Inappropriate boot choices

By threto13
Jul 20, 2011
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  1. When I boot, I am given a selection of 2 OS to choose from. Number one is the one I want, number two is the one triggered to go at timeout. Number two is missing the HAL file (missing or corrupt blah blah blah) so I have to sit there for a sec and hit the up key to make it boot onto number one. I don't want to do this and don't know how there came to be a number two it just showed up one day after I (R)epaired Windows XP Home from CD due to muffins in my system which is when the number two showed up, after I (R)'d it, choosing, during (R), to repair the MasterBootRecord and redo the table or something. I'm not fooling around though cuz this number two OS in the choice is just really in the way now and the boot.ini file doesn't show it, if I time it out to (0) it default to the number two and I can't (R) that selection with the XP CD as I have no access to it from the Install which I assume is set to (R)epair number one. Okay, so I really don't want to do a Clean install I am sure there's something being left out somewhere preventing me from deleting number two outright...can I do it from cmd while I am booted to number one?
  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    you can temporarily remove the system,hidden properties from the file boot.ini in the root of your windows drive. You have to set view hidden/system files first. Then edit boot.ini with notepad to remove the line you do not want, leaving just like....

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    then replace the hidden,system properties and all will be fixed. BTW timeout like is ignored if there is only one OS line.
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Another easy option is EasyBCD. It provides a nice, easy user interface to display/change all boot files (XP, Vista and W7) but is still a handy tool even if you only have XP now :). Run it, click Edit Boot Menu and the rest should be intuitive
  4. threto13

    threto13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your reply! So quick. I'll try the EasyBCD program although here's an additional bit: I am using XP Home. I saw on the microsoft site that I can't edit boot.ini from cmd but I've tried a few suggestions from other similar questions on this topic and they all corrupted the boot (no big deal; I go back to "Last Known Good Configuration" and get back to good old "number one and number two" in the boot selection time-out screen)

    This is what my boot.ini looks like which doesn't even list a choice and, also, I should add both selections list Windows (default) as the selection--how could I hjave two defaults, one of which has a missing/corrupt HAL file I can't repair or replace during (R)epair process from CD. Kinda fishy.

    [boot loader]
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(0)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition"

    I really am grateful for any additional feedback...I've been using Windows since 1994 but only as a hobbyist. I've tried Ubuntu but my wireless card (broadcom) has not yet been added to the Ubuntu support-list and I can't for the life of me figure out how to soduko or whatever that Ubuntu language is but that's a different topic...

    Like I said, I'll try the BCD thing but I tried to edit it's just the 2nd OS isn't in the list is it? I'm sure I'm just dumb, so, thanks again!
  5. threto13

    threto13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Can't use BCD in XP only environments as the program can not grab bootloader and registry according to error message at BCD exe. Oh well. This problem, although very minor, is annoying re: unknown origin of 2nd Windows (default) OS. Cheers again!
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    OH! Sorry 'bout that :eek: I didn't realize EasyBCD doesn't work in XP only environment....

    Try this.. Rt click My Computer->Properties->Advanced tab then Startup and Recovery settings button. Does the "Default Operating System" pull down show the 2 boot options? You should be able to change/select the one you want as default
  7. threto13

    threto13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    At this location, namely, in the drop-down menu you advise, there is not one choice, there are not two choices, there are zero choices. The menu drops down and in this space it is blank white space with nothing in it. crazy huh?
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    There being NO OS choices is a bit odd to say the least. Refer to my post #2 and see what that line should look like, just add a line
    [operating systems] and another as shown, but replace my own 'Professional' with your own 'Home' and I would expect your problems to be over .....

    I can only guess that without a proper default and OS line boot.ini is causing the os booter to search the partitions for *something* and concluding it can find two possibilities....

