missing or corrupt boot.ini. help needed

Hi everyone

Urgently need your help with this situation as I am encountering this for the first time.

I have an 250Gb IDE and 1TB SATA drives. I had Windows XP Professional installed on partition 1 of the IDE (ie. C drive) and recently installed Vista on the SATA drive. All was working fine I formatted the C drive as the xp installation got affected by viruses etc. So I reinstalled Windows XP on C drive (it didnt complete reinstall), but now it fails to detect the boot.ini even though it exists in C drive. I cant load any of the operating systems. And I'd like to continue using the IDE with XP and Vista on the SATA.
1. I have tried the usual fixboot, fixmbr and bootcfg from the Recovery Console on the XP disk - no success. boot.ini looks correct as well.
2. I have tried Repair Your Computer from the Vista installation disk - no success.

Not sure what is wrong and why it isnt detecting the boot.ini. I am happy to make the SATA the active disk and load Vista/XP from the SATA or IDE, whichever is easier really.

Anyone got any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
Thanks for the quick reply Terry60.

Every time I start my pc, i just get the cursor blinking......

Unfortunately, I cant start Vista (not sure whether I can from the CD) to view the Disk Management. Do you of any other method to start Vista?

Any help would be useful.

Sorry dude, should have read more carefully. You need to repair the Vista bootloader first.
When you installed Vista it became the primary bootloader, but it automatically recognized XP and gave you the dual boot option. Now you've reinstalled XP, it's overwritten the Vista bootloader since it's not forward compatible.
Boot your Vista DVD and select the "repair startup" option. (you might need to do it more than once), till you can get back into Vista, then do as I previously said to get XP working if it's still broken.
If you can't see a Vista system to repair, try disconnecting the IDE disk temporarily while you fix Vista boot.
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Thanks again Terry for your quick response.

Since I have already tried "repair startup" with my IDE connected (and thats failed), I will try it with my IDE disconnected. This I believe will restore the Vista bootloader.

However, what would happen in the situation when I want to continue installing Windows XP? I ask because my current windows xp installation is incomplete (i.e. copied the files but not installed the OS yet). Would this continue as normal after the bootloader has been restored? And would the Vista bootloader pick up a Windows XP installation on my IDE?

Thanks for your help.
XP setup relies on the NTLDR boot menu, so it won't proceed afterwards.

You need to install XP in one go, boot into XP, install .NET 2.0 followed by EasyBCD. Use EasyBCD to restore the Vista bootloader & add an XP entry to it. All done :smile:
Whenever you install, reinstall or repair install XP in a dual-boot, you'll have to repair the Vista bootloader immediately afterwards, unless the Vista bootloader is on the Vista disk and you disconnect it before installing XP. (All bootloader files for both systems are on the "active" disk, which might not be Vista, so even disconnecting the Vista disk won't protect it in that case)

However, if you repair the Vista bootloader with the IDE disconnected, it will definitely end up on the Vista disk. You could then do a clean XP install on the IDE with SATA disconnected, and when it's finished, reconnect your Vista system and copy the XP boot files across to it, and add the XP entry with EasyBCD in Vista.
Shame the xp installation wouldnt proceed. (I believe the restart is mandatory, so wont be able to install it in one go).

Ok, so how's about I fix the bootloader through repair setup in vista cd, get into vista, run EasyBCD, add an xp entry and then restart and continue with XP installation. Would that work?
You should be able to start the XP install again from scratch, if you choose to. But if the Vista bootloader is there, (not on a disconnected disk) it will get overwritten again and need fixing again.

Disconnect the Vista drive. Install XP to the IDE. Re-connect Vista's drive and boot from it. Use EasyBCD to add a new entry.

Copy NTLDR, NTDETECT, and Boot.ini to th e Vista drive.
Fix the values in boot.ini

Reboot to test.
Thanks for your inputs everyone!

I tried disconnecting the IDE and repairing the Vista Bootloader in startup repair - no success.
Then I formatted my IDE (not much data in there) and reinstalled windows xp sp3 (with the SATA connected) and to my surprise XP still doesnt detect /load from the boot.ini. I thought the vista bootloader would get overriden and at least XP would load normally, but that doesn't happen either. I am currently getting it to load from the installation CD.

Computer Guru: I have copied ntldr, ntdetect and boot.ini to vista root. (I made sure I made my Vista installation on the SATA an "active" drive by using diskpart ->active function on the disk-volume) and fixed the values as suggested - no success.

Back to the XP part - When in XP, I installed .NET 2.0 framework and then EasyBCD, it apparently repaired the bootup by recovering the Vista bootloader. I cant go further into EasyBCD from there, is that expected?. When i restarted, I see the same error. (Disk.....Please insert system disk etc)

Now, I am really confused on how to fix this.
Please could you help me as I think I am heading towards a message - "You are so screwed mate!!".
Because your systems are on different physical hard drives, not just different partitions on one HD, they can both be marked active.
It could be that when you install XP to the IDE, it puts XP bootloader on there (because it's flagged active) but when you boot, the SATA drive is before IDE in the BIOS, and the bootloader attempting to start the system is the one on the SATA disk.
Does XP boot OK if you change your BIOS to put the IDE drive first ?

I havent tried changing the drive priority in the BIOS yet (as I was asked not to do that in the link mentioned earlier). In addition, I believe that SATAs dont have master slave config (apols, if I've got that wrong). I'll try that later today.

Also, removing the IDE and booting just from the SATA after repairing the vista bootloader - no success.

You're right that SATA drives have no master/slave switches to tinker with, but that's not relevant to the BIOS boot sequence.

ok, I tried what you suggested and it worked!!!!!. thank you.

However, only when i have the installer (either xp or vista) cds in the dvd drive do i see the menu options (xp or vista). I believe I need to copy some missing file(s). any ideas?

So the current situation is IDE first in BIOS, and you can boot straight into your fresh XP install ?
If so, you need to follow the normal XP installed after Vista sequence, and boot from your Vista DVD to repair the Vista bootloader. You'll end up with Vista and XP boot files both on your XP disk, but that's no problem unless you want to completely remove XP at some time in the future. (We can advise you how to do that when the time comes)
My situation is slightly different as my OSs are both on the same HDD, but all my boot files are on the XP partition, not Vista's and it's perfectly OK.
The Vista boot should automatically recognize both systems and give you a dual boot menu. You can use EasyBCD to tidy up the names assigned and the timeout value to whatever you like when it's all functional.