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I installed Windows XP Home from usb (used Win to Flash program) to create the bootable usb), the problem is that windows won't boot up without the usb drive. I think its looking for the files at the wrong place. I have WinXP installed in Drive E which has this line in boot.ini

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

and Drive C & the pen drive has this line

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

Is it safe that I just edit the boot.ini in Drive E to rdisk(1)partition(3) without the risk of turning it into an unbootable system?

I know how I should edit it by going to My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Settings > Edit

Edit: One thing I just noticed is that if I run msconfig.exe it shows the content of boot.ini which matches with Drive C and not Drive E. So I guess the OS is using the boot.ini of drive C. What do you think?

Moreover if I changed something which didn't let me boot even with the pen drive, then I won't be able to edit the boot.ini too

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes, this is what you need to do. It's a glitch in the BIOS detection of drives. When the USB is the boot device some BIOS treat it as rdisk0 throwing off your installation if you install from usb. Linux has fixed this already, MS not so much. We'll see how it goes. The short answer, yes - do the edit you asked about

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One thing I just noticed is that if I run msconfig.exe it shows the content of boot.ini which matches with Drive C and not Drive E. So I guess the OS is using the boot.ini of drive C. What do you think? –  Ashfame Oct 4 '10 at 16:11
    
changing boot.ini is TOTALLY reversible given a linux liveCD –  hbdgaf Oct 4 '10 at 16:36
    
But I don't have anything handy at the moment. And I need to return the usb drive to the owner. How about I just try adding another line below it. That should be 100% safe. Right? –  Ashfame Oct 4 '10 at 16:42
    
I do believe MS has fixed this...in their newer operating systems. They'd like XP to be abandonware if they could get away with it - of course they're not going to make fixes like this. :) –  Shinrai Oct 4 '10 at 17:01
    
Thanks a lot aking, it was the rdisk value :) –  Ashfame Oct 4 '10 at 17:43

Per your comments on the other answer.

As long as the main drive itself is actually bootable, I would create 3 or 4 entries with disk1, 2, 3 and 4 - and testing which actually works, you will get a selection when you start the system.

If however you never actually get this far, it is possible your drive is not actually bootable.

If that is the case, you need to boot in to the recovery console (use any Windows XP install CD and press R at first screen), then once logged on, type fixboot to recreate the boot files.

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thanks for your suggestion, i read those before editing the file in case i messed up :) –  Ashfame Oct 4 '10 at 17:43

Do not worry at all about editting boot.ini and messing it up. You are welcome to mess it up. You can always restore it by booting off a windows xp cd, into the recovery console, and do BOOTCFG /REBUILD. It's one of 3 similar useful commands that are related to booting - the other 2 being FIXMBR and FIXBOOT.

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I have already edited that. Thanks for the tip, will surely help if I have to mess with it again :) –  Ashfame Oct 6 '10 at 12:25

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