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How do I remove boot choices that I no longer want?


I have a annoying problem on my PC. I have 2 partitions on my computer. On the main partition I have Windows XP Pro and I tried to install Windows XP Media Center on my second partition.

All went well until my installation froze, so I had to reboot.

Now every time I boot my PC, I keep having the choose to start with my original Windows XP Pro or Windows XP Pro Setup. And if I choose for the setup, my computer crashes.

Is there a way to remove that choose and all the other installation files from Windows Media Center? I’ve already formatted the second partition.

It sounds like you’ve already gotten rid of the installation files by reformatting, so all that’s really left is getting rid of your boot choice. If the installer worked as I expect it did, it should be easy to fix.

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There’s a hidden file in the root of your boot drive that not many people know about, called “boot.ini”. It controls what happens at boot time. In the past the thing to do was to edit this file manually, but that’s no longer necessary.

Right click on My Computer, and select Properties. Now click on the Advanced tab. In a section labeled Startup and Recovery click on the button labeled Settings. You should now be looking at a dialog like this:

Startup and Recovery options

Click on Edit to edit the startup options file (aka boot.ini) manually. That should open Notepad with something similar to the following from my machine:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptOut
C:CMDCONSBOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

In this example, you can see that I have two options to choose from when I boot: Windows XP, and the Recovery Console. I’m guessing you have an additional line for the XP Pro Setup that you had trouble with it. You can simply delete that line.

And if you’re tired of having the computer wait 30 seconds for you to choose an operating system, you can also change the timeout value, as I have in my example.

Save that file, and when you next reboot you should no longer have that additional option.

99 comments on “How do I remove boot choices that I no longer want?”

  1. I went to the windows 2000 and can’t seem to locate the boot.inf file.

    It has windows 2000 on it and a partially installed xp pro, that went bad.
    Is it safe to delete the windows folder on C drive?

    I am not familiar with 2k os, so I need more detailed information on it. I did a search and the computer comes back no such file. Can it be named something else in windows 2k.

  2. Hey thanks this helped me out heaps, just one this

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition” /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)WINDOWS=”Windows XP Media Center Edition” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
    C:CMDCONSBOOTSECT.DAT=”Microsoft Windows Recovery Console” /cmdcons

    what are some of the meanings eg fastdetect,noexecute=optin

  3. i have similar problem, but it is with windows vista, i deleted vista, but it is still there. any help? i just want xp there

  4. I have a similar problem to the one described above, except that I am using a pc with Windows ME installed. I recently tried an upgrade to XP on a seperate partition, but after removing XP, I still get the choice of which operating system at boot. There is no boot.ini file anywhere on the pc. Is there another way to edit the choices and remove XP so that it automatically starts in ME?

  5. thank u very much, u r one of the few out there helping people like me, thank you very much, very good advice, thx

  6. i have microsoft media edition 2002. how do i find the hidden files that contain web sites visited and copies of email that have been deleted?

  7. about to find hidden files:
    make a new file . then at the left u will find some named files the named files u will find all of the hidden files then u will press on yours. the file will open and u will open options make it unhidden and u will find ur file back on the desk top. thx

  8. I tried your recipe. I printed a hard copy and followed the steps very faithfully.

    It worked partially. I had two entries on the original .ini file and removed one I don’t want. However at boot time, the removed one appears in a different name, just “Windows”. It continues to do the same thing before, i.e. to install my XP pro again.

    Any further suggestions? I know I can get rid of this problem with a clean re-install of my XP, with reforming the selected hard drive. It just does not appeal to me.

    Any further suggestions?

  9. I tried following ur comment but it does not help…I have pasted the content of the matter that i have edited as follows:

    ” [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN “

    the option for the Vista os is still there…it won’t go away…please help…

  10. Hey Leo,

    I want to thank you for being there. Your advice on how to simply remove a boot choice was perfect. I had done it many times before but had to go through a convoluted effort and your pointing out a much simpler method deserves validation. Thank you.

    Dean Blair

  11. i have similar problem but my boot file has my old user and all its files. Now in my new user from folder documents and setting and i can see it but i can’t access it. How to remove it or at least get into it? thx

  12. There’s an easier way to do this. Start>Run>type MSCONFIG>select BOOT.ini tab>Second operating system should be listed there.
    Select it and press “check all boot paths” it will say it’s invalid if you have already formatted or deleted the windows files on that drive. It will give you the option to remove it.

