Triple Boot XP BSOD


This post was originally published in 2010
It may contain stale & outdated information. Or it may have grown more awesome with age, like the author.

After installing Ubuntu yesterday I found I was no longer able to boot into Windows. After the XP splash screen it would BSOD then restart. Not wanting to waste time reinstalling XP, I had to fix it.

It turns out that Windows doesn’t like having its partition’s position changed – prior to installing Ubuntu, there were two partitions on my disk (Leopard and Bootcamp). As OS X’s Disk Utility does not support non-destructive resizing of NTFS partitions, I resized the HFS+ Leopard partition to make room for Ubuntu. This bumped Bootcamp, XP’s partition down one position on the partition map. Which made it sad.

Windows stores its position on the partition map in the ‘boot.ini’ file, located in the base directory of the Windows partition. To cheer Windows up and get it booting again, all I had to do was change two numbers in this file – basically just update the file manually, telling Windows where it should look … to help it find itself.

When researching this problem I couldn’t find more than an old forum post about it, so for the sanity of my future self ( and you ) I’m documenting the solution here.

The first code block below shows the file as it was before the change, in the state that caused the horrible BSOD at boot:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

And this block shows the file as it was after I made the necessary changes:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

All I did was change the 3‘s with 4‘s.

When the cause of a BSOD is located and fixed, the become funny again. Before the fix however:

“Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death
No one hears your screams.”

From the Salon Haiku Contest.

For more hilarious BSOD information: try

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