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invalid boot.ini file? any help?

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#1
aniss

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Hi,
Sorry about the long topic description, but I found it necessary to describe the whole process step by step.


I run Windows 7 on my notebook. I created a partition in order to install XP also (dual booting). The installation of XP went fine the only problem is that by doing that the XP overwrites the boot loader of Windows 7 so that the computer now boots from XP and you can no longer access your Windows 7 intallation. This is all normal and I was aware of that. So I used EasyBCD to restore the Windows 7 boot loader. But here something went wrong. When I rebooted again neither Windows 7 or XP loaded. Instead I got the message:

invalid BOOT.INI file
booting from C:\WINDOWS\

... And then nothing.

I then tried to reinstall the XP but the first time the setup had to restart I ended up with the same error as above.

Then I used a Windows 7 recovery CD and managed to restore the boot loader so that the notebook once again booted from Windows 7.

I thought OK all is well and then I tried to install XP again. But again the first time the setup had to restart I ended up with the same error as before and consequently had to use the Windows 7 recovery to be able to use Windows 7.

How can I solve this? I would really like to be able to run XP as well. Any suggestions?


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#2
jaclaz

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How can I solve this? I would really like to be able to run XP as well. Any suggestions?

What I miss is whether the XP was ever installed and ran properly. :unsure:
Also, can you provide some exact details on how the disk is partitioned?

Normally, when you install XP (I am talking of a "good" install) what happens is the following:
  • the bootsector of the Primary, Active partition is changed to invoke NTLDR (and from it BOOT.INI and NTDETECT.COM) instead of BOOTMGR
  • files NTLDR, BOOT.INI and NTDETECT.COM are copied to the Primary, Active partition ROOT
then one uses (even from the booted XP) the command bootsect.exe with the NT60 switch to re-write the original Windows 7 BOOTMGR bootsector (invoking BOOTMGR).
then an entry to boot from the BOOTMGR and \boot\BCD the NTLDR/BOOT.INI is added through BCDEDIT or similar tools.

What I suspect it is happening to you is that you have a "default" "new" install odf WIndows 7 featuring the ("stupid") windows 7 "100 Mb partition" and this somehow creates the havoc (possibly by writing the NTLDR invoking bootsector ont hat 100 Mb partition BUT writing a "wrong" BOOT.INI pointing to that same partition instead of the "third one" where you installed Windows XP)... :unsure:

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 27 July 2012 - 05:14 AM.


#3
aniss

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Hi thanks a bunch for replying ;)

I'll give you all the details I can think of...

1st of I have intalled XP many times in the past and even once installed it on a notebook with pre-installed Vista. This all went fine including using EasyBCD to restore the bootloader thus being able to dual boot.

On this computer I prevously had 3 partitions:

C: Windows 7 - 145GB
D: HP RECOVERY - 10GB
F: My general storage partition - 145GB

I then created a partition from C using the Disk Management tool in Windows 7 so I now have the following partitions:

C: Windows 7 - 120GB
D: HP_RECOVERY - 10GB
F: My general storage partition - 145GB
H: Windows XP - 25GB

Note: The drive letters are as seen from Windows 7.

I might also add that I was allready dual booting with Windows 7 and Ubuntu (WUBI -> That means that Ubuntu is installed on top of Windows 7 and not on a seperate partition... has worked fine always).

I then installed XP to the H partition and yes XP was running fine. At this point as I said the notebook automatically booted from XP. I then ran EasyBCD from within XP and here I did something wrong (not entirely sure what) and when I rebooted I got the "invalid boot.ini..." error.

Hope I made sense?!

#4
aniss

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OK some more info...

I THINK I know what I did wrong when I used EasyBCD...

I added a new entry of type: Windows NT/2k/XP/2k3 and checked the "Automatically detect correct drive" option.

So far all good.

I then pressed entered the "Edit Boot Menu" and here I pressed "Save settings" which I shouldn't have done.

Here is what I should have done instead according to the manuals I've seen (which I didn't do):

Enter the "BDC Deployment" section. Check the "Install the Windows Vista/7 bootloader to the MBR" option and press the "Write MBR" button.