  13. Now even if I stopped windows from the booting choices, I still see Windows and windows(0) sitting in my C drive each swallowing 3 GB of my HD. How do I eliminate this double HD rip ?please

  14. Leo your are like a good to me. Thank you very very very much. I literally wasted 8 hours today just scratching my brain and trying to figure out how to remove that extra like of code. Tried everything from FIXMBR to FIXBOOT , but nothing worked. And your solution was the most simple and it took me only 30 secs to fix this issue on my laptop, thank you once again. And may god bless you.

  15. It didnt’t work with my system…

    I booted from a winXP pro install CD, which doesn’t include a partition tool (I thought it did) on my one partition laptop (with windows XP on it). Setup files were copied successfully but it showed an error in the setup process and I had to shutdown.
    When I restart my computer, I got 2 boot choices, one is my win xp, the other is the win xp setup, which I don’t want anymore.

    I delete the second line from the boot.ini and on the start up and recovery wizard it shows only one choice.
    But when I start my computer, there are still 2 choices, and one of them is changed to “windows xp (default)” from “windows xp setup”.

    I haven’t made a copy of the original boot.ini. What to do now to delete all the setup files and the second boot choice?

  16. Hej Leo

    I have a problem which (I think) wasn’t covered by the article or the ather comments.

    I installed Vista on a computer that had win XP. Before installing, the boot menu had two entries: Win XP, and Win XP Setup. I thought that instaling Vista will give give the choice to format the disk, but no. The old windows was moved to a windows.old folder, and the boot menu now had three entries – entry nr. 2 is now the Vista.
    I premeturly deleted the windows.old folder which means the old Boot.ini is gone.
    Using a boot manager i can only see the vista entry and the XP entry, but not the XP-setup entry. I removed the XP entry.

    the situation now is that I have two entries: 1.Vista and 2.XP-setup which I can’t remove, and which is always the default entry.

    I hope you can understand the complication.

    Any idea how I can solve this mess?


  17. My problem is similar to Amit’s. I installed Vista Pro and subsequently erased it. However, the boot entry remains. BCEdit is needed, apparently, to manage the boot entry for Vista. Is there a way to remove this through XP?

    Thank you.

  18. I have two HDD’s, my main one has Windows XP and my second one i had just installed the Windows 7 Beta on, that didnt work for some reason and now i want tot take out the second old HDD but i want to get rid of the boot choices between the “earlier version of windows” and “Windows 7” so it will automatically boot up with XP which is the earlier version but when i try all the tricks and ways to remove such an option, nothing seems to work. I just want my old auto boot to XP back and no fault windows 7 beta option. I tried looking into it this way but im not sure it’ll help, what should i do?

  19. I am sorry this article is not useful for me. Because I have different problem. That I already deleted the XP by formating and installed VISAT but still giving option for XP during boot. Whwn I reinstalled VISAT giving three option XP and two VISAt where one can ionly boot. Bur t westing time and loking bad.

  20. hi dear
    i installed two os on my pc windows xp and vista
    whenever i was start my pc it shows two options of os but after few days it automaticlly start with windows xp and in edit setting my pc shows only one boot menu so i want to boot my vista but there is no menu occurs whenever i start my pc

  21. yep still missing something, i installed windows 7 beta also after original xp pro install. my boot.ini shows only xp pro but when starting up pc, windows 7 (uninstalled and partition it was installed on removed) is still default option…obviusly can’t start up unless manually change to xp each time.

  22. You should be able to fix all this. Instead of going to “My computer”, because all the Operating Systems will be different, go to your boot drive (C:) and get into “tools”, “folder Options”, in the “View” tab, change the settings to “Show hidden files and folders”, and also untick the box which says “Hide protected operating system files (recommended)”. Then boot.ini should show up in the C: root. get into it and remove the unwanted OS.
    If you have the operating systems installed on different hard drives, then you will need to make sure that you are changing the boot.ini file on the BOOT drive, which should be C:

  23. I had these same exact 2 boot listings and I removed the Windows XP Pro setup boot just as you said to do but upon reboot it is now repleced with a Windows default boot along with my Windows XP Pro boot but I can’t find the Windows default boot listed anywhere. I looked in msconfig and in my computer/properties/advanced/settings/edit too.

  24. Here is my boot.ini

    [Boot Loader]
    [Operating Systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

    • complete remove this with
      [boot loader]
      [operating systems]
      multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

  25. Hi There,
    This is Zack here.

    I installed Windows XP Pro and then again in another partition installed Widows Vista in the same hard drive with four partitions.

