Windows XP / Getting Started

Disabling the system boot screen

You enjoying the fun blue bars moving across your screen when your system starts up? Not? Are you finding that you can live without the daily reminder that you are running Windows XP? If so, then you might want to consider removing the boot screen. One added advantage to doing so: You will be getting a boost of performance in return.

Disabling the boot screen might only save you a fraction of a second off your boot time. But keep in mind, every fraction of a second counts. You will see a definite performance increase.

This performance improvement works on a very simple principle. It takes time for the computer to do anything.Taking away some work that it has to do, such as loading the boot screen, will free time that it can spend loading your system files instead.
The process for disabling the system boot screen is similar to the process for modifying the default operating system in the boot file. If you do not have any other operating systems installed on your system, then you will have to create your own boot.ini file to place in your drive root (that is, the c:\ drive). Create a file first, and will then show how to modify the boot.ini file if you already have one in your drive root or have multiple operating systems installed.

Creating the boot.ini file

This section will show you how to create a boot.ini file for your computer if you have just one operating system installed and you do not already have a boot.ini file in your drive root. To get started, let's go over what the boot.ini file looks like. The boot.ini file that disables the boot screen looks like the following:

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

The above boot.ini file is pretty standard except for the addition of the /noguiboot to the last line of the file. That is the parameter that tells Windows to start up without using the graphical user interface boot screen. To get started, open up a copy of Notepad, found in the Accessories menu of the All Programs entry, in the Start Menu and follow these steps:

  1. On the first line of the file, type in [boot loader] and on line 2 of the file, key in timeout = 0 so Windows does not show the boot selection screen at all. You don't want this anyways because you only have one operating system installed on your computer.
  2. On line 3 of the file, type in default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS so that Windows knows where to look on your hard drive to start the operating system.
  3. On line 4, type in [operating systems].
  4. On line 5, type in multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noguiboot to start up Windows with the /noguiboot parameter to disable the boot screen.
    If you upgraded your computer from Windows 2000 or any other NT-based product and your root Windows directory is not Windows, then you will have to make one change to the boot.ini file to correct where the path of the Windows files are located. On Lines 3 and 5, replace all references to \WINDOWS to \WINNT or the name of the directory to which you installed Windows. This will set your system to boot from the right folder.
  5. Click the File menu bar item and select Save As.
  6. Type Boot.ini in the File name box and change the Save as type to All Files.
  7. Then, change the Save in directory to your drive root, which is usually Local Disk (C:) and then Click the Save button and you are now finished.

You can now close Notepad. The next time you reboot your computer, you will not see the boot screen.

Modifying an existing boot.ini file

If you have a multi-boot system or already have a boot.ini file, then all you have to do is open up your boot.ini file in Notepad and follow these steps:

You should make a backup copy of your existing boot.ini file just in case you make a mistake editing the file. To make a backup, just open up My Computer to your root drive where the boot.ini file is located, then right-click it and select Copy. Next, right-click the white background of the folder and select Paste. This is an easy way to make a backup copy of the file that will be automatically named copy of boot.ini.

  1. Locate the Windows XP line in your boot.ini file that will look similar to "multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect".
  2. Type /noguiboot at the end of the line one space after /fastdetect and then click File and select Save.

These instructions will remove your boot screen. But should you change your mind after you made the change, it is very easy to get the boot screen back. Simply remove the /noguiboot from the boot.ini file. If you are working from the file that you created yourself or copied from the CD-ROM, just delete it.

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