Tip

Using BOOTCFG to change boot parameters

BOOTCFG is a command-line utility for examining and modifying a Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 system's BOOT.INI file. Two versions of BOOTCFG exist: one that is invoked from the command line within Windows itself, and another which is invoked in the Recovery Console (not discussed here).

Typing BOOTCFG by itself produces a report of all the BOOT.INI entries and their settings currently available. Each operating system entry is given an ID number for easy reference, starting from 1. BOOTCFG is not installed by default in Windows XP Home, but the BOOTCFG.EXE can be copied to a Windows XP Home installation and will work transparently. The Windows XP / 2003 version of BOOTCFG cannot run in Windows 2000, but it can be invoked from the Windows 2000 Recovery Console (albeit with a slightly different set of commands).

Making changes to the various entries is done through the use of command-line switches, and contextual examples of each command can be brought up by typing BOOTCFG <command> /?

/ADDSW: Adds switches to a particular OS entry. /MM <value> sets the /maxmem switch; /BV adds /basevideo; /SO adds the /sos switch; and /NG is for the /noguiboot option.

/COPY: Copies an existing boot entry for editing.

/DBG1394: Sets 1934 (Firewire) port debugging options for a given OS. /CH set the channel number (1-64) for the remote device.

/DEBUG: Same as /EMS, but the /PORT and /BAUD commands are used for setting up a remote debugger.

/DEFAULT: Changes the default boot menu entry.

/DELETE: Deletes an entry (as specified by the entry's ID number).

/EMS: Configures the /REDIRECT boot-entry switch to set remote control options through a COM port for a particular OS entry. /REDIRECT takes the options /PORT (COM1-COM4) and /BAUD (9600, 19200, 57600, 115200).

/RAW: Allows switch options to be edited directly for a given OS entry. Use the /A switch to append to rather than replace existing switches.

/RMSW: Removes switches from a given OS entry; same syntax as /ADDSW.

/TIMEOUT: Changes the timeout value for the boot menu. Setting this to 0 causes the boot menu to be completely bypassed and boots the default entry immediately.

/QUERY: Same as running BOOTCFG with no parameters; produces a report of the current BOOT.INI settings.


Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!


This was first published in March 2004

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