Pretty sure that is where I went wrong to begin with....

So perhaps it could all be solved if I simply run EasyBCD (from Windows 7) and press "Write MBR" thus overwriting ALL (?) existing boot information. But I don't know?! :/

Edited by aniss, 27 July 2012 - 06:05 AM.


#5
jaclaz

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I THINK I know what I did wrong when I used EasyBCD...

IMHO the "wrong" thing you did was to use EasyBCD at all :yes: .
Mind you for a number of aspects EasyBCD is an excellent tool :thumbup , the problem with it is that most people will assume two wrong things about it:
  • that because it has "easy" in it's name it is "easy" to use and that hence RTFM is completely unneeded :ph34r:
  • that because it has "easy" and "BCD" in it's name it represents the "ultimate answer to all questions involving booting matters" :w00t:
EasyBCD is (or should be) simply a "more convenient" (which does not mean in itself "easier") way to edit the BCD (i.e. a GUI replacement to BCDedit).
BUT it has a number of additional (again "nice" if used correctly) features.
You will be surprised to know that you don't need (at first) *any* of these features.
You ALREADY have a valid BOOTMGR and \boot\BCD file (since you have Windows 7 installed and running).
The BOOTMGR is invoked by the bootsector (or PBR or VBR) of your active partition.
When you install the XP the bootsector (or PBR or VBR) of your active partition is rewritten to invoke NTLDR instead.
The MBR has NOTHING to do in this process as normally it does simply load the bootsector (or PBR or VBR) of the partition marked active in the MBR partition table.

DO NOT TOUCH the MBR! :ph34r:

An HP notebook may have a non-standard MBR code (used to load the Recovery partition), if this is the case and you accidentally overwrite it (unless you have a backup of it) it will be extremely difficult to rebuild it, or replace it with one with a similar functionality, compare with:
http://www.msfn.org/...d-not-be-found/

Open (under Windows 7) Disk Management and verify that your partitions:
  • C: Windows 7 - 120GB
  • D: HP_RECOVERY - 10GB
  • F: My general storage partition - 145GB
  • H: Windows XP - 25GB
Are in this order on the disk.
This could mean that they are:
  • Disk 0, Partition 1 - C: Windows 7 - 120GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 2 - D: HP_RECOVERY - 10GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 3 - F: My general storage partition - 145GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 4 - H: Windows XP - 25GB
(which I doubt).

Please post the above partition order with the values you find AND the current contents of BOOT.INI.
If I get it right you ALREADY have in the \boot\BCD an entry for the XP (i.e. when you boot you have a choice between 8 and XP and if you choose the latter you get the error "invalid BOOT.INI file booting from C:\WINDOWS\") :unsure:
Or, in other words, describe what you see when you boot now.

jaclaz

#6
aniss

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Hi and thanks again for the reply...

And oops! I allready did do the "Write MBR" thing. I then tried to install xp again but the same thing happened: "invalid BOOT.INI file..." the first time the setup restarted the computer. In other words it didn't make any difference at all.

I again used the Windows 7 recovery disc to fix that so it boots OK from Windows 7 again.

And no I no longer have the Windows XP option in the bootloader. I deleted it again (using EasyBCD). So now I have the options I always had: Windows 7 or Ubuntu when I start up the computer.

As I said the XP installed fine but since I tried to reinstall it I formatted the partition (H) again during the XP instalation. So now I have an incomplete windows XP on the H drive.

I attached a screenshot of the Disc Manager. I hope that answers your question about the order of the partitions.

And currently I don't seem to have ANY file named BOOT.INI on any of my partitions. Where is it supposed to be?

Attached Files


Edited by aniss, 27 July 2012 - 08:21 AM.


#7
Tripredacus

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Even Windows 7 has a boot.ini but it isn't used. But the one you are looking for (for XP) should be in the root of the volume XP is installed in. By default this file is attrib +System +Hidden... so if you turn on view Protected Hidden System Files in Folder Options, you should then find it.
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#8
aniss

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Like I said I currently DON'T have XP installed. I formatted the partition when I tried to reinstall XP again. So now there is an incomplete XP on that partition because the setup didn't complete.

