Using Recovery Console
The standard and recommended way to repair your boot.ini is to boot to your Windows installation CD and through the recovery console perform a repair on the boot config. This can be done by calling bootcfg /rebuild, however, this requires you to have administrative privileges for the Windows installation that you are attempting to fix. As I recently discovered this may not always be the case, luckily I remembered my good friend Knoppix.
Knoppix is a free Linux bootable Live CD. It allows you to boot to a fully functional Linux system, without having to perform an install or without any other permanent effects.
This workaround allows you to fix the boot.ini file, without requiring administrative privileges, however in order to be able to boot to Knoppix you will need to be able to boot from your CD drive.
- Download the latest version of Knoppix. *The version I used was 5.1.1
- Burn the ISO to a bootable CD.
- Insert the Knoppix CD into the problematic computer and boot from CD.
- Once the boot screen is presented press Enter to start loading or press F2 or F3 for more boot options.
- After Knoppix has finished loading you should see an HDD image (you may see multiple images, depending on the number of fixed drives on your machine).
- Right-click your Windows drive and press “mount”.
- Right-click the drive again and press “change read/write mode” in order to be able to edit the boot.ini file.
- Open the drive and navigate to the boot.ini file.
- Open boot.ini and edit as required.
- Save the file and restart to windows, be sure to remove the Knoppix CD.