How to Fix Invalid Boot.ini Error

Invalid boot.ini file

If you boot a computer and an error message “Invalid boot.ini file” appears on the screen, you should know the boot.ini file is corrupted, unreadable, incorrect, or misconfigured.

Boot.ini is the text file containing the booting options of a computer.

For your computer to boot normally, you need to fix the boot.ini file. In this guide, you’ll know all the major causes of this error and the best methods you can use to fix the “Invalid boot.ini file” boot error.

To better understand the ins and outs of this problem, here are the main parts you should know:

Part 1: Symptoms of Invalid BOOT.INI file

Boot.ini is an important component of computers with Windows XP. It has two main sections, namely: the boot loader, which contains the setting option for all boot entries, and the operating system, which contains boot entries.

Entitled with the responsibility for maintaining partitions location and the list of installed operating systems, any misconfiguration, corruption or incorrect entry in the boot.ini file is a sure cause of this error.

In case the Windows in your PC is located at C:\Windows\ the “Invalid BOOT.INI file”, an error message will only flash on the screen and then boot into Windows XP.

Part 2: Cause for the “Invalid boot.ini file” error

There are several causes of the error “Invalid boot.ini file”. Always remember the actions you did on your PC to have a rough guess about the root cause of the computer error. They include:

Cause 1: Blank operating system

As said above, boot.ini contains the boot loader, and the operating system sections. When either of the two sections is empty during system startup, the booting process will be halted due to the lack of defined load configurations or bootable program.

Cause 2: Incorrect ARC paths

When you edit the boot.ini file, it’s more likely to there will be an incorrect entry. In case the ARC path is incorrect or it’s directed to an invalid partition, the error will display on your screen.

Cause 3: Misconfigured boot.ini file

Boot.ini flies have a standard language format as the other.INI configuration file. When this format is applied in one section and not the other, the error message will appear.

Cause 4: Compressed boot.ini

During booting, the bootloader adheres to a strict version of the FAT32 or NTFS drives. If these files find unreadable dependency files that are zipped or compressed, the process is stopped, causing this message to appear.

Part 3: Solutions to the boot error “Invalid boot.ini file”

This part is devoted to helping you solve this boot error. Just as the causes are varied, so are the solutions. These solutions include:

Solution 1: Use a Windows installation CD to solve the “Invalid boot.ini file” error

Step 1: If you have a Windows installation CD, insert it into your computer. It’s always good to ensure your Windows system has a bootable Windows installation disk. If you don’t have, use the Media Creation tool or download Windows 10 ISO image file.

Create installation media for another PC
Create installation media for another PC

Step 2: Now reboot the computer from the Windows CD and then press any key from the prompted “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” command.

Step 3: When the “Welcome to Setup” pops onto your screen, press “R”. This is to allow the Recovery Console to restore the corrupted boot.ini file.

Step 4: From the prompt command, select the Windows XP installation to fix

Step 5: Enter your administrative username and password, then press Enter. Type on the prompt command “‘copy C:\boot.ini C:\boot.ini.bak” and press Enter to back up the old boot.ini file.

Microsoft Windows XP Recovery Console
Microsoft Windows XP Recovery Console

Step 6: Now type “bootcfg/rebuild” and press Enter.

Step 7: Lastly, remove the Windows XP CD and type “exit”. Now press Enter to restart the PC. Besides, you can also recover the data on the computer won’t boot up with Wondershare Recoverit.

Solution 2: Recreate the Boot.ini file manually

When a boot.ini file is misconfigured, it means the content contained in it is incorrect, does not contain the expected content or the content cannot be understood by NTLDR.

NOTE: If the boot.ini file compressed or fragmented, repairing the boot.ini file is impossible. Again, you should be using Windows Server 2003.

There are two options for editing boot.ini manually.

First Option: Modify Folder Options

Step 1: Right-click the Start menu and then click Explore

Step 2: Click Folder Options on the Tools menu and click View

Step 3: Under Advanced Settings, select Show hidden files and folders, then clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) box, choose Yes and click OK.

Step 4: Find the system partition to locate, then right-click the boot.ini file. Then click properties.

Step 5: Tap to clear the Read-only box and click OK.

Second Option: Edit the Boot.ini File

Before you start working on this option, be extra careful because another wrong entry would cause a greater booting problem.

Step 1: Click Start, the >Programs > Accessories and click Notepad

Step 2: On the File menu, tap the Open option and a Look inbox will pop up

Step 3: In the Files of type option, select system partition then click All Files. Again, click tap on the boot.ini file and click Open

Step 4: Now make your changes to the boot.ini file and click Save.

Solution 3: Use a third-party tool to repair your boot.ini file

There are useful third-party tools that can be used to automatically repair corrupt, incorrect, or misconfigured boot.ini file. The only challenge is these tools are available at your own expense. Some include EasyRE and Lazesoft Windows Recovery.


The boot.ini file is an important component of the booting process. This text file is hidden in the root system of a hard disk. It is very easy for a boot.ini file to be corrupted or misconfigured, especially when editing.

The “Invalid boot.ini file” error message may have been caused while editing or installing a hard disk. Read the solutions provided above and you’ll solve the boot error easily.

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