received Invalid boot ini, other errors compound problem

April 13, 2012 at 07:33:02
Specs: WindowsXP Home, AMD Sempron
"invalid boot.ini"
One night, my computer rebooted without reason. I decided to run a chkdsk scan (XP, Home edition), That's when the problems began. I got an "Invalid boot.ini" message.

Tried to restore with XP restore, but failed. Get then, "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error, with STOP:
0x0000000A (0x0000000C,0x000000FF, 0x000000000, 0x8042B4F0)

I cannot boot up, need linux to get online!

I can't get to any console (automatic boot, can't get past that), I can't boot to safe mode (Invalid boot.ini crashes system). Restore gives me IRQL error.


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#1
April 13, 2012 at 09:41:28
NOTE that this site uses software that highlights certain words in the text so that they're blue and underlined. If a post is long enough to require scrolling down to see all of it, due to whatever bug or bugs, the highlighted words DO NOT move as you scroll down the text.
When you have scrolled down and you see a blank space where it looks like text should be, hold your mouse cursor briefly over any blue highlighted and underlined word or words that are not in the right place to make them pop into the proper place in the text.
The software seems to only highlight and underline the first occurrence of a word or words, in the entire Topic.

The mis-placed blue highlighted and underlined words can be in the post, or above or below the post.
.....

Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model of the mboard !!!

The specific model of a brand name system is often shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site and loading a program they have available, if Windows is still working, on the subject computer.

The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.
.....

You can get the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error from many causes, but sometimes it can be just because the ram module contacts are not getting a good connection - this worked for me when I got that error:

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

For a laptop, or netbook, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

For a brand name computer, see the Owner's or User's manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that - it may already be in your installed programs. If you can't get into Windows, it may be on a disk that came with the computer, or you can go online and look at it or download it - it's in the downloads for your specific model.

For a generic desktop computer, see the mboard manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that.
......

Otherwise, your problem with "invalid boot.ini" is most likely due to data having been corrupted in it on the hard drive, for whatever reason.

I am assuming you HAVE NOT changed which ram modules you have installed in the mboard since the computer last worked properly.
If you HAVE changed which ram modules you have installed, not all ram that you may think should work fine will work properly in your mboard. It has to be 100% compatible with using it in your mboard. If you still have the ram that was installed in it when the computer worked fine and you know which modules they are, try installing only that ram for the time being.

If it WAS a poor connection of the ram module(s) in it's (their) slot(s) that caused that, then that problem is easily fixed, if you have or can borrow an XP CD to boot the computer from,

OR if you replace the corrupted boot.ini file with one suitable for your particular computer's situation, but that can be more complicated (a standard boot.ini file may not work for your particular computer's situation) ....
- after having booted the computer from anything that has an operating system that can read all the files on the drive
- or - after having removed your hard drive and connecting it to another working computer one way or another that has an operating system that can read all the files on the drive, but do NOT attempt to boot that computer from your drive


If the data on the hard drive became corrupted for some other reason, you should test your hard drive BEFORE you do anything else

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

E.g.
Seagate's Seatools will test (almost) any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.j...

The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

OR - if you connect the hard drive to another working computer so that you're not booting the computer from your drive, the Windows version of SeaTools can be used to test your hard drive.
...........

"One night, my computer rebooted without reason."

If the computer Restarted, rather than shutting off and you having to press the power button to start it up again, that can be caused by a hardware problem, or by a software problem in Windows.

E.g. Hardware - a defective power supply, a ram problem, or in some cases one or more electroltytic capacitors on the mboard is (are) failing (see below about that if you have a desktop computer).
A problem in Windows - If you briefly saw a blue screen before the computer Restarted (you don't always see that) , Windows is set by default to Restart the computer when it encounters a "fatal" error it can't recover from. You can make XP halt and display a Blue Screen message instead, if you need to, but in this case it's probably the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error you'd see.

"Tried to restore with XP restore.."

You should NEVER attempt to run a Restore or Recovery procedure when you're not sure whether your computer's hardware is working properly - e.g. your ram and your hard drive - that can easily do more harm than good !

XP has no feature called restore.

You CAN attempt to run the Repair installation of Windows procedure from the XP CD, or from a Recovery disk provided by the maker of the brand name model that is essentially the same as an XP CD, however, if you have that.
Doing that does NOT delete the personal data that's on the same partition Windows was installed on that you've added

If you have a brand name system computer

- you MAY be able to select a Restore or Recovery feature due to a bios feature, but that installs all the original software from scratch and DELETES the personal data that's on the same partition Windows was installed on that you've added.

