Make Windows Boot Faster by Editing Boot.ini File


This mini tutorial teaches you on how to edit and tweak the Boot.ini in your windows XP machine to make your windows load much faster.

What is the Boot.ini file?
The lowly Boot.ini file is one of the very first files windows refers during the boot process. It has important information on where windows XP is located (in which hard drive and in which partition). Also if it’s a multi-boot system it provides information on the location of the other operating systems as well.

The Boot.ini is a text file always found at the system root, usually at C:\Boot.ini. It’s a hidden read-only file and so if you don’t see it in your C:\ then you should enable viewing of system and hidden files in your computer by going to Tools > Folder Options > View > advanced options uncheck ‘Hide extensions for known file types” and select “show hidden files and folders” radio button (take a look at the image below). After enabling of viewing of hidden files and folders, Boot.ini must now be visible at c:\ (or whatever your computers system partition is.)

Making Hidden Files visible
Note: Before you change open up or edit the Boot.ini file it is wise to copy and paste the Boot.ini file else where in the drive to serve as a backup, in case something goes wrong with the orininal one, you can always replace it with the backedup copy.

What is in the Boot.ini?
Open up Boot.ini in note pad. You would see some date like this

[boot loader] timeout=30
[operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect

“timeout=30” tells windows on how many seconds it has to wait before booting the default operating system

default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS” tells that the default operating system to be loaded is windows located at the hard drive with the address “multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)

[operating systems]“ is the list of operating systems installed in the system. Since there is only one operating system there is just one entry i.e.. “Microsoft Windows XP Professional” if the system was a multi-boot system it would have entries for other operating systems like for example “C:\BOOTSECT.LNX=”Linux” for Linux.

What to tweak in the Boot.ini?
There two things that can be tweaked in the Boot.ini file to considerably boost windows start up time.

The first one is to change the timeout value to 0. Most of our systems have only one operating system which must boot by default. So we don’t require a 30 second waiting period. Replace the line “timeout=30” with “timeout=0”

Secondly windows can be booted with several switches which significantly controls how the windows boots. Adding a switch called /noguiboot removes the default windows loading animation when windows boots up and thus saves considerable time. This can be done by adding the switch next to the /fast detect switch. So “WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect “ becomes “WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect /noguiboot“ . Note there is a space between single space between the t of fast detect and / of noguiboot. If there were other switches like /NoExecute=OptIn which would have been added due to your other windows settings just add the /noguiboot switch next to it.

Save the Boot.ini file and reboot the system and enjoy the faster boot up time. If something doesn’t happen as expected, not to worry, you always have the saved copy of the original Boot.ini file. Just replace the edited one with the original


  • Where does it decide where to look for the boot.ini file? My pc still looks at the old partition for the boot file. the new RAID partition has a boot file but its not looking at that one. it looks at the one on drive I (the old C drive. I would like to format the old C drive but i cant until i get windows to look at the boot file on C. HELP!

  • Easy way to get editable “boot.ini”.
    Under “Run”, just type in “boot.ini” .

  • Gentlemen,
    As suggested, I’ve changed the timeout to timeout=0. Now, windows refused to boot properly. It is now stuck in a endless startup loop then just type “sudo rm ….. I now to make Windows Xp boot faster. ( 7) … Off the topic, my more recent computer been invaded with a virus, now, I can’t access desktop. I’ve tried the taskmanager trick (disable then enable desktop or explorer.exe). Nothing seems to work. Thanks for the insight.