And I allready have the option "show hidden files and folders" set, but like I said there is no BOOT.INI file on any of my partitions (atleast it doesn't show up when I search) :/

#9
jaclaz

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And currently I don't seem to have ANY file named BOOT.INI on any of my partitions. Where is it supposed to be?

It should be in ROOT of the Active, Primary partition on that disk (should be your C:\ drive "Sistema, Arranque"), as well as a copy of NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM.
Mind you that these file are "system" and "hidden" normally and you will need to set Explorer to see those files and use attrib.exe to change the BOOT.INI attributes in order to Edit and save it.
From the screenshot, the partitioning is seemingly:
  • Disk 0, Partition 1 - C: Windows 7 - 120GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 2 - H: Windows XP - 25GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 3 - F: My general storage partition - 145GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 4 - D: HP_RECOVERY - 10GB
BUT the "XP partition" is a Logical Volume inside Extended.
Different OS (and tools) may list a Logical Volume inside Extended differently.
The BOOT.INI uses arcpaths as detailed here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/102873
So, what you really have is most probably:
http://www.terabyteu...icle.php?id=159
  • Disk 0, Partition 1 - C: Windows 7 - 120GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 2 - F: My general storage partition - 145GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 3 - D: HP_RECOVERY - 10GB
  • Disk 0, Partition 4 - H: Windows XP - 25GB
So what you should make sure of is that in the C:\ drive you have:
  • BOOTMGR
  • \boot\BCD
  • NTLDR
  • BOOT.INI
  • NTDETECT.COM

The BOOT.INI contents should be:
[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="This should produce an error"

Then, you need to re-add /using easyBCD or other tool) the "Windows XP" entry to the \boot\BCD.
As soon as you have it working, you can delete last line of BOOT.INI, it is there only to verify that the BOOT.INI is actually loaded.

jaclaz

#10
Tripredacus

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As I find the Finder's finds... I see this in which you mention that it is not typically possible to boot an OS from a Logical (inside Extended) volume. Is this true in this case as well?
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#11
jaclaz

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As I find the Finder's finds... I see this in which you mention that it is not typically possible to boot an OS from a Logical (inside Extended) volume. Is this true in this case as well?

NO. :no:
Simply because that volume is never actually "booted". :whistle:
The booted volume is the first, active, primary partition (i.e. the "Boot" volume) where NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and BOOT.INI are.
NTLDR then act as a LoaDeR for the NT system ;) on the logical volume, which is the "System" volume.
Of course :w00t: MS has it EXACTLY the other way round :ph34r: , JFYI:
http://www.multiboot....uk/system.html

jaclaz

#12
aniss

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Ah.. while I had the "Show hidden files..." option checked I didn't have the "Show protected files..." option checked. I do now and I can now see all the files you mentioned:

BOOTMGR
\boot\BCD
NTLDR
BOOT.INI
NTDETECT.COM

They're all there (on the C drive). The BOOT.INI looks like this:

[boot loader]
timeout=1
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect


And yes the physical order or the partitions should be:

Disk 0, Partition 1 - C: Windows 7 - 120GB
Disk 0, Partition 2 - H: Windows XP - 25GB
Disk 0, Partition 3 - F: My general storage partition - 145GB
Disk 0, Partition 4 - D: HP_RECOVERY - 10GB

... since I created the H partition by shrinking the C partition as I described earlier (and according to the manual I linked to earlier).

But I get that the logical partition is the latter as the article you linked to mentioned:

"As a hard drive is evaluated for partition numbering, all of its primary partitions are numbered first; then, all of its logical partitions are numbered next; and extended partitions are ignored."

I don't know what it means that the H drive is an "extended logical drive" or whatnot?! Like I said I just followed a manual to create a partition for installing XP.

And I currently don't know how to add the "Windows XP" entry to the \boot\BCD. I used EasyBCD which automatically detected the XP installation. Currently there is no XP installation so I dunno?!

