boot.ini problem in XP MC

I have used Acronis Backup to move a fresh install of XP from physical drive H: to a partition that I later renamed H. Then used EasyBCD to add an entry for Windows XP related to drive H.

However, booting to XP results in the message (that is on screen for only half a second):

"Invalid boot.ini file
Booting c:\windows\" then it simply resets the pc.

Original boot.ini settings were as follows:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\windows="Windows XP Media Center Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
I tried several variations such as disk (1)rdisk(1) part(1) since the partition H: is part of physical disk 1 (Drive C:smile: which contains Vistax64.

Drive 0 is Drive D, a storage drive.

What do I need to change to get XP to boot properly from the bootmenu?

Mak 2.0

Staff member
Okay so it should be disk 0 (Zero) since HDD numbering begins there. Now you just have to figure out the Part() number. So what partition is it installed on? That will help us figure this out.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Hi Pierce, welcome to NST.
leave disk at (0). rdisk could be (1) but if your D drive is IDE and your Vista/XP drive is SATA, then despite what disk management says the SATA disk will be rdisk(0) to the bootmgr.
The partition number will probably be worked out by counting from the left starting at partition(1), but if you have an extended partition with logical disks inside, remember to count the extended partition too.
If the extended partition comes before the primaries, it won't be 1 however, but probably 2, and the primary boot partition will be 1.
Hope you're following this ! The upshot is, it's very difficult to predict just how MS will have numbered these things, and trial and error is probably as fast a way as any.
Just leave multi and disk at (0) and play with the other 2.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Okay, you have Vista installed and placed XP on its own partition using a backup archive, rather then installing XP again using an installation disc. Which partition are you pointing to when you add the entry to boot XP (Vista or XP)?

Go to Disk Management and get a screenshot of the partitions and attach to a post here so we can help you adjust your boot.ini file/bcd entry.
I can take a screenshot later, not now because the drive order is messed. I had to plugin the old IDE drive that I cloned XP from in order to recover from several problems where Vista wouldn't boot yesterday. But once I remove that drive it will go back to the way it was:

Disk 0 is a storage drive, Seagate 500GB SATA marked as D.
Disc 1 is my boot drive C: -Vistax64- which is 2x SATA Raptors in Raid-0.
The partition I made for XP (H drive) is now part of physical drive 1, so I in terms of hard discs there are only C: D: and H:.

To me that means rdisk = 1 and paritition = 2 right? Since H is on physical disk 1, but "paritition 1" would be read as C:, and H: read as 2. Or are raid arrays not interpreted as IDE/SATA, and I have to change the multi value?

Also, someone told me I had to follow these instructions:

But method 1 didn't work at all. I will try method 2 in a moment. But I am not quite sure what that would do to help XP load, since my bcd was fine when i first tried to add XP, resetting it shouldn't change the outcome at all.

Thanks for all of your suggestions.
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*If* boot.ini is the problem and I wanted to repair it automatically, it wouldn't help. ie: bootcfg /rebuild. It won't because I would have to be in XP to do it.

If I try to boot XP it BSODs due to my RAID setup, and since XP is an oldbones PoS it won't allow for RAID drivers to be installed via CD or USB at that point, only via floppy, (and I don't have one available) or a slipstreamed copy (which is too much hassle).

Because making a partition on my storage drive is not an option, it means I have to run the repair with the IDE drive I had cloned from before as C:. But in doing so it detects my hard drives in a different order than Vista does, thus invalidating the boot.ini for Vista's bootloader.

This is why it must be manually corrected. However, I have tried all possible boot configurations by altering the rdisk and partition values. No combination allows XP to load in the Vista bootloader, which is why I suggested that maybe I have to change teh multi value due to RAID. Anyway I believe that that something else is the problem, not boot.ini, tho yes, I will have to have the proper settings when that problem is resolved.
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Mostly Harmless
Staff member
You're right, bootcfg is only the solution assuming that boot.ini is the problem.

But you don't run bootcfg from within XP - instead you boot into the recovery console on the xp cd and run bootcfg from there.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Well if it didn't work the first time, if probably won't work the second. You well need to find the third-party drivers and load them during setup/repair. XP CDs have been known to have issues installing on systems using SATA drives and RAID setups.

Perhaps you could manually attempt to rebuild boot.ini yourself? You could copy it from a working XP machine and just modify the partition/disk numbers to match the location of XP on the machine you're troubleshooting. Good way to tell at the moment whether or not your problem is actually boot.ini related.

I think though it is ultimately due to your current configuration. The IDE drive you cloned XP from is probably setup under a different configuration then your current RAID setup. No other steps we have given you well work except for a repair install. I would consider either installing a fresh copy of XP or continuing to use the IDE drive for it.

I can take a screenshot later, not now because the drive order is messed. I had to plugin the old IDE drive that I cloned XP from in order to recover from several problems where Vista wouldn't boot yesterday. But once I remove that drive it will go back to the way it was:
Did you have the IDE drive plugged in when you installed Vista? Perhaps Vista considered it the active partiton and dropped its boot files there. Disconnecting the drive in that case would of course make Vista unbootable.
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