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Need Win XP boot disc

by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 2:30 AM PDT

I am running Win XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 on a Toshiba laptop. Toshiba only included the recovery disc which will wipe everything. I have no copy of WinXP. I called Toshiba and they advised me to get a boot disc. Little did I know how difficult that would be. I can't boot into safe mode, etc. so obviously that's why I need a boot disc to get into the sys. I've looked for several days at various boot disc programs like sportmau and a few others with reviews all over the place. I need a physical CD, I don't want to try to download/burn a CD, so I am willing to pay a reasonable price for a boot disc that works. I don't need a utility that's full of extras, just something to get it up so I can at least look at the OS. I have an external hard drive, but hadn't been doing regular backups, so obviously I don't want to reinstall unless it's my only option. I realize all systems are different and no guarantees, but can anyone recommend a boot disc for XP? As a final resort I could buy XP home edition but I don't want to put out $80 for that just to get the boot files. I would imagine I have a damaged boot.ini file and other damaged areas on the drive. I know this isn't a new problem or request, I have searched and just come away more confused. The usual plea for HELP! thanks!

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"I don't want to try to download/burn a CD,"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 2:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Need Win XP boot disc

Newegg sells them for not much. I WILL NOT ENTER INTO THE OEM LICENSE DISCUSSION SO IF ANYONE WRITES THAT it might be removed.

Link to and for your CD:

Sorry but I can't find it for under 80 bucks.

If you don't want to download and burn, read this link ->

And today I don't use that since UBUNTU is newer and more capable. A FREE CD can be ordered at


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by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 8:26 AM PDT

thanks for all your help and input...I ordered Knoppix today because the free Ubuntu CD they say takes 10 weeks to arrive, but I will also send for Ubunto just in case, can't hurt to have it esp. if it's a stronger program. I'm hanging out at one of the Knoppix forums to fully understand how it main goal is to at least get my data over to my external. Just how easy that's gonna be remains to be seen but i guess it's a start....

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Read that old site again.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 8:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Ubuntu
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I hope it works :)
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 10:21 AM PDT

I read the site which is from 2004 so as I tend to do when reading older than 6 mos. websites like that I usually think it's mostly outdated and no longer applies to new systems, new this and new that. However, if it works as described or close to it, I'll be happy to save/back up my data and who knows, maybe even be able to fix whatever is hanging up the boot sequence. When my disc arrives I'll definitely let you know exactly what I'm seeing at this end. My experience unfortunately has been that things just don't work as described because systems are different, people have different software installed and on and on. Not anyone's fault, just the way it always seems to be when I'm told "Oh, all you have to do is...." and when i do it, something completely different happens. Just like you're told about the "five minute fix" that turns into a major job. But I am certainly more than happy to try it and get things either saved and/or fixed. Thank you and would love to hear from others who have been saved by this software!

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further info about my crash
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 11:17 AM PDT

just wanted to add, this is the specific message I got which leads me to believe my boot.ini file is glitched:

When booting up to Win XP you may get a error that reads "Unmountable Boot Volume". This is probably because your boot.ini file is messed up

Unmountable Boot Volume is what I get at the blue screen, which I suppose could mean a lot of different things but I'm hoping the boot disc you've recommended will at least allow me to see more and find out how maybe I can fix it or run chkdsk and get things back in workign order...

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Let's say you are correct.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 11:42 AM PDT

BOOT.INI is a simple (?) text file. It is not something I've ever needed the XP CD to correct.

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How would you currect that error?
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 10:23 PM PDT

If you saw unmountable boot volume as an error in Win XD what would you do to correct it, or what is it?

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What I do is
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 10:32 PM PDT

Pretty much the same things you find on google when you type that in.

However you limited your options by not allowing downloads of content from the web. This means that repair is going to take much longer and options I use would not be considered. There's another issue here too. After losing it all a few times I learned that lesson and now am ready for the failures. I collect my CDs, my backups and in fact this morning is all about backups. Sadly it seems I spend a lot of my time making sure I don't lose it all again.

--->>> In your case I think the hard drive replacement and moving the old drive to some USB case would get this machine running in under one hour. But that's your choice.