    Now, Vista was hanging up sometimes and I formatted that drive, and then whenever I tried to boot I get two options as follow:

    Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    Microsoft Windows (default)

    The boot.ini file is as follow:

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /usepmtimer

    Now, is there a way out so that I can completely get rid of that useless “Windows Default” option from the boot option and because there is only one OS installed now which is XP Pro, and it boots my Windows XP Pro normally without any options?

    Please help me.

  26. if you are not sure what are you going to do with “Boot.INI” then better not to touch it,if u made some changes and after that your not able to run windows on your OS then what u have to do is to insert windows CD choose option “R” for Repair choose your OS 1 then Enter Admin Pass if any or just press Enter. now type boot fix, Enter and follow the instructions once u done with this just restart your System and enjoy is working fine now………Ali jan……..available for your help always…… [email address removed]

  27. hey dude i have a really annoying problem ….!
    i start xp setup just to format a partition but it continued till up to copying files stage, like about 70% and i took off the computer. When i started up again i saw the setup as i choice but i didnt, i booted up in the other choice; XP and edited the startup & recovery option. I am now cin “window (default)” as the new choice along with the normal Xp
    I wanna know how can i remove that

    i’m dual booting vista and xp ….

  28. I am using XP Professional and the first hard Disk which contains the primary partition broke now but I was already using the first one before that which already contains a partition now when I removed the Broken one I am still getting those two options.

    I could have reduced the time to get rid of it but its by default is selecting the broken one.

    What shoul
    d I do ?

  29. i made the mistake of of changing time to display to “0” and “0” and now i can’t boot up. do i have any hope withhout the recovery cd. please help me!

  30. I kinda have the same problem, I tried to install windows 7 on a secondary partition but it just crashes, but now there is a boot option that asks if i wanna do the install or old windows boot. how would i remove the install option from popping up? i already looked in boot.ini


  32. You could simplify even further this “safely” without going through the boot.ini modification, by selecting the desired operating system, under the “Desired Operating System:”, and reduce the “Time to display list of operating systems:” to zero. Voila, startup problem solved. Same goes for System 7!

  33. I’m running Vista and when I try to boot up my pc “beeps” over and over and over and tells me the following:

    PATH: windowssystem32winload.exe
    Partition: 2
    Hard Dick 6d702ecc

    Help! I am not a computer geek and don’t know what to do. Any instructions would be appreciated although you must know I don’t too much about pc’s.

    Thanks a lot.

  34. hi all, new here.
    here’s my laptop details:
    Gateway Laptop with Vista Home Prem. upgraded from xp home. 2ghz,2gig ram, 120gb, model mx6447.

    i’ve got the same problem as Sher who posted above about the “edit boot option” error messgs. except i got these problems.

    #1: i’ve tried formatting and reinstalling vista home prem. to original factory 2 times. also, i’ve tried restore cd from the gateway restore cd too and that didn’t help. i can still boot to desktop though after setting up from vista cd.

    #2: i also keep getting the boot option dialogue box during boot. like Sher’s post above.

    it gets annoying. how do i turn that off so it wont display the boot options dialogue box during boot up. but befor O.S choices. im not talking about the Operating System boot selection.

    #3: sometimes when i choose to go into the bios setting from setup option in the boot option dialogue box, it will take me to bios setting screen and beep.(forgot how many times)and the dialogue box saying “save configuration settings and restart, yes or no” ..something like that. it keeps popping up so much it take a while for me to click on No and tab over to the default setting.

    #4: When im on desktop or online using internet explorer my window would restor down and restor up repeatedly on its own. even when i click on the maximize box. also, the menu bar and tool bar i believe thats what its call gets hidden when it does this. so i would have to hover to the very top to make it reappear. but my windows still does the restore up and down non-stop until i close it. or sometime it stop for a while and then starts over again. it gets so annoying i cant even surf the web.

    #5: damn keyboard is not working can’t type. i notice sometime when im in explorer window where there’s a search box the comma (,) repeatedly types by itself across like the comma key is stuck pressed down. i can’t even backspace but if i press the comma key then it stop typing commas. and when i press very hard on some keys it take a very long time to show up.

    please help us out i don’t know if Sher has exact problem as mine, but it sound like it.

    i think all of my 5 problems is related to each other that is why i am having so much problem with this Gateway laptop.
    help me before its too late, because i am very frustrated and on the edge of dumping it for a new laptop. A Very Thank You and Apreciation from us Dummy in advance. thank you.

  35. This worked – for ending the boot selection for me… though one has to manually enter the boot id for the delete operation in CMD panel.

