Using Boot Disk To Perform Windows XP Repair

Damage to the Boot sector or Master Boot Record (MBR), Boot sector virus, corrupt or missing Ntldr or files, damaged or incorrect Ntbootdd.sys driver, and a corrupt or damaged registry are some of the problems that can cause system failure during the boot up process of your Windows XP system. Boot disks enable you to boot your system when it fails to start from the hard disk and allows you to perform Windows XP repair. This article covers the steps to create a Windows XP boot disk and how you can use it to perform Windows XP repair.

How To Create A Windows XP Boot Disk

To create a Windows XP boot disk that works for both NTFS and FAT partitions, first procure a formatted floppy disk. It would be best if you can get a new one. Ensure that the floppy disk is blank and is not infected with any type of virus. As your current computer is not bootable, you will have to get access to another Windows XP computer or Windows XP Setup Disk that you can open on some other system. Now, perform the following steps.

  1. Insert the Floppy disk in the Floppy drive of a working computer and open Windows Explorer.
  2. Right-click the Floppy disk and select Quick Format to format the Floppy disk.
  3. Next, copy the following files to the disk from the XP system or the XP installation CD-ROM:
    • Ntldr
    • Boot.ini
  4. Now, edit the Boot.ini file to set the boot path, called the ARC path, to enable the Ntldr file lo locate the boot partition of your system.

Sample ARC path in a Boot.ini text:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

If your system uses a SCSI hard drive, then under [operating systems] you must replace muti(0) with scsi(0).

After you have created the Boot disk by following the above steps, insert the Floppy disk in your faulty computer and boot it using the disk.

Boot Disk Problems

You may encounter problems loading your system with a boot disk if:

  • The ARC path specified in the Boot.ini file is incorrect. In this case, it is recommended that you copy the Edit command to the Floppy disk so that you can edit the Boot.ini file in case of a problem.
  • The Floppy disk is virus infected, damaged, or corrupt. Always ensure that the disk you are using to create a Boot disk is healthy and free from any type of errors.

What To Do After Booting

After your have successfully booted your PC using the boot disk, you can perform the following tasks to perform Windows XP repair:

  1. Check the Boot.ini file on your computer for errors and rectify them if there are any.
  2. Check the system if any of the files required for booting the system are missing. If they are, then copy the missing files from your Boot disk.
  3. Update your antivirus and anti-spyware programs and run them to remove any infections. Next, ensure that the MBR and boot sector is checked for possible infections.
  4. Open Start > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter and defrag all hard disk partitions, especially the boot partition.
  5. Next, open Start > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup and remove all unwanted data from your system.
  6. Use a registry cleaner tool to scan and remove errors from the registry. This step is important because an unhealthy and unstable registry is one of the main causes behind system failures.


Your Windows XP system may fail to start due to a number of reasons. To boot your PC in case of startup failure, you need to use a Boot disk. The Boot disk comprises files essential to the startup of your system. After you have started your system, you can perform various tasks to analyze what caused the system failure in the first place, and rectify the identified errors.