Correcting the Dummy Startup OS problem in Windows XP

Some Windows XP users have reported a booting problem in which the system shows that there are more than one OSs installed (both of them Windows XP), and asks the user to choose between the two. However, the catch is that one of the operating systems is a dummy and does not lead anywhere.

There is no simple workaround to this – you have to find out the boot.ini file that is doing this – and then change it yourself. To do this, follow the steps given below.

  1. Boot your PC in the correct, working version.
  2. Open Windows Explorer, and go to Tools -> Folder Options.
  3. Enable the Show hidden files and folders option in the View tab.
  4. Go to My Computer -> C drive.
  5. Right-click on the boot.ini file and select Properties.
  6. Deselect the Read-only option and click on OK.
  7. Open Notepad (by either entering ‘notepad’ in Run, or going to Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Notepad).
  8. Go to File -> Open in Notepad, and open the boot.ini file.
  9. In the ‘operating systems’ heading, there will two headings – one each for each of the boot options that you encounter while booting your system. Under these two headings, add in some identifying text so that you can distinguish between the two at startup (this text will be within quotes). For instance, you can add “Type A” and “Type B”, or anything else for that matter.
  10. Click on File -> Save.
  11. Exit Notepad.
  12. Restart your PC.

The rest is simple – boot your PC by selecting either of Type A or Type B options at the startup. This will help you to identify the dummy OS. Thereafter, open the boot.ini file in Notepad again, and delete the whole line of text corresponding to the dummy version. This line will typically start with words ‘multi’ or ‘scsi’.

Save the boot.ini file, and undo the changes you made in Steps 1-6 above. Restart your PC. This time, everything should go smoothly as normal.

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