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thanks for further info
by winxpuser50 / June 22, 2010 1:29 AM PDT
In reply to: What I do is

Unfortunately,I'm limited by circumstances and tech friend wouldn't do it which surprised me, and I don't want to use a friend's computer to do it on theirs, so I'm outta luck on online download of a boot disk. If the disc I ordered doesn't work, I will pull the hard drive and dl the data to my external. Of course, it is all my fault for not doing regular backups. You are doing the right thing to constantly back up esp. if it's data you don't want to lose, so I'm at fault. Life has been kinda crazy lately so I hadn't been doing what I should and this is the result. Looks like I can get a Toshiba hd for around $60-70 which is certainly cheaper than buying a new laptop. I just bought a mini netbook for travel for $270 so my budget is already stretched, but at least I have something for the cd drive in it tho, so can't be used to create a boot from this one Sad ....I'll keep you updated, thanks again for help and patience with my computer problems...

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Let's say you get over your aversion to downloads.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 3:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Need Win XP boot disc
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I need a Win XP boot disc
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 3:59 AM PDT

Re: me not wanting to burn a CD, I had asked a tech friend to do it and he refused, saying he doesn't trust the download sites and wouldn't take responsibility for a CD messing up my system. I don't want to attempt it either. I looked at the site links and the only thing there I might be able to use (if it worked) was the "Multi Tasking Suite" which they sell for $17.95 or something...the other things are diskettes. I need a CD, not diskettes. Has anyone used the Multi Tasking Suite they show there? It says it has boot ability for 60 different systems. Not sure about that, but most of these boot utilities say that type of thing or similar. Another problem witih me burning a CD, I don't want to use a friend's computer to do it either and mess up THEIR system, so I'm stuck. I have to have a physical boot CD and I don't want to attempt making one myself with commands. There also may be more wrong with my system than just the boot.ini file, I have no idea. Thanks again, more suggestions/links welcome esp. if it's boot CD you've actually used, that worked, (no shills please lol) ...I know there's lots of people out here who need a boot CD to at least just get back into their system to see if their files are there or run a simple chkdsk or whatever...thanks again.

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Let me be clear.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 4:15 AM PDT

I've used the site for over 10 years. I think I used it in the 90's but can recall when it came online.

As we can put the boot diskette onto a TORITO boot CD we can get that done.

--->>> Let me add this. I have also used my RETAIL VISTA and RETAIL Windows 7 DVD to boot and perform the CHKDSK when I didn't have the XP CD handy.

The BOOT.INI is a TEXT FILE. I'm a little surprised you want to download that. One of the links showed its content and if I type BOOT.INI at google I get more information.

Yes for some it's all new. For me it's less pain then programming the old GE 210 Minicomputer.

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Could I try this?
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 4:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Let me be clear.

you mention using Vista CD to reboot....I do have a Win98 CD - it's a full program with setup, etc. not one of these 'recovery'type discs. Could I use it to reboot and get into my system? I will say that I did try it and when I hit F8 to get into the run from CD/DVD option, it put me back in the blue screen so I didn't try that again. It may be that it simply won't read the OS on this computer, otherwise I would think it would have shown a Win setup screen of some sort. I'm fearful of somehow screwing up the whole system messing with Win98 as a boot disk but since you mentioned using Vista, and I also saw someone else who said Win98 could be used to boot WinXP, I'd like your opinion. About the boot.ini file, I am no tech so have no idea if that's the proper thing or not, this is way over my knowledge level. Just assuming that since it won't boot , the boot.ini file is corrupted in some way.
Re: diskettes, most of us average computer users haven't used diskettes in several years, it's all CD media, and we don't know how to utilize diskettes anymore for retrieving data, nor do we have drives to read diskettes. Many times during this hunt for a boot CD, someone will direct me to a bunch of diskette download sites .....that won't work for me so it has to be a CD. Anyway, if you have further info on using my WIN98 CD to reboot, that would be appreciated. Thanks!

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The Windows 98 CD is of no use here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 5:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Could I try this?

It doesn't know about NTFS or larger drives we see today.