    My situation is Vista on Drive 0 (c:), Windows 7 on Drive 1 (d:). Thanks to this article, I no longer get the option, but rather boot directly to W7. Fyi I purposely installed W7 as a dual-boot, just in case.

    But Now W7 is the winner. Question is:

    How do I recover the c: partition? It shows as a SYSTEM partition and W7 management refuses to alter it in any way. Ideally, I’d like to leave D; as the W7 system partition and use C: for other purpose- – maybe a RAID partition… but W7 says “NAH!”


  36. i have followed this topic steps every thing iok i’ve getride of the unwanted boot choice looking fordward for yuor experince.
    higthly apprciate your help

  37. Hi there,
    I have Win XP and SUSE installed o my PC, While start up I am geting an option for OS boot seletion by default SUSE is Beeing loaded, And i want to load Win XP as default OS can u help me with this… Thanks in advance

  38. Hello, Very interresting info BUT my case seams a bit different. I had a dual boot XP and VISTA onto different HDs. The Vista hdd did crash totally. I had no problem to run XP as I had the choice between XP and Vista at boot time.So I installed a new HD with clean partition, active, …Now I am ready to reinstall Vista .
    I set the vista installation CD in the CD/DVD reader , the BIOS Is changed to access the CD as first choice . When I boot the PC I still receive the selection window XP or Vista ??? I select XP and XP starts …I select Vista it is refused… In fact I cannot boot from the vista installation CD . I have controlled the boot.ini in XP (there is NO vista installed anymore) and i have the following :
    ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
    ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /FASTDETECT /NoExecute=OptIn

    My question what to do to get rid of the selection XP-Vista and allow the boot using the Vista installation CD? Actually i do not know what to do..

    Thanks in advance …

  39. didnt work. mine still says install windows xp pro during start up i really need to repair windows xp but it doesnt want to boot from the cd yes mine is set to boot from cd first and it even reads the drive during boot up and then just goes to os choices menu

  40. Hi there,

    I have the same boot choices problem, but I have vista. I followed your steps, but mine does not give me an edit option. Any thoughts?

  41. i install xp with flashdisk before, unfotunately after install i cant get in to xp, i dunno why.
    after i test install xp again but now wtih dvdrom.
    and i see 2 option boot microsoft xp, one can get in, other cannot.
    its annoying every time boot must choose.
    thanks to you, i follow your guide and then my problem solbved

  42. Hi,

    I have windows vista and windows XP in partition drives.After windows vista i installed windows XPin different drive.Now window XP loading default there is no option for dual boot.I required to remove XP and i need my previous vista.I tried every way.but i can’t,Please suggest me.

  43. I have a similiar problem with XP.

    When I turn on my computer it gives me choices to start up both saying Windows (default) and counts down from 28 seconds. No matter which one I choose it still works, but its annoying.

    I have gone in and edit the “System Start-up” section to what you is default, but I dont have a choice on the “Default Operating System” drop down box. Actually, nothing is there at all.

    I did at one point install Style XP and fixed that issue, but this one I just want gone.

    Any suggestions?

  44. I have a system error message stating that the following file is missing or corrupt. windowssystem32configsystem. I used the setup disk that I have like they tell me too and it asked what windows installation do i want to log onto… It seems I have more than one windows on my computer. I don’t know what to do now… help…..

  45. guysss, mine is triple boot: xp, vista and win7.
    i decided to partition vista (was on the XP OS doing it) shared the unallocated bytes to xp and win7 .. i need to remove the vista from my booting options, how, need help? thanks

    here’s my boot.ini:
    ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
    ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Windows” /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT

  46. for win 7 you must follow the same steps, but when you reach startup and recovery all you have to do is uncheck the box which says “Time to display list of operating systems” this should fix you boot option problem.

  47. Great article! Gave me just what I needed after an XP reinstall on an old computer. I ended up with a small partition and needed to select which to boot from every time I started the computer. This article got me fixed right up
    Thank you

  48. Hello!

    I have previously installed Windows XP home Edition,
    And I installed Windows 7 in another partition,
    I no longer need Windows 7 so I formatted the drive having Windows 7
    But Still I am getting boot choices for Windows 7
    I want to remove it’
    Can you pls help me!
    Thanks In advance!

  49. In Windows 7 and Vista, instead of clicking on the Advanced tab, click “Advanced System Settings” in the left hand column and then click on the Advanced tab, after that, click on “Settings” under “Startup and Recovery”. Since there is no longer an option to edit the boot.ini, clicking on “Time to display list of operating systems” checkbox to remove the check mark should cause the computer to boot up without giving a choice of boot options.