And again I did run XP from that drive (H) seemingly without problems. The problems started when I wanted to mess with the boot loader in order to dual boot XP with Windows 7. But whether this is the source of all my problems at this point I dunno?!

By the way.... I tried to format the H drive just now but I couldn't because seemingly another process is using the drive. I believe this has to do with the pagefile?!

Edited by aniss, 27 July 2012 - 11:01 AM.


#13
aniss

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Hmmm... in both the manuals I used the created partition turns out as a "Primary partition" and not as an "extended logical partition" or whatnot :( Could this be the source of my problems to begin with? Is there a way to change it to a primary partition?

Here are the manuals I am referring to:

http://www.howtogeek...mputer-with-xp/

http://www.sevenforu...ndows-7-xp.html


:no: Still complety stuck with this one....

Edited by aniss, 27 July 2012 - 10:42 AM.


#14
jaclaz

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You are doing a SERIES of mistakes :w00t:.
Not a problem this happens all the time, it is "normal" :) .

You take a guide, (*any* guide) and instead of following it "to the letter" you introduce (by mistake, of course) some changes to it, and the result - strangely enough - is that the guide is seemingly wrong.

Now, as soon as you get your "first" error, you should STOP §@ç#ing doing random things and ask for help.

Once you have asked for help (and somene is willing to proveide it) you should §@ç#ing STOP doing ANYTHING BUT what is suggested to you.

You do understand that you post describing a given situation, and as soon as I try giving you a suggestion to exit THAT situation, in the meantime you do something and at your next post the situation has changed?

If you sum up the above, you should now STOP changing anything, describe your current situation, then go away, take a walk, get a life, whatever and wait for some suggestion on how to exit from a "now static" situation.

Since you are ready to re-format the partition and re-install the XP to it, I can give you EXACT instructions on how to make this, though how the pagefile.sys got to that partition is a mistery to me :unsure:.

jaclaz

#15
aniss

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Hi again,

Sorry if it seems like I'm doing random things. I am simply trying to solve this the best I can. But in the end my current situation is the exact same as when I posted the topic:

I have an incomplete XP instalation on this H drive and a messed up boot loader that doesn't allow me to reinstall XP.

Since then I did the "Write MBR" thing and tried to reinstall XP which didn't work so I'm back to where I started. Sorry if that seemed like a silly thing to do but it did seem like the most logical thing thing to try to me since that was the only thing I didn't do according to the manual in the first place.

And then I noticed that the H partition was a logical extended partition and therefore I wanted to see if I could change it to a primary partition. In order to do that it seemed logical to format it since the Windows disc manager doesn't offer any options in it's current state. Besides I didn't think having an incomplete (to say the least) XP intallation on my H drive would somehow be important for the problem solving.

Besides that I didn't do anything at all. Just trying to understand what is going on.

And about the manuals... I DID follow them to the letter (except for pressing "Write MBR"). And while they aren't wrong they are simply incomplete. For example they do not explain this about partition "types" (primary, extended, logical, etc.) but rather says:

"The New Simple Volume Wizard launches which is a straight forward process. When you get to the Format Partition section, NTFS is selected by default as the file system and you can leave that as is. You might want to rename the Volume label something else like “XP Partition” so it’s easier to identify when installing XP. Also you’ll probably want to make sure to check Perform a Quick Format. "

And that's it! Anyway I get your point and as I said my situation hasn't changed the slightest bit since I first posted the topic...

And yes I am ready to re-format the partition and re-install the XP to it as you say since that has been what I have been trying to do all along. And I would be very happy to receive instructions as to what to do now. In the meantime I will not do anything at all ok?! :blushing:

About the pagefile.sys I don't know either. I have (as it is per default and is strongly recommended in general) allowed Windows to administer the virtual memory. But I can tell you that there is a pagefile.sys on each of the 4 partitions I currently have.

Peace!

#16
Ponch

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Win7's Disk Management will create 3 primary (by default) partitions but will not let you create the 4th as primary, only as extended. Only through (command line) diskpart you can create a 4th primary partition.
Now whether Jaclaz had in mind to help you install XP on a logical volume or to let you follow the manual, we'll see.

