A version of Bootcfg can also be run from inside Windows. Type "Bootcfg /?" (minus the quotes) in the Start/Run line to see the commands available that way. Note that the /Rebuild command isn't available from inside Windows; you can only run that from within the Recovery Console. (That makes sense because you only need to totally rebuild the boot information when Windows won't start normally.)
A /List command is also available only from within Recovery Console. It simply lists the entries already in the boot list, which can be useful for checking or as a learning tool.
You can also see entries already in the boot list from within Windows. Right-click on My Computer, then select Properties/Advanced/Startup and Recovery/Settings. The entries are shown in the System Startup portion of the dialog, and you can directly edit the Boot.Ini file by clicking the Edit button there.
You can also view and edit the startup entries via the Msconfig tool. Enter "Msconfig" on the Start/Run line, and you'll see numerous options for modifying the Boot.Ini and related files. The XP help system explains each option pretty well.
But none of these "edit from within Windows" options is available when Windows won't boot, which is why the Recovery Console's little-known Bootcfg /Rebuild command is so important and useful. If you know about this command and how to use it, you can potentially save yourself literally hours and hours of manually reinstalling or rebuilding a failed operating system!
If you'd like more information on Bootcfg, or if you'd like to explore additional boot options, the following will help:
- Microsoft's Recovery Console overview
- Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console
- How to install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP
- A discussion about the Bootcfg command and its uses
- Description of the Bootcfg command and its uses
- How to edit the Boot.ini file in Windows XP
- Google re: Bootcfg
- Recovering Windows XP using the Recovery Console
- XP Rebuild/Recover (via Google)
- Fixboot (from Microsoft)
- Fixboot (from Google)
Here's additional information on slipstreaming:
- From Google
- From WindowsIT Pro
- From HelpWithWindows.com
- From Petri.co.il
- Specific discussion of "Missing HAL.DLL"
- Microsoft on starting the computer in Safe Mode
To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Fred Langa's forum.
To find out more about Fred Langa, please visit his page.