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Microsoft Windows XP Setup Remains in Boot.ini

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
After you upgrade to Microsoft Windows XP and restart your computer, you may receive the Windows XP startup menu with the following options:
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Setup
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional (If Windows XP Professional was installed)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Setup (If Windows XP Professional was installed)
If you select Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition or Microsoft Windows Professional, the computer starts correctly. If you select Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Setup or Microsoft Windows XP Professional Setup, the computer restarts, or Windows XP Setup restarts.
To resolve this issue, edit the Boot.ini file to remove the Setup reference from it or restore the computer to its previous configuration.

Edit Boot.ini

  1. Click Start and then click My Computer.
  2. Double-click the drive letter where Windows XP is installed.
  3. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  4. Click the View tab.
  5. Click the Show hidden files and folders button.
  6. Click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box.
  7. Click OK.
  8. In My Computer, double-click the Boot.ini file to open the file in Notepad.
  9. Under [operating systems], remove the line that refers to Windows XP Setup.
  10. Change the "default=" line to match the installation location.

    For example, the remaining line under "[operating systems]" may be the following line:
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
    If so, change the "default=" line to the following line:
  11. On the File menu, click Save.
  12. Restart the computer.

Restore the Computer to Its Previous Configuration

If Windows XP Setup was not completed, use one of the following methods to restore your previous operating system.

Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition

  1. To start the computer, use a startup disk that was created in the previous operating system.
  2. At the command prompt, type:
    sys c:
  3. Press the ENTER key.

    The boot sector is restored to its previous configuration.
  4. Remove the startup disk, and then restart the computer.
  5. After your earlier version of Windows starts, explore Drive C and delete the following folders:
    • $win_nt$.~bt folder
    • $win_nt$.~ls folder

Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT 4.0

  1. Start the computer.
  2. After the BIOS completes the power-on self test (POST), the Startup menu appears briefly. The timeout may be set to one second. Therefore, you must be alert.
  3. As soon as the POST is completed, press the UP ARROW key repeatedly (do not hold down the key) to stop the Start menu timer.
  4. When the Startup menu appears, select your previous operating system (it may be listed first), and then press the ENTER key.
  5. After the computer starts your previous operating system, click Start, and then click Run.
  6. Type:
  7. Click OK.
  8. Right-click the Boot.ini file, and then click Properties.
  9. On the General tab, click to clear the Read-Only check box.
  10. Double-click the Boot.ini file to edit the file in Notepad.
  11. Remove the following line:
    c:\$win_nt$.~bt\bootsect.dat="Windows XP Installation/Upgrade"
  12. On the File menu, click Save.
  13. On the File menu, click Exit.
  14. In the Drive C window, delete the following folders:
    • $win_nt$.~bt
    • $win_nt$.~ls

Article ID: 827324 - Last Review: 12/08/2015 04:26:33 - Revision: 1.2

Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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