  50. I have Windows XP Professional. When I boot up the startup choice defaults to Windows instead of Windows XP Professional, then it goes to a setup menu. I escape this and restart to manually select Windows XP Professional. How do I get rid of the Windows Setup default forever?

  51. i have windows 7 bt when i go to advanced system settings,,,,there comes no option to edit the list of operating system manually,,,,,so how it can be done in this case.

  52. Hi Leo,

    I opened the file but it only shows the one option for the operating system I am running, and yet I see the options for Windows 7 when I start my computer. Can you help me with that please?

    Thanks a lot

  53. Hi how can i do this in window 7? im getting a problem when i remove my second had drive, boot error something like filesystem error, grub rescue

    in my boot menu it has 2 windows 7 and 3 linux mint

  54. i have windows xp and windows 7 installed in different partitions of the HD. recently, i formatted the drive where i installed windows 7 and it is the default os. my problem is how do i remove that windows 7 choice when i boot, when all i see in the boot ini file is this.

    ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
    ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT

    i dont get it. please help. many thanks in advance.

  55. For some reason, XP setup leaves a false second boot choice. This note saved me at least a couple of hours of trial and error and with nine PCs due off the bench tomorrow, I needed that time. Thanks!

  56. Thanks you so much it works but you must add the end result so that one can copy and paste there removing all other written there, which is
    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

  57. i have 2 OS in my PC one is Windows XP and Secound is Windows & ultimate, However suddenly i just dot get that select OS menu and its start with the Windows XP. now what to do for bring bank that option and Run Win. 7 ?

  58. llo!
    I have previously installed Windows XP home Edition,
    And I installed Windows 7 in another partition,
    I no longer need Windows 7 so I formatted the drive having Windows 7
    But Still I am getting boot choices for Windows 7
    I want to remove it’
    pls help me!

  59. @thejusnet

    Just use msconfig. windows key + r then type msconfig. There is a tab labeled boot, and the boot choices are listed there, with the current OS labeled.

    Delete the choices you no longer use.

    Now you can pick up all the hair you scratched out trying to figure out the cmd prompt stuff

  60. i went to start up and recovery but ended up deleting everything and now when i reboot it says, “invalid boot ini file , booting from C:” but this is the partition that i was supposed to have been deleted because it is an incomplete installation that i tried to do a while back. how can i get back what i seem to have lost

  61. I installed win7 in local disk c and win8 in local disk d but i formatted local disk d accidently now when i open my pc win 8 boot screen appears and my pc starts to restart again and again

  62. My win7 pc has said missing operating system or that has not my win7 desktop only show American megatrends

    • Missing operating system is often because it’s trying to boot from something other than the internal hard drive. Try disconnecting USB drives (and removing any floppy disks … ha! … if this is a very old machine. πŸ™‚ ).

      • Floppy disks? πŸ™‚ This is 2016. I asked my university students this week if they’ve ever used a floppy disk, and it turned out that none of tham had ever used a floppy in their lives.

    • Backup everything first, ideally to an NTFS formatted external disk. An install of Windows will likely overwrite all. (You could install to a different partition, but the default disk formats are different and Windows would not be able to access the Ubuntu partition.)

  63. 1. Right click on the My Computer icon on your Desktop.

    2. Select (left click) Properties.

    3. Select (left click) Advance tab.

    4. Look for ‘Startup and Recovery’.

    5. Click on Settings.

    6. Click on the ‘Edit’ button. Notepad will pop up.

    7. Look for ‘[Operating Systems]’

    8. Copy the line ‘multi(0) …’ which mentions the operating system of your choice. (If you feel uncomfordable with these instructions LEAVE NOW and call a professional).

    9. Paste the copy under the copied line.

    10. Shorten or change what is between “” to “Whatever”.

    11. Close and save or save and close the Notepad.

    12. Look for ‘Default operating systems:’.

    13. I’ll skip this number.

    14. Click on the down arrow and choose “Whatever”.

    15. Click ‘Ok’.

    16. Restart your computer.

    17. Now you have ” Whatever” as default in your boot menu. Your computer will automatically boot in n amount of seconds to “Whatever” operating system.

    18. Go to 1. again to get back to the Startup and Recovery dialogue box. Now you know what to do to change the amount of seconds untill your computer boots into the Default operating system.

    You will notice that the annoying default choice has dissapeared along our process of making changes.

  64. after delete the fault Line in Boot.ini file, problem is not solved . there is same two choice at boot . write like this
    1- windows xp……..
    2- windwos (defult)
    my problem did not solve

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