- you MAY have the option of loading XP's Recovery Console due to the orginal brand name system's software installation, but that may NOT work if you are having a hardware problem, or if the data on the hard drive that's needed to make that work is corrupted or missing.
.....

For a desktop computer - (this is a lot less likely for a laptop or netbook mboard but checking for this problem on those requires that you open up the bottom portion of the case).

If your mboard is not new (usually the mboard is at least 2 years old when this happens)......

Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made.

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
http://www.badcaps.net/

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, fried Athlon cpus, etc.:
http://www.halfdone.com/Personal/Jo...


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#2
April 13, 2012 at 11:40:55
This is an HP Pavilion, model a1410e.
The "Restore" I mentioned is simply the recovery disk.

I had checked the Hard drive just a few days before and there were no problems. Everything is seated well, so the RAM modules are not the trouble.

I've had the computer restart on its own when I've booted a browser. Last time it happened, I ran a scandisk utility to find and fix the problems -- there were a number of lost files and fragments. Everything worked fine.

But this time I started the browser and the system rebooted on its own. I didn't hit any buttons. That's when I decided to run scandisk, again. But you know it shuts down the computer before it can be used. And this time, it didn't reboot but gave the "Invalid boot.ini". After a bit of testing, I tried to run the recovery disk, and it started ok, but after 2 minutes I got the "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error.

I just want to get Windows XP back up.

I've got about 30 Gigs of Data--most of it backed up, fortunately.

I was thinking I might try to add a partition, install fresh -- if it can be done without ruining the current data.


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#3
April 13, 2012 at 16:58:08
"This is an HP Pavilion, model a1410e."

Either you made a typo when you typed "a1410e", or HP no longer has info about the model, which sometimes happens for HP. If they no longer have info about the model, often searching using it's Product number rather than the model finds the correct info.

An HP Pavilion model can be either a desktop computer, or a laptop or netbook. I see nothing in the info you've provided so far that indicates which one of those it is.

We need to know which one of those you have in order to provide you with info about what you need to troubleshoot.

Go here:
http://partsurfer.hp.com/search.aspx
Scroll down a bit.
Look for the similar label on the outside of your computer.
Quote the specific model number - that's at the end of the first line.
Quote the Product number - that's on the third line.
......

"The "Restore" I mentioned is simply the recovery disk. "

That's as clear as mud.

Did it come with the computer, or did you or someone else make it by using a program provided by HP that was already on the hard drive ?

HP desktop and laptop computers that I've worked on have that originally had XP on them usually originally came with a HP labeled recovery or restore disk that has something like "XP Home SPx Re-installation CD" or similar printed on it. If that's what you have, the files and folders on the CD are identical to files on a Microsoft OEM XP Home CD that has the same SP updates, or no SP updates, embedded in the contents of the disk, except that certain OEM files have been modified so that the CD cannot be used to install Windows from scratch, or to run a Repair installation of Windows procedure (often called, incorrectly in my opinion, a Repair install), unless the CD is used with the same model it came with, or with one of a small group of models made by the same brand name at about the same time.
The same as for a regular Microsoft OEM XP Home CD, there are no extra drivers on it for your system that are not built into Windows .
You see the same things when you use that type of disk as you see when you use a regular XP CD.

The HP computer often also comes with a HP labeled Drivers or Drivers and Applications (programs) disk, or the drivers XP does not have built into it for the model can be downloaded from the HP web site in the Downloads listed for the specific model.

In a small number of cases, the recovery disk set was multi-disk archive that must be installed one disk after the other, for all of or most of the disks. The first disk in that set cannot be used the same way as a regular XP CD.

"After a bit of testing, I tried to run the recovery disk, and it started ok, but after 2 minutes I got the "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error. >"

Whatever type of restore or recovery disk you were using, when you get the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error after having booted the computer from that, you probably have a HARDWARE problem, NOT a software problem.

"I had checked the Hard drive just a few days before and there were no problems."

What did you check it with ?
You need to check it with hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics, preferably using the test that takes longer that tests the entire drive space.

"Everything is seated well, so the RAM modules are not the trouble."