#17
jaclaz

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@all
There is nothing "bad" in having XP (or any other NT based system) on a logical volume inside extended, actually NT was designed to be installed on logical volumes and it is a type of setup that I often recommend.

@aniss
I would suggest you to re-start from where you early managed to succesfully install XP.
Go to System->Advanced options, use this:
http://ihaveapc.com/...5/pagefile0.jpg
as a reference, UNcheck (if checked) the "Automatically manage.....", then set the pagefile on drive H:\ to "none".
Reboot.
Now re-format the H:\ drive (use "quick format").
You should be now in the same situation you were at the beginning, just after you created and formatted the new volume.
So, you should be able to install the XP just like you did the first time.
Before doing so, download this file:
http://code.google.c.../downloads/list
http://code.google.c...-19.7z&can=2&q=
and extract from it just the grldr file, putting it in the root of C:\.
Try installing the XP, then, after you have successfully booted XP, do the following (mind you this is NOT the "solution", it is only an "intermediate" step to make sure to be able to boot temporarily both systems).
Modify the boot.ini as follows:
[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="This should produce an error"
C:\grldr="grub4dos"
Reboot.
Choose the "grub4dos" entry.
You will get to a:
grub>
prompt.
In it type:
chainloader /bootmgr
[ENTER]
and you should boot the Windows 7.

If the above works, then we will see how to FIRST add the XP entry to the \boot\BCD, test that it works, and only later change the bootsector to have it load the BOOTMGR instead of the NTLDR.

jaclaz

#18
aniss

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Hi and thanks again.

OK the pagefile thing is solved and drive H is formatted. And I'm glad to hear that it isn't a problem working on a logical extended drive as you say. I actually thought that was the cause of this whole mess.

But before I do anything more I just wanna make sure we're on the same page here. I sort of got the notion that I perhaps didn't make myself clear.

You say: "I would suggest you to re-start from where you early managed to succesfully install XP".

Hmm yes that is what I have been trying to do from the beginning. The problem is that I can't which is why I created this thread.

You say: "You should be now in the same situation you were at the beginning, just after you created and formatted the new volume. So, you should be able to install the XP just like you did the first time."

No, I am now in the same situation as when I started this thread except for the formatted H drive which as far as installing XP goes makes no difference at all since the XP setup formats it anyway in the initial setup phase. So if I install XP now the exact same "invalid BOOT.INI.." error will occur the first time the XP setup restarts my PC.

Just to make it clear. Remember that the XP setup reboots a couple of times during a setup. The FIRST time is after formatting the destination drive and copying/preparing the setup files. THIS is when I get the "invalid BOOT.INI" error.

Are we on the same page here?

You say "Before doing so, download this file"

Ok you provided 2 links to what seems to be different versions to the same thing? Why is that? I suppose I should use the version you linked to directly:

http://code.google.c...-19.7z&can=2&q=

In other words NOT the newest version.


That's it for now. Like I said I just want to make sure we understand eachother before I go at it again.


Thanks again....

#19
jaclaz

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Hmm yes that is what I have been trying to do from the beginning. The problem is that I can't which is why I created this thread.

You say: "You should be now in the same situation you were at the beginning, just after you created and formatted the new volume. So, you should be able to install the XP just like you did the first time."

No, I am now in the same situation as when I started this thread except for the formatted H drive which as far as installing XP goes makes no difference at all since the XP setup formats it anyway in the initial setup phase. So if I install XP now the exact same "invalid BOOT.INI.." error will occur the first time the XP setup restarts my PC.

And this is what is currently escaping me :ph34r: , the sequence of actions that you reported - once reversed - should have no consequences in re-installing the XP (that is if it worked first time).
(attempting to do so on the unformatted drive AND with it holding the Windows 7 pageflile may)

Just to make it clear. Remember that the XP setup reboots a couple of times during a setup. The FIRST time is after formatting the destination drive and copying/preparing the setup files. THIS is when I get the "invalid BOOT.INI" error.

Are we on the same page here?

