How to Write a New Partition Boot Sector for Windows XP

Use the fixboot command when the boot sector is corrupt

What to Know

  • Boot your computer from the Windows XP CD > press R key when Windows XP Professional Setup.
  • In the Recovery Console, choose your Windows installation, enter password, and type fixboot in the command line.
  • The fixboot utility will write a new partition boot sector to the current system partition.

This article explains how to write a new partition boot sector using the fixboot command.

How to Use Fixboot to Write a New Partition Boot Sector

You need to enter the Windows XP Recovery Console, the advanced diagnostic mode of Windows XP with special tools that allow you to write a new partition boot sector to the system partition.

Here's how to repair a damaged or unstable partition boot sector: 

  1. Boot your computer from the Windows XP CD by inserting the disc and pressing any key when you see Press any key to boot from CD.

  2. Wait while Windows begins the setup process. Do not press a function key even if you are prompted to do so.

  3. Press R when you see the Windows XP Professional Setup screen to enter the Recovery Console.

    Welcome to Setup during Windows XP installation
  4. Choose the Windows installation. You probably only have one.

  5. Enter your administrator password.

  6. When you reach the command line, type this command, and then press Enter:

    fixboot
    
    Windows XP Recovery Console
  7. The fixboot utility writes a new partition boot sector to the current system partition. This repairs any corruption that the partition boot sector may have and undoes any partition boot sector configurations that may be causing problems.

  8. Take out the Windows XP CD, type exit, and then press Enter to restart your PC.

Assuming that a corrupt or unstable partition boot sector was your only problem, Windows XP should start normally.

Why Write a New Partition Boot Sector?

You'd write a new partition boot sector with fixboot if your partition boot sector was badly damaged or unreadable. The partition boot sector may have become corrupt due to a virus or damage, or it may be unstable due to configuration problems. Fixboot is available in the Recovery Console.

Writing a new partition boot sector to a Windows XP system partition takes less than 15 minutes.

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