not the only one that comes up against obstacles! I'm a novice at this stuff but learning as I go. Still not installed Windows fully but will try to complete later.
January 10, 2012 11:18:37 PM

Hi Jim, Any further luck yet?
January 11, 2012 1:53:49 PM

Yep, thanks.
Looks like that tiny partition was the cause of the problem. Once I deleted it and re-formatted the complete disc (raw) all went well and the PC is up and running and after a great deal of updating is now good!
The small partition that was on the HDD fooled me as the option to 're-format the disc' didn't remove it and as it was so small it looked to me like I was indeed re-formatting the whole disc not just 99.5% of it! Live and learn I guess.
My next challenge is another PC I have that works but HDD is very small and I have another to put in as a slave - both older PCs and both HDDs are IDE variety.
Many thanks for your help. I appreciate it. J.
January 11, 2012 2:18:04 PM

Great, please choose to select my message as "best answer" so that it closes the topic on the board.
January 15, 2012 8:06:49 PM

Sorry I can't see how you do that!