Invalid Boot.Ini


Invalid Boot.Ini

Backed up Vista (using True Image 11) that was on 1st partition originally (this was some time ago) and then deleted Vista and installed XP pro SP3 instead. I now need to have Vista and XP dual booting so have started again. I backed up XP using True Image 11 and wiped drive.

Created two NTFS primary partitions.
Reinstalled my original Vista backup image to the 1st partition and the XP image to the 2nd partition. Vista boots perfectly. Installed EasyBCD 2 on Vista and added an XP entry. XP wont boot at all I get the Invalid boot.ini error and PC hangs blank screen. I guessed XP might not boot because its boot.ini file will have partition(1) as a parameter value. I know XP is there but cant see the XP partition or any of its files from Vista so cannot edit boot.ini manually.

Any suggestions?


EasyBCD 2.0 (Build 82) is installed on Vista.

Tools > Auto-Configure > Yes/No Msgbox says, "...boot.ini will be configured..." and clicking yes says in the status bar, "boot.ini has been successfully re-configured".

On reboot, Vista is listed as the default OS and XP below it. After selecting XP and entering error shows for 1 second:

"Invalid Boot.ini
Booting from C:\Windows"

Screen goes blank and PC hangs. And I make a another cup of tea.

Any suggestions?

I think this has to do with the fact that you cannot see the other partitions...

Why can Vista not see the XP partition?
Really dont know here why Vista wont show. Am looking into that right now. Using Acronis Disk Director I can view XP and all its files on the second partition so I know for certain it is there. Neither is the 2nd partition hidden. But without 3rd party software XP is non-visible.

Any ideas why XP cannot be seen from Vista?



Came across another of your many useful posts that suggested changing the drive letter in Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management by right-clicking the partition and assigning it a drive letter. When I got there the XP drive letter and name was blank. Puzzled as to why. I changed this to D: and XP became visible in Windows Explorer.

On reboot XP does now boot and the boot.ini error is gone. But, it only boots to the Blue Windows XP screen and hangs. It doesnt get as far as the Welcome screen.

Am looking into possible reasons.

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Because you've cloned XP to a new partition, it might have an internal conflict as to what letter it now assigns itself, compared to the historic entries in its registry.
Read this.
Update: After trying every which way I could not get XP to boot even after a repair from the XP SetUP disk so started again.

Second attempt: Wiped drive, created two NTFS primary partitions but this time restored XP to the 1st partition and Vista to the 2nd partition (the 1st attempt had Vista on 1st and XP on 2nd).

In XP using Computer Manager I assigned E: to the Vista install and made it active, that made Vista visible inside XP, and then rebooted and Vista booted successfully. By setting a partition active in Computer Manager in both XP and Vista either OS will boot successfully with no errors and all installations work perfectly with no errors at all. All great so far except no boot manager yet.

Introduce easyBCD 2 (build 82): Installed easyBCD into Vista, added XP Entry, made XP the default OS and rebooted. The Vista Boot Manager appears and almost successfully both XP and Vista will boot respectively. I say almost because when XP boots "Invalid boot.ini" displays for a second and then continues to boot into XP albeit successfully.

Auto-Configure boot.ini hasnt corrected the problem either.

Summary: Xp and Vista boot respectively using the Boot Manager but XP shows "Invalid boot.ini" when XP boots though it still boots successfully. Spiralling in the right direction here but not sure what to try next.

What does EasyBCD/tools/edit legacy entries show as the contents of boot.ini ?
Assuming you mean the boot.ini contents. Edit Legacy Entries shows "Cannot find boot.ini" Ok/Cancel MsgBox..."locate it manually in the next screen".

After locating the boot.ini:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

That's not a boot.ini created by Easy 2.
Have you been altering the "active" flag still, or is it permanently set on the Vista partition now.
I dont need to set the "set active" flag in Computer Manager now no. Only did that at first just to see if both partitions/OS's were bootable. The vista boot manager displays on boot up and XP and Vista both are listed and I can boot into whichever OS is selected. The boot.ini error prevails though during the XP boot up. I have not edited the boot.ini myself at all and only tried to auto-configure through easyBCD but that didnt seem to make any changes. And XP is visible from Vista.



This may be of some help in figuring out whats going on here.After reading your post again I booted into Vista and set the active flag to XP and rebooted and XP booted up and the invalid boot.ini has gone. Though the boot manager is not now displaying.



Many thanks Terry and Guru for taking an interest with prompt replies. Xp and Vista are both now running trouble free. I hope this may be of some use to someone else...

Vista was installed on a single partition hardrive and was then backed up using True Image (this creates a cloned image) and this image was stored on an external drive. Then the same was done with a copy of XP. On the external drive then were stored two cloned images one of Vista and one of XP.

The orignal harddrive was wiped and two NTFS partitions were created. The XP Image was restored to the first partition and the Vista image restored to the second partition. Without a boot manager yet installed XP and Vista booted naturally with no problems using the "Set Active" flags in Computer Management. In Vista easyBCD2(build 82) was installed and the boot.ini auto-configured. On rebooting the Vista Boot Manager loaded and XP and Vista were listed and both OS's booted successfully except when XP booted up an "Invalid boot.ini" error flashed on the screen for one second.

To get rid of this boot error, in XP the set active flag was again set to vista (the boot manager didnt then appear on reboot) and then in Vista the flag was again set to XP and then again on reboot the Vista Boot Manager appeared and both OS's could be booted successfully WITHOUT the boot.ini error.

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Can you post a Disk Management screenshot from Vista (details in the sticky)
Setting a partition active tells the MBR where to look for the boot manager.
You should not see the Vista bootmgr unless Vista is active.
You can't dual boot newer OSs from the XP NTLDR, so unless you've done something else to migrate the Vista boot manager to XP's partition, what you described should result in a single XP boot !
Terry, the Pc has gone to a new owner today so cannot get a screenshot. I was surprised it worked out the way it did. That is why I made my last post as clearly as possible. I was very careful what I did the second time through and did nothing else than stated in my last post.

Im not certain either why XP wouldnt boot during my first attempt when it was on the second partition. Ive done similar transplants before with no problems. Am guessing there was as you said an internal conflict with the boot drive letters since that article you pointed me to described that kind of symptom exactly. But if that is what happened there then why did vista boot ok when it was placed on the 2nd partition. I dont use Vista much so am not as familiar with it as I should be so dont know if Vista manages system and boot drive letters differently.


Yes it does. Both Vista and W7 will default to C: when installed from a booted DVD regardless of what other Windows systems already exist, whereas XP will take the next available letter if it detects another Windows, so they definitely have different logic in that area.
Vista can also suffer the same problem when cloned but it's much easier to fix, because the OS gets far enough to run regedit and zap it back into line.