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Last Updated December 10, 2003

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Windows 2000 Boot.ini Configuration Resources

The Boot.ini file is used by Windows NT (specifically, Ntldr) to determine the operating system options to display during the startup (boot) process. Knowing how to edit and modify the boot.ini file is a critical skill when recovering from drive failures, and is required knowledge to pass the Microsoft Exams.
Where to Start...

A Discussion About the Bootcfg Command and Its Uses
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 291980 - This article discusses the bootcfg command and its uses. The bootcfg command is a Windows XP and Whistler Recovery Console command that manipulates the Boot.ini file. This command has a function that can scan your hard disks for Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Microsoft Windows XP installations, and then add them to an existing Boot.ini file or rebuild a new Boot.ini file, if one does not exist. The bootcfg command enables additional Boot.ini file parameters to be added to existing or new entries.

Purpose of the BOOT.INI File
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 99743 The Boot.ini file is used by Windows NT (specifically, Ntldr) to determine the operating system options to display during the startup (boot) process. Boot.ini is flagged as a read-only, system file by default and should not require any manual modification.

Windows NT© and the BOOT.INI
This document explains how to modify NT©s Boot.ini to correctly reflect the location of the NT partition. The Boot.ini file will incorrectly reflect the location of the NT partition if you use PartitionMagic?s Copy feature to copy an NT partition or if you use Drive Image to copy a partition. In these cases, the Boot.ini will reflect the position of the original partition and need to be updated to reflect the new position. Source: PowerQuest

Focus on Windows NT - The Boot.ini file
Source: About.com

What switches can be used in Boot.ini
Source: NTFAQ.com

Boot.ini Switches and Syntax references
Boot.ini Option Reference
The most complete BOOT.INI option reference available outside of Microsoft. Source: SysInternals

ARC Names and the Boot.ini explained
Useful options in the BOOT.INI can be used to debug a system and for fault finding. Source: i386.com

Windows 2000 May Use Signature() Syntax in the Boot.ini File
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 227704 After you install Windows 2000, you may notice that the Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) path entry in the Boot.ini file starts with "signature()" syntax. For example:  signature(8b467c12)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(2)\winnt="description" 

BOOT.INI and ARC Path Naming Conventions and Usage
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 102873 Explains the conventions in the Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) specifications that are used to define the path to a Windows NT installation on Intel x86-processor-based computers and RISC-based computers.

Safe-Mode Boot Switches for Windows 2000 Boot.ini File
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 239780 Windows 2000 includes a Safe-mode boot feature. To use this feature, press F8 during boot and then choose the Safe-mode boot mode you want to use. There are also switches that you can use to make any of these modes available in the Boot.ini (updated 12/29/99) 
How to Articles

How to Disable Detection of Devices on Serial Ports
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 131976 Explains how to modify the Boot.ini file to disable the detection of devices on COM ports. When you start Windows NT, NTDETECT searches for the pointing device (usually a mouse). In the course of this process, data is sent to the serial (COM) ports. If a serial mouse is detected, Windows NT disables the port so a device driver for the mouse can load instead. If a device is not detected, Windows NT disables the port. A disabled COM port does not display any information in Control Panel Ports. 

How to Hide Boot.ini Entries from Displaying After Multiple Installations
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 160899 You can hide additional installations of Windows NT from showing up in the boot menu, but still gain access when you need to. (updated 1/25/00) 

How to Hide Boot.ini Entries from Displaying After Multiple Installations
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 160899 -  You can hide additional installations of Windows NT from showing up in the boot menu, but still gain access when you need to. (updated 8/14/2000)

How to Modify Boot.ini Using Sysdiff
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 163914 When you use Sydiff.exe in your deployment of Windows NT Server and Windows NT Workstation, you may notice that it does not propagate the changes to the Boot.ini file, even though it does note the modifications to the file between the /snap command and the /diff command. 

Modifying the Boot.ini File to Enable Kernel Debugging
Boot.ini is a system text file that lists the operating systems that can be started, the default operating system to start, and a timeout value specifying how long to wait before automatically starting the default operating system. Source: Citrix

Troubleshooting

Boot Menu Is Not Displayed and Timeout Value Is Not Used
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 242443 - If you install Windows 2000 on a computer with no other operating system installed, no Boot menu is displayed when you start the computer. Windows 2000 starts automatically without pausing to display any choices. Changing the Timeout value in the Boot.ini file does not have any effect. (updated 1062000)

Boot.ini File Contains Previous Boot Options
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 225997 After you start your computer with the four Windows 2000 boot floppy disks, delete all the partitions on your hard disk, and reformat the drive, the Boot.ini file displays the previous boot options. (updated 12/29/99) 

BOOT.INI Not Cleaned Up After Repartitioning
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 141188 The boot menu presented to you at boot up by the Windows NT OS loader is not cleaned up after you repartition your boot drive and the following conditions are met: (updated 1/21/00) 

BOOT.INI Required for Repair Process w/o Emergency Repair Disk
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 139894 BOOT.INI Required for Repair Process w/o Emergency Repair Disk (updated 1/20/00) 

Err Msg: Windows NT Could Not Start...
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 162330 This behavior can occur if the arcpath statement in the Boot.ini file uses all uppercase characters. For example: 
MULTI(0)DISK(0)RDISK(0)PARTITION(1)\NT40="Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00" 

Max Number of Lines in [Operating Systems] of Boot.ini is 10
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 141707 The maximum number of lines in the [operating systems] section of the Boot.ini file in Windows NT is 10. If you add an 11th line (or more), only lines 1 through 10 will be seen during the boot phase of Windows NT. (updated 1/26/00) 

Users Group Members Can Modify Boot.ini When Installing Windows 2000 on a FAT Partition
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 227623 - When an ordinary user who is a member of the Users group is installing Windows 2000 on a drive using the FAT file system, that user can edit the Boot.ini file and save the changes. (updated 10/20/2000) 

 

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