Windows xp invalid boot.ini

October 17, 2007 at 22:19:41
Specs: windows xp home edition, pentium 3
I have a Dell Inspiron 8100, with windows xp. Yesterday while playing a sims game, my computer froze. After about 10 minutes a message popped up that said if it was the first time I had received this message to restart my computer. So, since it was the frist time, I restarted. Well, it hasn't booted up since. The only thing that comes up on the screen is Invalid Boot.ini
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
Since all of this, I have gone to the Microsoft link you have provided in regaurds to the recovery console. All went smoothly until bootcfg/ rebuild. It provided me with scanning all disks and please wait this may take a while. Then an error message popped up saying Failed to successfully scan disks for windows installations. This error may be caused by currupt file system, which would prevent bootcfg from successfully scanning. Use chkdsk to detect any disk errors. So I entered chkdsk and it said the specified drive is not vaild, or there is no disk in the drive. And there is a disk in the drive, the operating system reinstallation windows xp home edition cd.
If anyone could PLEASE help me, I can't tell you what it would mean. The computer belongs to a friend of mine, and I can't bare to tell them I crashed their computer. PLEASE, THANKS FOR ANY HELP!


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October 18, 2007 at 02:08:23
ALYSSA, this is just a guess. Take a look at your BIOS. There's a selection for the boot sequence where you can choose to boot from the HD (normally used) or a disk (rare). Make sure yours looks at disk just this once.
My guess is that something went awry during the logoff process and the disk rewrite of the .ini file got corrupted.
If it boots correctly from the disk, change back to HD and exit again with crossed fingers.
Ed in Texas.

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October 18, 2007 at 05:24:41
One person fixed HAL using Method #4 in this

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October 18, 2007 at 05:59:19
I think either your hard drive has become faulty or there is data corruption on the disk.

If it is the latter then a "chkdsk /r" might fix it.

However, FIRST try and check your BIOS settings as suggested by Ed in Texas. This is because changes in the BIOS can occur due to a weak motherboard battery and that can result in strange errors.

It is possible that the BIOS is no longer detecting the hard drive. Watch the boot sequence carefully to see if that is the case. Note the boot sequence can sometimes be masked by the display of an OEM logo. You would have to disable that feature in BIOS in order to view the BIOS boot sequence.

If you are unfamiliar with BIOS settings then there will a "load optimum and/or fail safe settings" option in the BIOS which you could use.

The BIOS settings should be explained in your motherboard manual.

If the hard drive has a fault which cannot be fixed then your priority must be to secure your data before you loose it.

When everything else fails, read the instructions.

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October 18, 2007 at 10:30:48
Thanks for all the advice. I tries typing "chkdsk /r" and it said the specified drive is not valid, or there is no disk in the drive. So I went into my BIOS and changed the sequence as suggested, and restarted my computer and attempted to run my installation cd again and when I got to the recovery consule it said the path or file specified is not valid. So I went into my BIOS again and switched it back and the same message popped up again. I don't know what else to do. Any directions given anywhere I've looked doesn't give reference to anything other than windows installation scan successful, after bootcfg /rebuild. Should I just install a new hard drive, and if so, what steps do I follow afterward? I really have no knowledge of computers, I've just followed promps and taken advice. Thanks for all the help, its greatly appreciated!


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October 18, 2007 at 17:06:45
I think your hard drive may have failed. However, I need more information in order to determine whether your hard drive has failed or you have just lost your windows install as happened to this person:

1. Does your hard drive get detected by the BIOS?

2. If you follow the instruction on the following page:
Then at step 8 do you see a windows install being identified? If not can you do a dir and see what is listed on your hard drive? Can you see anything or does that also fail completely?

3. The following is a link to some info on your PC which may help you.
Link to your manual

4. How important is your data? Do you care if it is lost? You may not have a choice if the hard drive is unreadable.

5. Have you attempted a repair install? Here is a link to a guide that shows how to do it.

6. If you need to remove and replace the hard drive then your manual will show how it can be done. Here is a link that shows you how.

Link to Removing and Replacing Parts

Link to Removing and Replacing Hard Drive

Finally, If you decide to replace the hard drive then once you have done that you need to install XP using the media that came with the laptop. Additionally you may need to update drivers and install any subsequent XP updates. After all that you will have to configure all your personal set up such as email, bookmarks etc.

Also, dependant on the nature of your install media, you may or may not need to activate your fresh XP install with Microsoft.

I am sorry that it is all a bit vague but I am as yet I am unsure about the status of your hard drive.

When everything else fails, read the instructions.

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October 19, 2007 at 15:14:17
Thank you again for all of your help. This site has been SO helpful! The answers to your questions are as follows:

1. No, I don't believe my hard drive is detected by the BIOS because when I turn my computer on, the screen is black and says Hard disk read failure. -No bootable devices.

2.I followed the instructions on the page you listed, and tried to do a dir and it said no device detected.

3. The link to my manual was very helpful thank you =)

4. I do not care at all if my data is lost!

5. I have not attempted a repair install, but due to the way the answers to my questions have gone thus far, it doesn't seem it would help.

6. It seems I need to purchase and install a new hard drives, correct? When I try to just re-install windows it won't allow me to delete any partition because it says that the files on them are needed for setup and then a blue screen pops up, which is the one I received when my sims game froze in the first place, it says if i haven't seen this screen before restart the computer. If I have, which is apparent at this point, get into safe mode, but since my computer won't even boot it seems thats not an option.

Thank you for all of your help and advice. I really would have been lost completely if it hadn't been for this site. Thank you SO much!


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