Why can't I find my boot.ini file?

A. When your computer starts up, it uses the boot.ini file to find the instances of Windows 2000 or Windows NT (and other OSs, such as Windows Millennium Edition—Window Me—and Windows 98). It also specifies the amount of time to pause before the system automatically executes the default choice.

Learn more: Editing the Boot.ini File

The boot.ini file is on the system partition at the root of the drive, usually C:\boot.ini. However, it's a hidden file, which is probably why you can't see it. Perform the following steps to find the file:

  1. Start a Command session (Start, Run, cmd.exe).
  2. Type the following command (ah stands for "attribute hidden"):

    dir c:\boot.ini /ah<br><br>
  3. You should see the boot.ini file. If you can't find the file on the root of the C drive, you might have some boot software installed or the C drive isn't the active partition. Check the root of each drive with the dir /ah command.

To remove the hidden attribute from the boot.ini file, type the following command from a Command session:

attrib c:\boot.ini -s -h -r<br><br>

This command removes the system (s), hidden (h), and read-only (r) flags. You must remove the system attribute to remove the hidden attribute. Now, you can modify the file. After you've modified it, you should reset the attributes:

attrib c:\boot.ini +s +h +r<br><br>

Learn more: Kick-Start Startup with Boot.ini

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