Yes, we are.
What actually happens is that a couple of directories, namely:
  • $WIN_NT$.~BT - the boot folder
  • $WIN_NT$.~LS - installation files folder
are created (normally on the Active partition, i.e. C:\)
these folders contain the actual installation files.
The BOOT.INI file is changed during the installation to boot (for second part) from these folders, a line similar to this is added (and made default).
c:\$win_nt$.~bt\bootsect.dat="Windows XP Installation/Upgrade"
Now, having formatted (BTW right now you have formatted it from the booted Windows 7, did you do this the first time or from within the XP setup?) nothing in the logical volume may have become "sticky" (and thus change the behaviour of the XP setup).
So it must be something on the C:\ partitiion.
Either the BOOT.INI or the two folders created by the previous install.
Check that you have no $WIN_NT$.~BT nor $WIN_NT$.~LS folder.
Delete the BOOT.INI.
Try again installing.
The fact that you reported having the multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS line might mean exactly this. The BOOT.INI was changed to it's "final" version by the initially successful install and for *any* reason, it does not the needed change during subsequent attempts to install, possibly a NTFS permission issue...

You say "Before doing so, download this file"

Ok you provided 2 links to what seems to be different versions to the same thing? Why is that? I suppose I should use the version you linked to directly:

http://code.google.c...-19.7z&can=2&q=

In other words NOT the newest version.

No, actually it is the newest version among the "release ones", and NOT the latest-latest which is ALPHA.

jaclaz

#20
aniss

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Hi again,

You say:
And this is what is currently escaping me, the sequence of actions that you reported - once reversed - should have no consequences in re-installing the XP (that is if it worked first time).
(attempting to do so on the unformatted drive AND with it holding the Windows 7 pageflile may)

Like I said I followed the manual to the letter EXCEPT for not pressing the "Write MBR" button in EasyBCD. And yes XP was installed and running fine until I tried to retore the Win 7 boot loader. I even restarted XP several times while it was installed. No problems. The problem definately started when I used EasyBCD and 1) added XP to the list (as in the manual) and 2) pressed the "Save settings" (which isn't in the manual). After this I got the "invalid BOOT.ini.." error.

But to make sure I get you here is the XP setup process:

1) Checking hardware
2) Loading drivers
3) Choosing and formatting destination partition
4) Copying setup files
5) Reboot
6) The actual instalation
7) Reboot
8) Running XP for the 1st time

Now since the XP installation formats the partition in step 3 how can this possibly affect the further setup process? In this case the problem occurs in step 5.

And I presume that the XP setup overwrites/modifies the BOOT.INI file in step 4? So the BOOT.INI content I posted earlier would be what it looks like at this point? Or perhaps it has been overwritten again by the Windows 7 recovery I did afterwards? Or does it remain unchanged since the first succesfull XP install?

At this point the XP setup also modifies something so that the installation can begin after the reboot rather than starting up Win 7. That is telling the system to boot from the BOOT.INI rather that the BOOTMGR is that correct? Where is this information stored? In the MBR? PBR? VBR? Or? (just trying to understand)

You say:
BTW right now you have formatted it from the booted Windows 7, did you do this the first time or from within the XP setup?

Both. I formatted it when I created the partition in Win 7 and then again in the XP setup.

You say:
So it must be something on the C:\ partitiion.

Agreed!

You say:
Check that you have no $WIN_NT$.~BT nor $WIN_NT$.~LS folder.

I checked. There are no so named folder in the root of my C drive nor in the C:\Windows folder.

You say:
Delete the BOOT.INI.
Try again installing.

Ok! Now you're giving different instruction than in your previous post. Should I just delete the C:\BOOT.INI and try the XP setup again or should I add the grldr file also before doing so?

Edited by aniss, 29 July 2012 - 01:14 AM.


#21
jaclaz

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Ok! Now you're giving different instruction than in your previous post. Should I just delete the C:\BOOT.INI and try the XP setup again or should I add the grldr file also before doing so?

I am simply trying to put your system in the EXACT SAME situation it was when you succeeded installing XP.

