Strange boot options with XP Home SP3 after near fatal mistake

By Subnet_Obsession ·
Good Evening Sirs,

So I wanted to install XP Pro on the backup drive of an older system. I must have been way off my game because not only did I forget to disconnect the primary drive as a fail-safe measure, but I also exited BIOS without saving the changes I made to disable the primary. I run XP Home on the primary.

I ended up installing XP Pro on the primary drive all the way up to the license key entry before realizing what I had done. Once I hashed out what had happened, I was stuck with the option to boot from XP Home or XP Pro on the same partition.

So I used the advanced system settings in control panel to select XP home as the first OS to boot, and then edited the boot.ini file to remove the XP Pro setting.

Now when Windows begins to load, I have the option to boot from XP Home, or Windows (default). The Windows (default) option seems the remnants of the incomplete XP Pro install, yet after everything I've done here I don't understand why it even shows any boot option besides XP Home since I edited the boot.ini file.

Any ideas?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -


by santeewelding In reply to Strange boot options with ...

You are way off your game.

Turn in your card.

Collapse -

You were so close to a dual boot system.

by Ron K. In reply to Strange boot options with ...

Why'd you change it?

Collapse -

Just being safe

by Subnet_Obsession In reply to You were so close to a du ...

I've seen a bit about dual booting, but I'm interested in other things right now. My goal was just to have XP Pro on another drive for now. I want to become more familiar with it before I use it on my primary drive in place of XP Home. Once I feel comfortable I'll format the drive it is on and use it for a backup.

I did get it installed on the backup drive, but having to choose which Windows version I want to use is annoying since there is only one on the drive. I would understand why this is happening if I had used another partition, but there is only one.

Collapse -

Get rid of the XP pro installation

by seanferd In reply to Just being safe

Delete the newly created Windows directory, whatever it is called. Then edit boot.ini again, if necessary, either manually or via the Startup and Recovery dialogue. I believe it is auto-detecting the Pro install.

Collapse -

The two OS's are on different drives

by Subnet_Obsession In reply to Get rid of the XP pro ins ...

There is no directory on the disk other than the XP Home that is supposed to be there.

What I've discovered since posting this, is that the failed installation of XP Pro did not occur on the primary drive, in the same partition os the XP Home installation already there. There are also no other partitions on the primary drive. Yet the nonexistent OS I have the option to boot to, is on the primary.

Pro is now installed on the backup drive, and I installed it (this time) with the primary drive disconnected. Now, even when I start my system with both disks connected, I don't get an option to boot to the XP Pro OS on the backup drive.

So How would deleting an OS on a drive separate from the primary, that was installed when the primary was disconnected, do any good? Especially when location of the phantom OS is located on the primary drive?

I know I got into territory I have never been before, and I got there from a bonehead mistake. But now I'm curious as **** to figure out why this is happening, even if there is no fix.

Collapse -

Well, it wouldn't help,

by seanferd In reply to The two OS's are on diffe ...

as you now state that it is not there to be deleted. Since you have moved the goalposts, of course my suggestion won't help. But I'm guessing that something of the failed install is in your system. An ntldr or whatever.

Backup drive: If this is used to boot an OS, it isn't a "backup drive". If it is meant by the vendor to be used only for backing up in some specialized way, it is unlikely an OS will ever boot from it. If, however, it is simply a regular external drive, you need to make sure that BIOS knows that it is intended to be in the boot order.

Have you tried msconfig? Type msconfig in the run box, go to the boot.ini tab, click "Check boot paths".

Not helping?

Try the boot repair commands like bootcfg, fixboot, fixmbr from the Recovery Console. Check bootcfg first.
(See also related commands links.)

Collapse -

Yeah, I was still learning

by Subnet_Obsession In reply to Well, it wouldn't help,

what had really happened. When I looked back on this thread and the responses I was getting I knew I must have been relaying some things in the wrong way.

I've been saying backup drive because I initially installed it for that purpose. But it's just an old 8GB Quantum Fireball HDD that originally had Windows '95 on it.

I used bootcfg when the problem originally occured, but I'm going to give it a shot in the next couple of days since I know a lot more about what happened now.

As for fixboot and fixmbr, I haven't even tried them because they seem to be a last resort from what I've read. I liked your idea that there may be an extra ntldr file somewhere, but I remember that the original errors I was getting were that there was no ntldr file found. I've also got the BIOS set to boot from the primary drive, but even if I disconnect the other one I still have this phantom boot option.

Also, would the fact that the primary drive is SATA and the other, smaller, drive is PATA be a factor here?

I'll report back soon, and thanks for all the help so far everyone!

Collapse -

Everyone must have gotten bored....

by Subnet_Obsession In reply to Yeah, I was still learnin ...

since there are no new responses.

Okay, so I've checked many suggestions, and found no way to remove the options to boot to the phantom OS. But I did play around with something that made it even worse, which means nothing since having the option to boot to a phantom OS will screw nothing up.

So, using bootcfg /add I created more phantom OS installations in the boot menu. It's kinda neat to have them there because now anytime a family member needs to use my PC they think twice for fear that they will choose the wrong boot option. The names range from XP Home (INFECTED) to XP Pro (ILLEGAL PIRATE), and a few others.

But this still begs the question, if I want to get rid of the extra boot options, what do I do?

Related Discussions

Related Forums