The boot.ini file is a hidden file that is used to identify in what folder on which partition and on which hard drive Windows XP is located. Boot.ini can become damaged, corrupted or deleted for a number of reasons and is usually brought to your attention by an error message.
Follow these easy steps to repair the damaged/corrupted boot.ini file or replace it if it has been deleted.
Enter Windows XP Recovery Console. The Recovery Console is an advanced diagnostic mode of Windows XP with special tools that will allow you to restore the boot.ini file.
The bootcfg utility will scan your hard drives for any Windows XP installations and then display the results. Follow the remaining steps to add your Windows XP installation to the boot.ini file.
The first prompt asks Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All).
Type Y in response to this question and press Enter.
The next prompt asks you to Enter Load Identifier:.
This is the name of the operating system. For example, type Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition and press Enter.
The final prompt asks you to Enter OS Load options:.
Type /Fastdetect here and press Enter.
Take out the Windows XP CD, type exit and then press Enter to restart your PC.
Assuming that a missing or corrupt boot.ini file was your only issue, Windows XP should now start normally.