How to Write a New Partition Boot Sector for Windows XP

Use the fixboot command when the boot sector is corrupt

Windows XP Home Edition screen
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

When your partition boot sector is badly damaged or unreadable, use the fixboot command to write a new partition boot sector to your Windows XP system. Fixboot is available in the Recovery Console.

This is necessary when the partition boot sector has become corrupt due to a virus or damage or is unstable thanks to configuration problems.

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

Here's How to Use Fixboot

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

Here's how to enter the Recovery Console and write a new partition boot sector that repairs a damaged or unstable partition boot sector in Windows XP. 

  1. Boot your computer from the Windows XP CD by inserting the CD and pressing any key when you see Press any key to boot from CD.
  2. Wait while Windows XP 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.
  4. Choose the Windows installation. You probably only have one.
  5. Enter your administrator password.
  6. When you reach the command line, type the following command, and then press Enter.

    fixboot
    
  1. 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.

  2. 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.