How it looks can be deceiving, and even if it does look fine, it can have a poor connection in the ram slot(s). Did you try REMOVING the ram, cleaning it's contacts by wiping them off, then re-installing them ?
If NO, DO THAT !
If yes, you MAY need to ALSO blow crap that's difficult to see out of the bottoms of the ram slots, and clean the contacts in the ram slots, as well.

"....I ran a scandisk utility to find and fix the problems ..."

XP doesn't have Scandisk - it has CHKDSK, and it doesn't fix anything unless you run CHKDSK /F or CHKDSK /R .
.....

There is a big difference between "Shut Down the computer" , as in the mboard shut off for no apparent reason and the computer did NOT restart on it's own automatically, and "Restarted the computer", as in the mboard shut off for no apparent reason and the computer DID restart on it's own automatically

The former is almost always caused by a HARDWARE problem.
It can be caused by
e.g.
- a faulty power supply if you have a desktop computer
- overheating of the cpu (processor) - in that case the computer will not start up again when you press the power button after it has shut down for no apparent reason until the cpu has cooled to below some temp.
- electrolytic capacitors on the mboard that are in the process of failing or that have failed.
....

"I was thinking I might try to add a partition, install fresh -- if it can be done without ruining the current data."

You must FIX whatever is causing the "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error FIRST !

There may be NO NEED to install Windows from scratch, or to run the Repair installation of Windows procedure
When there's nothing else wrong, booting the computer from an XP CD, or the equivalent restore or recovery disk, and loading the Recovery Console, then running a command bootcfg /rebuild - in it will fix your invalid boot.ini problem.
If you want more details about doing that...
See response 3:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

You can't install Windows from scratch on the same partition it's installed on now by using the XP CD or an equivalent disk without losing all of your personal data that's on the same partition.

If your hard drive still has it's original software installation it probably has a smaller second partition on the original hard drive you can delete the contents of to install Windows on . However, that's probably too small - even if you are able to install Windows itself on it, there probably won't be much free space left on it.
Another however is - If you don't delete the contents of the larger partition on the original hard drive before installing XP, Windows WILL NOT see itself as installed on C - it will see itself as installed on a partition with a drive letter other than C.
.....

You CAN run the Repair installation of Windows procedure which DOES NOT delete your personal data that's on the same partition, but nothing can go wrong while running it prevents you from getting to the end of Setup.

See this FIRST if you have a SATA drive controller on the mboard:
Installing XP and SATA drive controllers, SATA drives; the SATA drive controller bios settings.
See response 2:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

Then see response 5:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...



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#4
April 14, 2012 at 19:58:09
Let's try this REPHRASING the question so I don't get bombarded with more hardware questions. It's not the hardware! Just trust me on that, huh?

Let's just concentrate on getting Windows to reboot. The culprit stopping it is the "INVALID BOOT.INI" It is not there. I need a way to work around that file so I can get the thing booted to run my chkdsk, THAT is where the problem is.

I cannot get into windows -- My recovery option does not allow me to enter via a command prompt. I do not have a Set-up disk (This computer did not come with it; I made backups of the system via the option which is no longer available) . The computer, as I said, is an HP Pavilion A1410E. (And YES, it's a desktop) (No, it's not a typo.) The hard drive has been checked for errors; there are no problems. The memory has been checked; there are no problems!
ALL the hardware has been checked.

I cannot run any Windows/DOS based programs which would allow me to find repair programs. I am stuck with Linux.

SIMPLY PUT: HOW do I get around the error "Invalid boot.ini"---it says "booting from c:\windows" but it never gets past that. I've tried a copy of the boot.ini file, but it reaches the point where I get the "ini" error...and nothing happens after that. No message, but no continuation.

I do not want to reformat my drive. I just want windows to reboot, some sort of jerry-rigging that can get me around the error until I can fix it properly.


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#5
April 15, 2012 at 09:58:49
"The culprit stopping it is the "INVALID BOOT.INI"..."

"HOW do I get around the error "Invalid boot.ini" "

As I've already said.....

"....that problem is easily fixed, if you have or can borrow an XP CD to boot the computer from, ...."

or, if your Recovery CD is for your specific model and (the first one if it's a set) is equivalent to an OEM XP CD (it may not be).

