Help! I deleted my menu.lst file

I have had a dual boot XP-vista desktop operating fine for a couple of years.
Recently it wouldn't boot into Vista but XP was fine. As I had hidden the Vista partition from XP I downloaded Easy BCD to try to make it visible to transfer docs and pics over to XP.

I tried to configure NeoGrub to hide/reveal Vista but must have entered wrong partition details so it didnt boot.

I deleted the menu.lst file in NST and now I cant get into windows at all!

Can anyone help me please? Is there a way I can recreate the file through the BASH option?

Ultimately I will reformat drive with Vista but need to get XP loading to try to recover my files from Vista.



Super Moderator
Staff member
Have you tried startup repair from a vista dvd/recovery disc? The command you're looking for in regards to grub is "unhide (hdx,y)" where x refers to hard disk and y refers to partition. Optionally, download and burn a gparted live cd to unhide the partition and than try startup repair if its still not working.
With EasyBCD installed on XP you can rewrite the Vista mbr from there using the restore Vista mbr option. It wouldn't be GParted but a live distro like ubuntu or Knoppix to use in order to copy+paste files over from the Vista drive onto the XP while booted live from cd.

I regularly keep a few releases of ubuntu onhand for just these occasions when a Windows system won't boot and files need to copied from one drive to another.

Thanks very much for this advice. The Vista DVD cant repair my boot issue but I will look at the Ubuntu option later. Thank you for prompt advice


Super Moderator
Staff member
Try gparted first and see if you can save your Vista install instead of taking the last resort approach.
You could always create another file in Notepad, and name it "menu.lst" without the quotes, and then simply copy it over into your NST folder on the Vista partition, which will function the same way as the original NeoGrub menu.lst did. Since i assume you are on a different computer right now, simply create the file there, and put it on a removable device (e.g. a flash drive or external HDD), and then while booting with the Ubuntu LiveCD (which would also work in place of the Gparted CD, since Gparted is included in the ISO of Ubuntu 8.10), simply plug in the external device, and copy the file over onto your Vista partition.

Copy and save this in your Notepad application:

# NeoSmart NeoGrub Bootloader Configuration File
# This is the NeoGrub configuration file, and should be located at C:\NST\menu.lst
# Please see the EasyBCD Documentation for information on how to create/modify entries:
# EasyBCD Documentation Home - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

#This is a comment. Comments are prefixed with a '#'

default 0 #Pick the task to be run if the user doesn't pick one within the time limit.
timeout 10 #Give the user 10 seconds to choose a task.

#We use the "title" keyword to indicate a new entry in the menu.

title Windows XP #This is our first entry - it's number 0
find --set-root /NTLDR #Search for NTLDR on all partitions. Once found, use that partition as root.
makeactive #Make this the active partition
chainloader /NTLDR #Run NTLDR, the Windows XP bootloader
#If we're using a menu, we don't need to use the `boot` command - it's automatically implied.

#That's it!
Now reboot, and your XP OS should boot as normal. And while in the Live session, if you unhid your Vista partition, you will now see that booting as well! :smile:

Cheers! :brows:



You can download the Ubuntu Desktop CD (also known as a LiveCD) from here:

And then you can burn it to a CD with InfraRecorder:

Hope it helps! :smile:

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