The Setup process, on a "completely" clean system works like this (simplified):
  • the partition is formatted.
  • The NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM are copied to ROOT
  • the install files are copied to $WIN_NT$.~BT and $WIN_NT$.~LS
  • a copy of the bootsector is made in $WIN_NT$.~BT (invoking the SETUPLDR.BIN INSTEAD of NTLDR)
  • a BOOT.INI is written pointing to this latter copy of the bootsector c:\$win_nt$.~bt\bootsect.dat="Windows XP Installation/Upgrade"
  • end of firs phase and reboot
At reboot, the SETUP is booted NOT anymore from the install media but form the internal disk, then the setup does it's job, deletes the $WIN_NT$.~BT and $WIN_NT$.~LS and writes to BOOT.INI the "normal" XP loading string, in your case multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

On a "second" install, the behaviour is exactly the same, but step #5 above has to deal with a pre-existing BOOT.INI.

Since you reported that after a failed reboot after the first stage the contents of the BOOT.INI are:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
AND NOT:
c:\$win_nt$.~bt\bootsect.dat="Windows XP Installation/Upgrade"
I am suspecting that *something* is preventing the SETUP from editing the pre-existing BOOT.INI.
Since you originally had not any BOOT.INI and it worked, and now that you have one it doesn't work anymore, the obvious step is trying again without any BOOT.INI.

BUT, still something is not right.
The setup (first stage) does create the $WIN_NT$.~BT and $WIN_NT$.~LS folders.
Have you also checked on the "H:\ drive "? (or, better on "all" drives?) the location where these directories are made is - if I recall correctly - "automagically" determined by the Setup.
These files are deleted after the second (GUI) phase, so if you never get to it, they should remain there (and possibly cause issues).

Which means (like a PE of some kind) have you available when you, after having completed the first phase and you cannot boot anymore because of the error, you need to re-access the disk?

Alternatively to the above, and provided that you stil have currently the grldr in root of C:\ and that your BOOT.INI is still:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="This should produce an error"
C:\grldr="grub4dos"

and you try again to install XP, at reboot after first stage you should be able, by QUICLY press the arrow down key, to access the BOOT.INI choices and chiise the grldr one.
The result should be a command prompt like:
grub>
can you confirm this?


jaclaz

#22
aniss

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Hi again,

Well I tried to do what you said (well one of the things). I deleted the boot.ini file and formatted the H:\ drive just before I restarted the computer and started the XP setup. But no luck. The EXACT same thing happened. The first time the setup needed to reboot I got the "invalid boot.ini.." error again =(

I did notice some weird things this time though. When the setup prompted me to choose a partition I noticed that besides my 4 actual partitions there was 2 chunks of unpartitioned space. One of them was huge. Much larger than my actual harddisk. Come to think of it.. I think that this was there also the first time I did the setup (and actually got XP running without problems). But I'm not sure and I'm not sure what that means. It would seem that my harddikc is messed up somehow though =(

I also noticed that the my by Win 7 named H:/ partition was called the D:/ `partition in the setup. But I believe that is normal?!

I checked both all of my partitions and there are no folders called $WIN_NT$.~BT or nd $WIN_NT$.~LS on either of them.

There is once again a boot.ini file on the C:/ drive and the contents is the same as before:

[boot loader]
timeout=1
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

I noticed that once again there is a pagefile.sys on the H:/ drive after starting up Win 7 again. My current setting is "Let Windows administer the page file on all drives".

Should I go ahead and try the grub thing? Or have we now determined that the problem ISN'T the boot.ini file itself. Or?

Alltogether I must admit that I haven't got a clue as to what is going on here and I really don't know what to do at this point =(

Edited by aniss, 29 July 2012 - 11:59 AM.


#23
aniss

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Just some additional info that may make sense to you...

The page file on the H drive is called PAGEFILE.sys (upper case) unlike the lower case pagefile.sys on the C drive. Besides the one on the H drive is only 40MB while the one on the C drive is 3GB....

