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What is a Boot Editor?

Victoria Blackburn
Victoria Blackburn

A boot editor is a free editor in Windows® operating systems that is used to manage the registry entries of a user’s boot files. Registry entries are text-based files for storing portions of the registry, a database that stores users’ configuration settings. A boot file is a file used to start up the operating system. Managing boot file registry entries can allow users to fix operating systems that are not operating smoothly or not starting up at all.

Boot screens are based on a file called boot.ini. This text file is one of the first files used by a computer that uses Windows® when the system is started up. The information in this file is protected by settings that render the information hidden, system or read-only. The only way to access these files is to change the default Windows settings to show hidden files. This can be done in the Control Panel under the “Appearance and Personalization” link.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Since boot.ini is a text file, it can be edited with any basic text editor on a computer, such as Notepad. Users must be careful to preserve correct extensions and to make sure they understand the repercussions of any changes they make to the file because any mistakes in editing may prevent the machine from being able to start up properly. The view control on the program contains subfolders where new boot screens are kept. A base folder is used to store all the boot screens users create with the program.

Two programs used for editing boot files are Boot Editor 1.0.1 for Windows XP and Dual BootPRO for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Boot Editor 1.0.1 creates boot systems in zip format. These zip files contain pictures and an ini file with all the required information for the operating system to run the boot screen designed by the user. With Boot Editor 1.0.1, the user can change the default palette, the range of colors used on the boot screen and the vertical position of the progress bar to make it more aesthetically pleasing to their personal tastes, as well as easier to use.

DualBootPRO was created for Windows® Vista and Windows® 7. This boot editor is useful if a user wishes to use multiple operating systems on one PC or if their boot system does not start properly. DualBootPro allows the user to install multiple Windows® operating systems, change the order of the boot menu when the PC starts, backup and restore boot configuration data, rename Windows operating systems list entries and manage boot configurations. It also allows users to never have to directly edit the boot configuration data using the DOS Command Prompt.

More advanced users can also benefit from additional security features provided by this boot editor. The program can limit the number of processors the operating system has access to and the amount of memory the operating system has. Additional advanced features of DualBootPRO include the ability to disable the graphical boot environment and data execution prevention system.

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