"When there's nothing else wrong, booting the computer from an XP CD, or the equivalent restore or recovery disk, and loading the Recovery Console, then running a command - bootcfg /rebuild - in it will fix your invalid boot.ini problem.
If you want more details about doing that...
See response 3:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha... "

(If you get the "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error when you have booted the computer from the XP CD, you need to FIX whatever HARDWARE problem is causing that.)

"....OR if you replace the corrupted boot.ini file with one suitable for your particular computer's situation, but that can be more complicated (a standard boot.ini file may not work for your particular computer's situation) .... "

That should work if your computer still has only one hard drive, it's connected to the same header on the mboard it was originally connected to, and the orginal software for it, or just Windows, has never been re-installed....

Boot the computer from the Linux disk.
Replace the existing boot.ini file with a standard one that assumes the hard drive is connected to the first available drive connection.

Manage/Remove Multi-Boot Option
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Mana...

Scroll down to
Don't forget to backup the file in any situation. It will keep you out of trouble!

Click on the first screen capture below that to zoom in and see an example of what the text in boot.ini should be if XP is on the first partition on the first hard disk; the last word is /fastdetect

(You won't get the "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error when you boot the computer from the Linux disk, but you MAY get an equivalent error message, and if you do, in that case, you need to FIX whatever HARDWARE problem is causing the problem.)
........................................................................................................................

Okay, so you say it's a desktop model, and a1410e is NOT a typo.

HP has NO INFO about that model when I search their HP Canada site with that model number, or with a1410 !

HP has NO INFO about that model when I search their HP US site with that model number !
....

Found on the web by searching for: Pavilion a1410e .......

Download drivers and software - specify product name
HP Pavilion a1400 Desktop PC series
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsuppor...

Selected
HP Pavilion Media Center a1410e Desktop PC

Goes to

Download drivers and software
HP Pavilion a1400 Desktop PC series
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsuppor...

That does NOT seem to have SPECIFIC info about a1410e, but it does have the info for the a1400 series.

" HP Pavilion Media Center a1410e Desktop PC "

"Media Center"

For a brand name system computer that has XP on it, that probably indicates it has a (XP) MCE 200x version on it originally, NOT XP Pro or Home.
If it does, then it's extremely unlikely it has a a Recovery disk that is the same as for a MCE 200x version. The official Microsoft OEM MCE 200x versions come on two CDs, not one, and they've never released it on a DVD as far as i know. It's more likely the Recovery disk set for the specific model is a multi-disk archive that must be installed one disk after another, for all of the disks or most of the disks, and the first disk cannot be used the same way as a Windows CD

However, when I search the web using: Pavilion a1410e , some "hits" list a1410e CTO, as in, Configured To Order - the model could have been ordered by whoever bought it - by you or whoever was tjhe orginal owner on HP's web site, or by the buyer(s) that supplied the store where you bought it on HP's web site - to have XP Home, or XP Pro, or XP Pro 64 bit, or possibly another operating system, installed on it rather than a MCE 200x version.
....

I know from past experience that sometimes they lose track of specific model info, as in, nothing is found when you search using the specific model number on their web sites.
If you had provided the Product number as I asked you to, I might have been able to find the proper info for it.

When I search the HP US site with a1410, it finds only ONE "hit" .....

They DO have info about a1410n , a US / Canada model
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...

HP Pavilion Media Center a1410n Desktop PC Product Specifications
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...

Excerpts:

Product number - ER890AA

Your Product number is different.

Motherboard
•Manufacturer: Asus
•Motherboard Name: A8N-LA
•HP/Compaq motherboard name: Nagami-GL8E

You may have exactly the same mboard.
A8N-LA is printed on the surface of the mboard
Nagami-GL8E is probably printed on a stuck on sticker that also has the HP part number, for the mboard, or for the mboard with the particular CPU installed in it.

Base processor
Athlon 64 (V) 3800+ 2.4 GHz

Your model probably has a different CPU installed.

Found on the web by searching for: Pavilion a1410e .....

"The Hewlett Packard Pavilion a1410e comes with Celeron D 3.2 GHz "

Hard drive
•200 GB SATA

Your model may have a SATA hard drive that has a different capacity

Operating System
•Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 with Update Rollup 2
•Microsoft Service Pack 2

(MCE 2005 always has SP2 (Windows) updates embedded in it.)

If your model has a MCE version it's the same thing for your computer.
However, it could have been ordered with a different verson of XP on it.