    BTW I would expect Ubuntu to be able to use something for your wireless network by now. Also any attempt to install Ubuntu over Windows will replace the boot sector with a Unutu boot loader (grub) with nasty consequences. Just run a bootable CD instead.
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Oh. I can add more thing that's odd in your boot.ini
    Is that really your entire boot.ini file?
    > In addition to missing an [Operating System] section in the boot.ini
    > Also note it indicates partition 0. To best of my knowledge partition numbers start at 1!

    Let's see your disk and partition info. Click Start->Run, enter msinfo32 , Expand Components->Storage. Then for both Disks and Drives, select info shown in right right pane, Edit->Select All, Edit->Copy, then paste result into techspot post

    Could you also double check and repost your entire boot.ini file content again?
  10. threto13

    threto13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'll have a go viz. the boot.ini when I get home. Altho I'm an Amer. I was resident in Cambs UK for many years--not w Military mind you--so HI & thx for your help...As for Ubuntu they have a good boot mounter that worked perfectly mounting Ubuntu onto boot before windows & yeah it's been 18 mos. since I tried Ubuntu due to no BC802 wireless might be right. Standby re: new advice. And if you wanna be transatlantic penpals it coiuld be fun...tootles
  11. threto13

    threto13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi See notes below system info


    Drive C:
    Description Local Fixed Disk
    Compressed No
    File System NTFS
    Size 55.88 GB (60,003,381,248 bytes)
    Free Space 42.52 GB (45,654,695,936 bytes)
    Volume Name
    Volume Serial Number 34E76DB3

    Drive D:
    Description CD-ROM Disc

    Description Disk drive
    Manufacturer (Standard disk drives)
    Model FUJITSU MHV2060AT PL
    Bytes/Sector 512
    Media Loaded Yes
    Media Type Fixed hard disk media
    Partitions 1
    SCSI Bus 0
    SCSI Logical Unit 0
    SCSI Port 0
    SCSI Target ID 0
    Sectors/Track 63
    Size 55.89 GB (60,011,642,880 bytes)
    Total Cylinders 7,296
    Total Sectors 117,210,240
    Total Tracks 1,860,480
    Tracks/Cylinder 255
    Partition Disk #0, Partition #0
    Partition Size 55.88 GB (60,003,385,344 bytes)
    Partition Starting Offset 32,256 bytes

    PREVIOUS to your advice boot.ini

    [boot loader]
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(0)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition"

    NEW (hope I didn't get it wrong) edited boot.ini

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    So I changed the boot.ini to what you see and when I choose Number Two Windows (default) on the boot selection timeout screen it now reverts to a black screen with a system message saying something about a Windows configuration error and that ends that. I can choose Number One and system loads as normal
  12. threto13

    threto13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    current boot.ini is as follows:

    [boot loader]
    default= multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    The problem listing 2 default systems still exists; the configuration error associated with Number Two says it is pointing to a drive that does not exist or something?

    Does this have anything to do with the time, during a (R)epair operation with OS CD, I ran a command from DOS at boot to FIXMBR...Prior to that operation I was not able to boot at all and hit upon it during the (R)epair by dumb luck which fixed the death-problem
  13. threto13

    threto13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Changed boot.ini to

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

    Using partition(1) instead of partition(2) I lose the configuration error message screen and get the missing or corrupted HAL file error message back Yay!
  14. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    If you are quoting your boot.ini as it now is, it is still wrong, because refer to post#2, it should have 5 lines.

    Assuming your OS partition is actually partition 1 - that is normal. In my case it is 2 just because partition 1 is a hidden reinstall partition very common on pre-built PC's from major manufacturers, Sorry I did not mention that.

    Missing or corrupt HAL is saying it is trying to boot a partition in which the OS is missing. Quit how you got there is a puzzle. Can you still get the OS working by doing a system restore?

    Also, do you have more than 1 partition on your HDD?

    Please do a system restore to 'last known good' and THEN re-write boot.ini but make sure there is only one boot.ini ANYWHERE.
    For you, it should be

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

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