I stopped a full or clean install of Windows XP on my Windows ME computer once I figured out it would probably want to format my disk and wipe out all the data I have on it.

The setup routine would not give me an option to do an update, my only choice was a full install

Whenever I started the computer, it wanted me to continue the XP install or boot into windows, which I thought was annoying.

Without giving it much thought, I deleted 3 files in the root c: directory that I had noticed the XP install had written there, one of them being the boot.ini file. What a dummy!

Now, I can't start my computer up, it just keeps giving me the error messages:

invalid boot.ini file booting from c:\windows


Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll

What do I need to do to be able to start the Windows ME system so that I can recover the files I deleted and access the data i still have on it?

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Format the disk and then install ME from the original disk.

An "update" is not possible when going to a different version of the operating system. The update replaces minor components that have changed in the same version.

The full XP install would not have formatted the disk unless you told it to. It would have removed ME and replaced it with XP. But it might need some files removed to fit, since XP is bigger.

Now you have a mess, and formatting may be the only option.

You might try installing XP again. It might pick up where it left off, providing your interruption didn't damage the existing disk format.

If the disk format was damaged, formatting might be the only way to get it back.

Thanks for the reply. I didn't have a system install disk, all I have is the Sony restore disc image that would wipe the data anyway and revert me to a state prior to all the updates and software that was loaded over the last 8 years or so on the machine.

I did find a program called "TestDisk" that would run from the command prompt to find the two deleted files I mentioned in the original post.

I restored them, but it didn't resolve the problem, apparently by trying to do 2nd install of XP to use the"restore" function of the XP install routine as one of the fixes posted at Microsoft support (after the inital install was stopped) damaged the original Win ME system files.

I did finish the XP install as a new install (only choice I had) which allowed me to install to a new directory I named WinXP, which left the orignal WINDOWS files and other data on the drive.

The problem now is trying to use software and progams that the current clean system has no info in it's data bases.

I don't know if it is worth the trouble to attempt to manually go into the old USER and SYSTEM dat files to try to export software specific code to then import into the new XP dat files... what a mess!

I now have the 30 day activation period to decide if I want to keep XP on the computer, revert to Windows ME, or install a open source operating system.

At least I was able to move my personal data to a newly purchased Win 7 machine, that was most important.

The only reason I considered XP on the ME machine was because Explorer 6 would have problems loading many newly designed web sites, and I couldn't find an alternative browser to replace it with to run in WinME.

Surprisingly, the XP machine seems more prone to crashes than my ME machine ever did!

I'm not sure what I will do with my older machine at this point, it seems no matter what choices I make, they all will take a lot of manual intervention to end up with a workable system again.

The new Win 7 amazes me! These machine are way faster, but with all the bell, whistles, and "crap" that they display now, it seems to eat up all the speed and resources.

I seemed to get frustrated quite easily with the new interface, many of the new (dumbed down) user options and the necessity of doing some things with the newer versions of software on this system that "are no longer intuitive."

For example, I had to download a new drive for a Brother Laser printer. It came as a compressed file off the internet. I had to extract it prior to being able to install it.

It kept extracting into HIDDEN SYSTEM FOLDERS in the Administrator User folder! Who the heck is responsible for that debackle! Is the hidden folders a Microsoft attribute or a Brother software designer attribute?

Either way, quite a frustrating situation to deal with.

Once again, thanks for the reply, sorry about the "rant."



Hi and welcome to Daniweb,
Now that you have transfered the files you want to your Windows 7 machine, the best idea would be to completely format your now XP machine and do a full install of XP. Then load all the programs you want (Office, printers,etc) and then try XP. It should be much better than ME and you should enjoy using it more. If you dont like it then you can revert back to ME with your supplied discs.
Without going too far about Windows 7, it is windows that has the hidden files and somehow, you have told your browser to download to that file there. To change it, open your browser, (IE, Opera, whatever) open "tools"and find where it is set to download to. The default is normally desktop or my documents- downloads. Change it to where you want the files to be so you can find them.

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