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Old 02-26-2009, 02:20 PM
 
1,597 posts, read 1,689,489 times
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Have recently noticed the following message flash on my screen when rebooting or doing a cold start of my computer....

invalid boot.INI
loading from c:\windows


Can anyone tell me what's going on and advise me about how to handle this? Is it a problematic issue I need to address immediately? My computer proceeds to start normally, and I encounter no problems online, and nothing odd is happening while running various programs or performing tasks.

I've noticed there is no longer a boot.ini tab when running msconfig, so I don't know how to handle this. Would this have possibly been caused by a virus? Running a virus scan comes back clean. Any thoughts?

I have Windows XP home edition, if that helps. If any other info is needed, let me know. Thanks.
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:36 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,717 posts, read 11,305,024 times
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You probably don't have anything to worry about with this file missing, because you are only using one configuration and one operating system. However, if you want to try to fix it, you could Right click My Computer, then select Properties. Click on the Advanced Tab and Then Startup and Recovery. At that point, you can select "Edit" to manually edit the boot.ini file. Most of them look something like this:

[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" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

If I have occassion to edit one, I usually shorten the timeout to a smaller number.

You could also copy and past this into a Notepad file and save it to the root directory as boot.ini.

How did you lose that file, anyway?
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post

How did you lose that file, anyway?
I don't have the foggiest idea. In fact, I'm not sure when it might have happened. I usually put my computer on stand-by, or hibernate, when I'm going to be away from it for a while. If I did it I don't know when or even how, because I don't usually mess around in those system folders where it would normally be located.

Today, I'm noticing certain settings have been screwed up and I'm starting to wonder what's going on. I've run Hijack This...it's fine. I've run Malwarebytes...it's clean. Avira AntiVir isn't alerting me to anything. I've cleared my browser cache, cleaned my registry and done all the usual maintenance/diagnostic stuff...nothing is out of the ordinary.

It's reassuring to know it's probably not something to worry about. But I'll try your fix anyway. I presume it's safe to change the "Professional" part to "Home Edition"...?

EDIT: I just did a local search on my computer for "boot.ini" and it located a backup file in my C:\WINDOWS\pss folder. I opened it in Notepad and it said virtually the same thing you posted...exception being it has "Home Edition" listed. Can I copy that and follow the instructions you gave me above, or does it no longer matter as long as I have a backup?

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by aquila; 02-26-2009 at 05:54 PM.. Reason: Adding addendum to my post
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:31 PM
 
Location: GLAMA
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If you copy it as boot.ini to the root of C drive, the annoying message will stop.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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That worked. Thanks, I appreciate the help.

Last edited by aquila; 02-26-2009 at 11:59 PM..
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:12 AM
 
Location: Amelia View
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aquila - not that it actually matters now, and not saying this is what happened to your machine, but I experienced something similar after a windows update occurred. I have XP Media Center edition, but after the update I started seeing XP Professional in some rem statements here and there.
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Old 02-27-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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Hmmm...I wouldn't know if a Windows update would cause it to happen or not. I did go from SP2 to SP3 recently, though I wouldn't be able to say if that's when the file was deleted. It may have been - I don't know. Sad to say I just don't know when it may have happened, because I don't usually cold start or reboot my system that often, and when I do I don't generally pay attention to the screen until my desktop appears. I guess I need to be more alert. I simply don't recall doing anything on my own that would have deleted it.

At any rate, it's fixed now - and the computer is actually running smoother now at startup.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,540 posts, read 55,453,855 times
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It wouldn't be a bad idea to do a full backup now. When hard drives start to go bad, a common symptom is having small files disappear. This is a common enough sign that my ticketing software has a "canary" file that will disappear prior to any serious damage occurring.

Essentially what happens is that the speed of the disk varies just slightly and the actuator reads at the wrong location. The problem is extremely transient at first, and sometimes goes away, but I have found that if my "canary" file is lost more than a couple times in a month, the hard drive will usually fail within the next two months.

FWIW, there were a batch of Seagate hard drives in the late 1990s that were bad for failing like this, so much so that I had to spec. Western Digital drives for a while.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:35 PM
 
1,597 posts, read 1,689,489 times
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Well, I backed up anyway...just because that's me being paranoid. I had a lot of photos and various files I didn't want to lose if something happened. But I really kinda doubt it's the hard drive getting ready to tank on me. I'm not completely discounting that as a possibility, because I know anything can happen...I just think it's unlikely. I haven't been using it all that long. I bought it back around 2004...something like that, but I didn't install it right away. I just kept it on hand as a replacement for whenever I thought I might need it. I'm not encountering any other issues of note, but the fact that you've mentioned Seagate gives me some concern, because it is a Seagate drive.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:43 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
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If my memory serves me right, those drives that failed (I'm thinking 2000-2001) were 20 GB drives. We found them in many, many HP Vectra computers and had to get warranty replacements.
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