Keep that Windows 98 CD away from this machine.

As to the boot.ini contents. If I used my Knoppix example updated with Ubuntu I could click around the C drive and open the boot.ini. Even beginners do this (read the oncomputers link from over six years ago) and then can share what's in the boot.ini file.

-->> You are right. The laptop and other makers do not supply any decent repair tools. But there is a reason. To reduce support costs they remove all that and supply a return to factory option. Later they improved this slightly by not erasing the user's files but this feature is still implemented randomly.

Now this may upset you but are your files worth 99 bucks? That's the cost of the XP CD and if you say that's too much then we just set the worth of files?

Again, just trying to help and pointing out the obvious.

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just want to add...
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 5:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Could I try this?

re:, I thought it looked like a good site too and I was surprised my friend simply refused to do any type of download to burn me a boot CD. If it's been online for 10 yrs, that would seem to be pretty good. If I wasn't using someone else's computer that I was afraid I'd screw up, i'd definitely of course try burning a boot CD from their site. I was disappointed my tech friend refused. But maybe he's just being cautious and doesn't want to be held responsible for a bad download that zaps my system. I can understand in a way, but if the site's been there 10 yrs, it would seem to be reputable....

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OVER 10 years.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 5:05 AM PDT
In reply to: just want to add...

I can recall when I first used it but do recall using it in 2000 which for me was a memorable year as I moved from one country to another. And a buddy needed a boot disk so that's what they used.

Ok, let's forget all this?

Why not replace the hard drive. These are cheaper than Windows XP. Example at

So armed with that you keep your old drive, restore the OS and then add this as a second drive with all your files intact.

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Sorry. LAPTOP. New links.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 5:08 AM PDT
In reply to: OVER 10 years.
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hard drive suggestion
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 5:26 AM PDT
In reply to: OVER 10 years.

I appreciate your suggestions but for someone who has never replaced a hard drive I would think that would be a last choice option in terms of wanting to make sure I didn't screw it up and lose my data. Maybe I could attempt it but I still think this is not such a huge or big problem to solve that a boot disc couldn't get me up and running. I see fairly cheap CD's that look like they'd at least get me into my system again...most seem to get bad reviews probably because they attempt to do too many things on too many types of systems. I bet this could be fixed in about five minutes by someone who has a boot disc Sad

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 5:30 AM PDT
In reply to: hard drive suggestion

After being handed too many "this is a five minute fix" jobs I can write that these always end up being a week of negotiation about what the bill will be for the work.

The hard drive swap is done by novices every day. It's not hard at all in most laptops.

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I still want an XP boot CD
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 5:14 AM PDT
In reply to: just want to add...

Yes, my data is worth $99 to me, but in the years I've been using computers, I've never had to reformat or reinstall one time (even tho I've been advised to do this by well meaning individual over the years) and always found a way to keep my hard work and my system intact. At this early stage of the game I see no reason to wipe my whole system when a reboot CD could save my stuff. Thanks for explaining about the Win98 disc. That explains why my OS put me back into the blue screen immediately and didnt do anything with it (hopefully). I did seee someone on a forum (not this one) who had said they used their WIN98 disc to reboot their Winxp, but maybe they were mistaken. Anyway, I'd like to get back to my original question and request for a reliable boot disc utility that people have used to get into their Win XP systems and yes, I'd buy a CD to do it if it works. When I search, the main thing that keeps coming up over and over is Spotmau and the reviews on that were spotty, some good some bad, so that looked somewhat iffy. If anyone here can point me to a good boot CD for purchase that they personally have used on WinXP Service Pack three let me know. Thank you!

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What do you want to DO ...
by Kees Bakker / June 21, 2010 5:22 AM PDT

with your XP CD once it's booted?


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what to do after its booted
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 5:32 AM PDT

that's a good question...I'm not sure what i'll see on the screen or where to go next which is why I liked some of these boot utilities that walked you thru a recover and setup process to get back to normal or fix things. just rebooting and then not knowing what to do next or fix damaged files doesn't help much. Probably the FIRST thing I would try to do is transfer my files onto my external drive. I do have an external drive for indicated, I haven't been doing regular backups which is entirely my fault, but many people unfortunately don't backup as they should. So that's what I'd do first and then if I HAD to reinstall, I'd at least hope the files transferred to the drive properly, which I'd have no way of knowing until my system was back up and I could transfer them back from the external drive.

