Windows does not start due to error message: " Invalid Boot.ini File"

by Rohit Khurana on March 26, 2008



One of readers faced this trouble, when Windows XP refuses to boot due to changed or corrupted boot.ini file.

This error may appear if the Boot.ini file is missing, damaged, or contains incorrect entries of the operating system.

This is how error seems like at the time of boot: (see the image below)

Invalid Boot.ini

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

invalid boot.ini file

Lets see how can we repair the altered or damaged boot.ini file.


Follow the procedure below to repair original boot.ini file

  1. Firstly arrange a Bootable Windows XP setup CD.
  2. Boot from bootable Windows XP setup CD and press R to enter recovery console which allows to restore the corrupted boot.ini file to original.
  3. Now enter your administrative username and password, when you get the command prompt type the following command “bootcfg /rebuild” (without double quotes) and press Enter.
  4. Bootcfg utility on the Windows XP setup CD will scan your drives for any Windows XP installations and then display the results which you can select to repair the corresponding boot.ini file.
  5. The first prompt asks to Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All). type “Y” (without double quotes) and press enter.
  6. The next prompt asks to Enter Load Identifier ” This is nothing but the name of the operation system which appears at the time of Booting ” :type Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition or simply Windows XP and press Enter.
  7. Now it will ask to Enter OS Load options: type /Fastdetect and press Enter.
  8. Take the Windows XP bootable CD out from the tray and Type exit and then press Enter to restart your PC.

The above solution provided will help to fix the trouble!

This time your Windows XP should start normally with out any problems, if you still have any concerns regarding this problem or solution, please leave a comment.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

azzzbreaker April 8, 2008 at 12:35 am

i’ve done the above instructions, but still no luck in booting my pc.

afie April 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm

i want to enter to the regstry key using Run but i cant fint the the Run it is hidne.

Iyanggg March 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm

It’s done.
Working normally
Thanks for sharing, Have a nice day…CheersS.


Talha March 13, 2009 at 11:10 am

THanks buddy’

my PC Works fine
thanks alot

Jesse May 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

i’ve done the above instructions, but still no luck in booting my pc.

Harsha May 24, 2009 at 12:49 am

Thanks a lot!….

My pc is workin fine now..

Matt June 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I have this problem.
The only thing that comes up is

Invalid boot.INI
Booting from C:/WINDOWS (nothing else)

Then goes to the safe mode, start windows normally screen. Tried putting in the setup CD. Never recognizes it. It just keeps restarting and goes directly to the safe mode screen. Can’t go to any other command prompt screens either.

Any Suggestions?

mowgli July 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm

i do all of the above and windows starts up normal…but then when i shut off my pc and start it up again, the same error screen shows up “\system32\hal.dll is missing or corrupt please reinstall the copy of above file”

Please Help!!!!

Ether August 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I started my lenovo laptop this AM and recieved the hal.dll missing error. I replaced the hal.dll from the recovery console, restarted, no go. I checked and the file was there and copied correctly as the one from the cd was smaller in size. The error message persisted. Restored all the boot files, Checked boot.ini, even ran fixboot etc, still no go. Proceeded to reinstall xp as the D-Partition retained all my data files. It got to the end 99% and recieved an error that it couldnt load and after that ntldr. So tried a backup winxp install disk, no change. Ran the bios hd diagnostic program, that stuck on “0% done” for about 30 minutes. I am convinced that the 2 year old 80gig hd has crashed permanently but cant be sure.

chris August 23, 2009 at 6:02 am

i have a laptop when i go to start it up it gives an error message of invalid boot.ini file it then goes to try and boot but just recycles back to the error screen after starting back up no futher then that i do not have a recovery disk and the laptop did not come with a original windows xp cd please help i have tried everything that i know to do i have a lot of pictures and music that i really dont want to lose on that computer thank you for your time and any help with this matter

Alan September 22, 2009 at 10:47 am

Tried the fix for boot ini, not getting error message but after welcome screen dialogue says “this copy of windows needs to be registered with Microsoft before you can log on” Yes/No. When I click yes the screen remaiins blank with my background. NB it is a gen valid copy of Win XP and was previously registered and running.

