"C:\Boot.ini File Can Not Be Opened" Error Message When You Try to Make Changes to Your Boot.ini File by Using the System Tool

Support for Windows Server 2003 ended on July 14, 2015

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

When you open the System tool in Control Panel, and then click the Advanced tab in the System Properties dialog box to make changes to your System Startup options on a Windows Server 2003-based computer, you may receive the following error message:
The C:\boot.ini file can not be opened. Operating System and Timeout settings can not be changed.
Note To open the System Properties dialog box, click Start, point to Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.
This problem may occur if the partition where Windows Server 2003 is installed is assigned any letter other than "C." This issue may occur in a dual-boot scenario or when the drive letters have been reassigned by a third-party program such as Citrix DriveRemap.exe.

Windows stores the System Startup options in the hidden Boot.ini file that is located in the root of the system partition. In this scenario, Windows incorrectly enumerates the drive letters on the system and uses the default path of C:\Boot.ini. Because "C" is typically used for the system partition, this problem does not occur on most systems, where this is a valid path.

Hotfix Information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.


No prerequisites are required.

Restart Requirement

You must restart your computer after you apply this hotfix.

Hotfix Replacement Information

This hotfix does not replace any other hotfixes.

File Information

The English version of this fix has the file attributes (or later) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in coordinated universal time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.


   Date         Time   Version            Size    File name   --------------------------------------------------------------   20-Aug-2003  20:14  5.2.3790.78       274,432  Sysdm.cpl   12-Aug-2003  16:54                        271  Branches.inf   20-Aug-2003  21:05                     10,091  Kb827180.cat   20-Aug-2003  20:17                        354  Updatebr.inf   20-Aug-2003  20:17                      5,095  Update_rtmqfe.inf


   Date         Time   Version            Size    File name   --------------------------------------------------------------   20-Aug-2003  20:14  5.2.3790.78       475,136  Sysdm.cpl   20-Aug-2003  20:14  5.2.3790.78       274,432  Wsysdm.cpl   12-Aug-2003  16:54                        271  Branches.inf   20-Aug-2003  21:04                     10,444  Kb827180.cat   20-Aug-2003  20:19                        354  Updatebr.inf   20-Aug-2003  20:19                      5,355  Update_rtmqfe.inf
To work around this problem, manually edit the Boot.ini file in Notepad. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Notepad.
  2. On the File menu, click Open.
  3. In the Open dialog box, change the selection in the Files of type box to All Files, and then change the selection in the Look in box to the root of your startup (boot) drive.
  4. In the root folder of your startup drive, open the Boot.ini file.

    Note The Boot.ini file is a hidden operating system file. To find the Boot.ini file, change your folder options in Windows. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Right-click Start and then click Explore.
    2. On the Tools menu in Windows Explorer, click Folder Options.
    3. On the View tab, double-click Hidden files and folders, and then click Show hidden files and folders.
    4. Click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box.
    5. Click Yes to the following message:
      You have chosen to display protected operating system files (files labeled System and Hidden) in Windows Explorer.

      These files are required to start and run Windows. Deleting or editing them can make your computer inoperable.Are you sure you want to display these files?
    6. Click OK to close the Folder Options dialog box.
  5. Make the changes that you want to the Boot.ini file, and then on the File menu, click Save.
  6. On the File menu, click Exit to close the Boot.ini file and to quit Notepad.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

Article ID: 827180 - Last Review: 07/24/2007 19:06:05 - Revision: 6.10

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86), Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86), Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition

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