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A XP CD would not do that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 5:34 AM PDT

XP CD's are rather limited in what they do. If you research the Recovery Console, no support for copying files out. And a repair install definitely puts our files at risk.

That's why I boot up Knoppix or the more modern Ubuntu to save files BEFORE we do the repairs.

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Knoppix, etc
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 5:48 AM PDT

Is Knoppix available on a physical CD? I haven't seen it available that way, I'm back to burning a CD from a download site. I have heard that Ubuntu is useful as a boot utility, and certainly am open to trying anything. But do I have to download and burn it onto a CD? My tech friend wouldn't even agree to help me out and do that for me, from any download site. Are you saying Ubuntu, if I had it on CD, would boot up my Win XP? I would need to know more before trying these utilities, and I still am not in a situation where I can utilize someone else's computer to download and burn a CD, I truly wouldn't want to mess up their system by needing some type of CD utilty like Nero or whatever or zip files, etc. I just want a boot CD that works to get a system back up so I can launch my external drive and get the files transferred before doing further work on the system...

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I would seriously consider that Knoppix CD
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 6:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Knoppix, etc

I've used it myself on other systems and it works great. It won't repair your system, but it will allow you to extract those files you want to pull off and copy them to your eternal drive. Then you are free to reinstall XP if the system is not too damaged.

Can you order a Knoppix CD? I think yes. It's been around for a while now so it still seems to be available. The web site Bob gave, , has a link down the page to "KNOPPIX - Live Linux File System On CD (official Web site)", and on that new page is an Order CD option.

One small proviso. When I tried this Knoppix Live CD with my older XP system it booted up fine, but could not read my disks. I know why. My XP had a two-disk RAID 0 format which the version of Knoppix in those days couldn't recognise.

If your primary drive is just a regular single hard drive, then no problem.

Good luck.


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I may order Knoppix
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 7:08 AM PDT

Thanks so much for your far as I know, my drive hasn't been partitioned and it's still a single standard drive. I probably will order it , it seems to have features that I want, esp potentially being able to transfer data to my external hd. I realize it won't repair my system, but I've found that many of these "repair" utilities do more harm than good and the end result is indeed data loss or such strange changes to the system that it takes forever to straighten out the "fix", so Knoppix hopefully will let me do what I want and then if I need more, I can always take the next step, whatever that may be. I did indeed see a site that allowed for delivery of a paid CD. I didn't go through the purchase process so I hope it's still current and I of course want the latest version. If anyone else has Knoppix experiences to share, please do...thank you again!

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Zero dollars for Ubuntu
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 7:25 AM PDT

I think I noted it but here's the free order page again ->

Knoppix is fine but I upgraded a few years ago.

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Ok, there is a legal issue here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 5:22 AM PDT

Folk that make and sell XP Boot CDs can get into trouble with the (microsoft?) folk out there. For this repair beg and borrow or just pay the man.

It's sad you can't just use the methods I use but all this takes some getting used to. That is, people would cringe as I booted up the Ubuntu CD but calm down as their files showed up and got happy as the files were being copied to some external USB drive.

Mind you that all this didn't happen overnight. I had help and learned a lot on my own.

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legal issues...
by winxpuser50 / June 21, 2010 5:53 AM PDT

the boot CD's I've seen seem to cover many types of systems....they have to be responsible for their own legal issues regarding the discs they sell. They seem to be generic type programs that will work with XP, 98, etc. My concern is do they work, are they worth even $1.98 to bother with or am I wasting my time? I don't want to harm my system or lose data...

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In short.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2010 5:58 AM PDT
In reply to: legal issues...

None work automatically. Look at your BOOT.INI. While you suspect that, you didn't boot up your Knoppix/Ubuntu CD and share what you found. And accessing that file with a XP BOOT CD is painfully hard. I know. I've done that with the XP CD.

What ever you do, backup your files first.

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