Sunil Bhardwaj March 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm

actually i m getting hal.dll error while opening my system bt it is not a big issue bcoz i know hw to do recovery console but the problem is that i forgot my administrator password so plz help me out it is urgent

FelixJr. April 3, 2010 at 10:21 am

The solution was great! I was able to resolve my problem on error for missing file hal.dll. Good thing i did my research first. I was already planning to reformat my harddisk. This save me much the trouble. Thank you very much to the solution providers!!

Ricardo May 1, 2010 at 5:38 am

Hi, i follow all instructions…but when i restarted my pc, the screen went black :S
any help? please 🙁

Jose E. Cruz December 18, 2010 at 5:09 pm

It works fine

only on problem know

It seems that in my blindness of losing all I type windows Xp
and did it all the steps again and put Windows XP, now when it start it has the windows Xp & Windows XP.

How can I only leave one since every one takes me to the same desktop.

Jose E. Cruz December 18, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Ok I found it

In “C:\Boot .ini” file I can fix it from there and leave the one that I want.
or type in run “msconfig” find the “boot.ini” and work the order of pc start. It gave me some trouble here so I went directly to the boot file.

bosire June 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm

thank you so much you are life saver

samadhan June 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm


I am trying to fix promblem boot.ini, but it show invalid boot.inifile.
how to fix this promblem, CD id not booting also Recovery console not opening,then how fox the promblem.

can anybudy have soluation

WyseOne August 7, 2011 at 8:55 am

Thank you so much for this info! It worked perfectly, just as instructed. Had to borrow XP cd from my sister, and afterwards my laptop “found new hardware” for everything installed on it.

hari August 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

my computer start with invailde booting ini file
full information of ini file

Arthur August 16, 2011 at 5:13 am

No luck! Now when I try to boot up, it asks me how to boot, when I choose to start windows normally it just restarts, and when I choose safe mode, it lists all of the system32\drivers files and stops.

Eddie54 September 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Yes! Thanks a lot – this worked ok, once I had gotten hold of the Windows XP CD-ROM to boot from. My Dell came with no Windows XP discs, but just a note to say the discs were not needed, because the Windows software was all pre-installed on my hard drive. Doh! Not much help when the hal.dll fault doesn’t allow you to get into anything on the hard drive, as it stops the boot up.

Luckily the IT guy at work had an XP set-up disc he loaned me, which I was able to boot from in the CD-ROM drive and get to the Recovery console.
It shouldn’t have to be this hard!

anonymous islander November 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Hey all. I was working on an acer that required windows xp be reinstalled. I’m still new with reinstalling from the usb, still under 10 xp installs from usb. Anyway, with this installation I had the hal.dll error and the message claiming hard drive configuration problems. Thanks to this post and others I have come to understand things a lot clearer. If you’re doing the usb install like I did and you encounter the hal.dll problem, follow the steps above. Take the second option (GUI) from here on the list of choices and you should be good to go. Worked for me.
Now I understand the usb install better. The 1) & 2) are steps rather than install choices lol. What a clutz? Well not anymore. I hope this helps someone.

naveen March 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Hi all,

please help me out from this problem,i have gone through this process mentioned below,

1. Got to your Start menu and select Run option.
2. Type in msconfig command and click OK. The System Configuration Utility program will then open.
3. Select the BOOT.INI tab located at the top of the System Configuration Utility window.
4. Check the box labeled /SAFEBOOT and click OK.
5. When asked if you prefer to restart the PC immediately, or Exit Without Restart, choose to restart the computer manually.

now iam not able to start the windows xp screen, laptop has strucked at safe mode option,lot of times i tried and i used all options like safe mode,normal mode,last know good confiragration.but no luck,plesae help me any one


ram c mani April 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

Interesting solutions,
but my problem is,
It is windows 7 me use. I have two OS in my PC.
windows xp works well. But when i select Winows 7 ulitimate , “hal.dll corrupted or missing” message comes.
Please help me

Amit Saraf July 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Thanks, it worked. Awesome !!!

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