Inspiron will not boot

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Inspiron will not boot

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I have an Inspiron 6400 with WinXP Home. (I removed Vista when I bought it last year.)

My computer will not start. I get the message: "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: Widows_root\System32\Ntoskrnl.exe

Please re-install a copy of the above file. "

Here is what I did:

1) Boot from the system CD (plus SP2).

2) Press "R" to get the recovery console.

3) But the recovery console does not launch. Instead I get the C: prompt

4) At the C: prompt, I type "dir" to verify that the "windows" directory exists. The C: drive is not my normal C: drive

5) Type "cd windows" I get the message "access denied"

When I try to start in Safe mode, I get the same message that Ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt.

When I use a bootable BartPE CD this shows my C: drive as MEDIADIRECT

So I think my boot.ini file is corrupted. Here it is:

---------------------------------------------------

[boot loader] timeout=0 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS

[operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Embedded" /fastdetect /KERNEL=NTOSBOOT.EXE /maxmem=768

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I don't know what "XP Embedded" is.

Here is the boot.ini file from my previous Dell Inspiron 1100 with WinXP Home (the same OS CD as I use for the 6400):

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[boot loader] timeout=30 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

[operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=optout

--------------------------------------------------

When I use the bootable BartPE CD with the old 1100, it shows the correct C: drive.

Any advice? Maybe some kind reader with an Inspiron 6400 could post the contents of their boot.ini file

BTW: Last actions before the last good shutdown were: 1) Run Secunia to identify files that are not up to date from a security point of view. (Secunia is a read-only passive program.) 2) As a result, I updated Flash, Adobe Reader, MS XML, and Windows Update.

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