Windows Legacy OS forum


Can't find boot.ini file

by Jerdonald / March 18, 2012 3:06 PM PDT

XP froum,
Windows XP Home Edition version 2002 SP3

I can't find my boot.ini file using the "search" function
only a boot.ini.backup

I have checked "show hidden files and folders" and unchecked
"Hide protected operating system files".

The BOOT.INI tab in msconfig shows the content of a boot.ini
file and using the settings tab in "Startup and Recovery"
I can edit the boot.ini file but it still isn't found
by "search"

Any suggestions?


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All Answers

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It's a hidden protected file.
by Steven Haninger / March 18, 2012 8:10 PM PDT

Windows explorer won't see it unless you un-hide it. You need admin privileges to do that. Rather than step by step instructions, just google "display hidden files and folders in windows xp".

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May I ask
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 19, 2012 5:33 AM PDT

why you want to see it?

We generally don't recommend changing the boot.ini file. Any errors made can halt loading an OS.


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Since you already know ...
by Edward ODaniel / March 20, 2012 4:10 AM PDT

that you can edit the file through the msconfig interface but can't find the file through the Search utility it would appear that you have not set your Folder Options to UNHIDE protected system operating files (you uncheck it and accept the dire warning then it will start showing up).

If you do not want to take that step but do want to find and see and manipulate the file here is what you do (this leaves the rest of the system files well hidden):

1. Open a Command Prompt (various methods but Start > Run> type CMD and click OK works well)
2. In the command prompt window type CD \ then press the enter key
(if you now type DIR boot.* you should only see boot.bak)
3. The prompt should change to C:>
4. now type ATTRIB -s -h boot.ini and press the enter key
5. Now type DIR boot.* and you should see both boot.ini and boot.bak because the file is no longer marked as system nor hidden
6. after doing what you want to do reset the attributes by typing ATTRIB +s + h boot.ini and pressing enter key so someone else doesn't come along and play with or delete the file.

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by Jerdonald / March 21, 2012 2:05 PM PDT


Thanks for the reply.

As I stated in my post above I had unchecked "Do not show hidden
files and folders" and "Hide protected operating system files"
but search didn't find the boot.ini file.

I'm not trying to edit the boot.ini file just copy it to a
flash drive.

Your suggestions worked and I was able to copy it.


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