Recovery CD's ....... (recommend use of CD Creator to make CD set)

Your model probably had the same situation.
This is probably what that situation was.
There was a program provided by HP called CD Creator that was already installed on the hard drive . You're supposed to use that program while Windows is still working properly to make a Recovery disk set for your specific model.

In many cases for brand name systems, you can only make the Recovery disk set ONCE with that program they provide, for the same Windows installation, because an entry is made after you made the set in the registry that prevents you from making it again.

If you install the orginal brand name software installation again, you will be able to make that Recovery disk set ONCE, again.
OR - apparently, at least in some cases for HP computers, you CAN make the Rocovery disk set again for the same Windows installation if you modify (or remove ?) a certain line in the registry.

The Recovery disk set is NOT a backup of the data presently on the C drive partition including data you have added.
It's ONLY the data necessary to install Windows from scratch, possibly also the data necessary to make a Drivers or Drivers and Applications disk, or similar, maybe one or more other disk(s) too
- or ONLY the data necessary to install ALL of the the original brand name software installation from scratch.

It gets the data it needs to make the set from a second partition on the original hard drive's brand name software installation.

The Recovery disk set is either....(this is likely your case)
- a multi-disk archive for which you must install one disk after the other, for all of the disks, or most of the disks. The first disk CANNOT be used the same way as a regular OEM XP CD.

- or - the first disk is a "XP Home SPx Re-installation CD" or similar - that CAN be used the same way as a regular OEM XP CD. The first disk probably does NOT prompt you to insert another disk.
....................................................................

"The hard drive has been checked for errors; there are no problems. The memory has been checked; there are no problems!
ALL the hardware has been checked. "

As I said....

"Whatever type of restore or recovery disk you were using, when you get the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error after having booted the computer from that, you probably have a HARDWARE problem, NOT a software problem. "

"You must FIX whatever is causing the "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error ..."

You CAN get the "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error when there is ANY problem detecting hardware properly.

Other things you could try BEFORE you try to boot the computer FROM a disk.....

REMOVE the AC power to the case whenever you will be fiddling with anything inside the case !

- Make sure all cards installed in mboard slots are all the way down in their slots. You could also try removing the cards, wiping off their contacts, and installing them again.

- If you have installed any cards in mboard slots that did not come with the system, you could try removing it / them

- Unplug EVERYTHING that is not necessary for you to get video and use a keyboard and mouse
............

Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made.

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
http://www.badcaps.net/

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, fried Athlon cpus, etc.:
http://www.halfdone.com/Personal/Jo...
....

""I had checked the Hard drive just a few days before and there were no problems.""

As I said....

"What did you check it with ?
You need to check it with hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics, preferably using the test that takes longer that tests the entire drive space."

""Everything is seated well, so the RAM modules are not the trouble.""

"How it looks can be deceiving, and even if it does look fine, it can have a poor connection in the ram slot(s). Did you try REMOVING the ram, cleaning it's contacts by wiping them off, then re-installing them ?
If NO, DO THAT !
If yes, you MAY need to ALSO blow crap that's difficult to see out of the bottoms of the ram slots, and clean the contacts in the ram slots, as well. "

E.g.
To blow out the ram slots, use an air compressor and nozzle if you have access to one, or canned air or canned inert gas meant for cleaning electronic boards.

Remove the AC power to the computer. Wrap a tougher tissue such as is used for cleaning a monitor screen around both sides of thin cardboard such as from a cereal box, wet the tissue with a few drops of methyl alcohol (methanol; methyl hydrate; gas line antifreeze is usually all or mostly that), or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol (it always has water in it; the less the percentage of water, the better) , insert the assembly into the slots and wipe them a few times. Let the liquid evaporate BEFORE you restore the AC power to the computer.
DO NOT get the liquid on any chips - if you do, the computer may not work properly for many hours - at least, I know from experience that's the case for an isopropyl alcohol solution with SOME IC chips

When Windows won't work properly on your problem computer, you should test the ram by using a bootable ram diagnostics disk to boot the computer from.
E.g. If you have more than 4 gb of ram installed, Memtest86, or Memtest86+, or if you have 4 gb or less ram installed Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag...

Testing the ram by using a bootable ram diagnostics disk and it passing when it's NOT installed in the subject computer's mboard, or testing it in another computer's operating system when the ram is installed on that computer's mboard and it passing, does NOT necessary indicate it will work properly in the subject computer's mboard !



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