#24
jaclaz

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Hi again,

Well I tried to do what you said (well one of the things). I deleted the boot.ini file and formatted the H:\ drive just before I restarted the computer and started the XP setup. But no luck. The EXACT same thing happened. The first time the setup needed to reboot I got the "invalid boot.ini.." error again =(

I did notice some weird things this time though. When the setup prompted me to choose a partition I noticed that besides my 4 actual partitions there was 2 chunks of unpartitioned space. One of them was huge. Much larger than my actual harddisk. Come to think of it.. I think that this was there also the first time I did the setup (and actually got XP running without problems). But I'm not sure and I'm not sure what that means. It would seem that my harddikc is messed up somehow though =(

This is strange.
It is possible that you are falling into a queer issue that was found about DIsk Management differences (between the Windows XP and the 7 one, connected to cylinder boundaries) but it's "queer", such a problem should have surfaced also the first time.

I also noticed that the my by Win 7 named H:/ partition was called the D:/ `partition in the setup. But I believe that is normal?!

Are you positive (same size/label) that it is actually the same volume?
But yes, this is normal, since there is not "yet" a Registry (for the XP, nor a migrate.inf), the drives are assigned letters with the default scheme, which is, if I recall correctly:
  • assign C: to first primary partition of first disk
  • assign later letters to any first primary partition on later disks
  • assign later letters to logical volumes inside extended on first disk
  • assign later letters to logical volumes inside extended on later disks
  • assign later letter to other primary partitions on first disk
  • assign later letters to other primary partitions on later disks
So the partitions that you see under Windows 7 as C/H/F/D should become in XP setup C/D/E/F :unsure:

I checked both all of my partitions and there are no folders called $WIN_NT$.~BT or nd $WIN_NT$.~LS on either of them.

There is once again a boot.ini file on the C:/ drive and the contents is the same as before:

It seems like *somehow* the setup assumes that first stage has already been run.
But when you actually run the text mode part of the setup, can you see on the blue screen (at the bootom) the copying of files?
Can you try describing in your words what happens during the text mode part?


I noticed that once again there is a pagefile.sys on the H:/ drive after starting up Win 7 again. My current setting is "Let Windows administer the page file on all drives".


Well, starting from post #17

Go to System->Advanced options, use this:
http://ihaveapc.com/...5/pagefile0.jpg
as a reference, UNcheck (if checked) the "Automatically manage.....", then set the pagefile on drive H:\ to "none".

You should have had that setting disabled.
Please do so and leave it disabled, or anyway set the windows 7 to have it's pagefile ONLY on the C:\ drive.

Should I go ahead and try the grub thing? Or have we now determined that the problem ISN'T the boot.ini file itself. Or?

That is an idea alternative to the answer (that I am still missing) to this question:

Which means (like a PE of some kind) have you available when you, after having completed the first phase and you cannot boot anymore because of the error, you need to re-access the disk?

If I get it right after the failed attempt you repair the 7 with it's install DVD to be able to boot again, and I wonder if this latter procedure *somehow* is connected to the issue.


jaclaz

#25
aniss

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You said:
Are you positive (same size/label) that it is actually the same volume?

Yup! It currently has no label (it was deleted during a former xp setup attempt) but it's the only partition with 25GB.

You said:
But when you actually run the text mode part of the setup, can you see on the blue screen (at the bootom) the copying of files?
Can you try describing in your words what happens during the text mode part?

Nothing strange here. Like a normal XP setup. It is a blue screen as you say and after formatting the disk you can see at the bottom that it's copying a bunch of files for a couple of minutes until it reboots.

You said:
You should have had that setting disabled.
Please do so and leave it disabled, or anyway set the windows 7 to have it's pagefile ONLY on the C:\ drive.

OK! It has been done.

You said:
Which means (like a PE of some kind) have you available when you, after having completed the first phase and you cannot boot anymore because of the error, you need to re-access the disk?

Sorry I do not understand this sentence at all. I don't know what PE means for starters.

You said:
If I get it right after the failed attempt you repair the 7 with it's install DVD to be able to boot again, and I wonder if this latter procedure *somehow* is connected to the issue.

Well yes when I get the "invalid boot.ini.." error I fix it a Win 7 recovery CD (not Win 7 install DVD) so that I can boot from Win 7 again. But remember the first time I got the error I had never used that CD before!!




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