Custom Boot Menu for Windows XP 

One of the first things that I do upon receiving a new windows computer is create my own custom boot menu that shows up every time I boot my machine.

This is especially handy when you suspect a virus; you can reboot into safe mode and scan for it.

It is extremely easy to create a custom boot menu for your self.

When you first boot up your computer and you see the “Windows Loading” screen, turn off your computer by holding in the computer and then turn it back on again.

Now when you boot up you will see a Windows boot menu with various Safe-mode boot options. So you can choose to boot into Safe mode, regular mode, etc.

Creating the custom boot.ini

Details for boot.ini options and  in-depth info

  1. Go to Start->Run-> type cmd
  2. Type cd c:\
  3. Type attrib boot.ini
    Now you should see A   SHR   C:\boot.ini
  4. Type attrib -S -H -R
  5. Type type boot.ini to see your current boot.ini
  6. Type edit boot.ini to edit your boot.ini
  7. Once done editing, type attrib +S +H +R to return the boot.ini file attributes to normal.
  8. reboot and now you have a custom boot.ini!

My custom boot.ini

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="XP Pro Normal" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin /numproc=2
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="XP Pro SMode" /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog /noguiboot
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="XP Pro SMode with Net" /safeboot:network /sos /bootlog /noguiboot
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="XP Pro SMode with CMD" /safeboot:minimal(alternateshell) /sos /bootlog /noguiboot
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="XP Pro Debug" /debug /sos /basevideo /noguiboot /bootlog
C:CMDCONSBOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

Available switch options for the Boot.ini file

  1. /basevideo
  2. /baudrate=number
  3. /crashdebug
  4. /debug
  5. /debugport=comnumber
  6. /maxmem=number
  7. /noguiboot
  8. /nodebug
  9. /numproc=number
  10. /pcilock
  11. /fastdetect:comnumber
  12. /sos
  13. /PAE
  14. /HAL=filename
  15. /kernel=filename
  16. /bootlog
  17. /burnmemory=number
  18. /3GB
  19. /safeboot:
  20. /NoSerialMice
  21. /userva
  22. /redirect
  23. /channel

Details for boot.ini options and  in-depth info

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    Thanks to apachethedude for suggesting a very good idea. However, here are a few tips for doing this in a safer and better manner.

 1) You do not need to shut your system off mid boot, and it is not adviseable to do so as the rare chance of file corruption (ie registry) can occur. This is for any OS. In Windows, as soon as the POST text clears, press the F8 key and it will safely bring up the same menu giving options for safe mode, ect.

2) Do not just cut and paste the text shown for the boot.ini. Different disk controller types means the device text may be slightly different. SCSi VS IDE VS sata. So keep the device names the same as your file shows. it's the added switches on the end that make the menu choices.

3) I would suggest you make a backup of your boot.ini first in case you typo in it. A typo can render the file bad an thus your system un-bootable. Making a backup allows you to get yourself back to square one quickly simply by booting to a command prompt. If you did change the file and it does not boot, you can either copy back the file if you made a backup, or if not, then boot to your XP CD, choose recovery console, and then run the FIXBOOT command. It can repair your file. See FIXBOOT /? for more details.


By: Abdul

[boot loader]timeout=00default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS[operating systems]multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect