IST 226
Networking Essentials
ARC Names and BOOT.INI

ARC (Advanced RISC Computer)  Name Syntax in BOOT.INI

BOOT.INI specifies operating system boot partitions using a special ARC (Advanced RISC Computer) name. The ARC name syntax in BOOT.INI is either:

  scsi (a)  disk (b)  rdisk  (c)  partition (d)


multi (a)  disk (b)  rdisk (c)  partition (d)

where a = the adapter number (starts at 0), b = the device address on the SCSI bus (always use 0 when "multi" is coded), c = the hard drive number on the adapter when "multi" is coded (starts at 0; always use 0 when "scsi" is coded), and d = the partition number on the specified drive (starts at 1).


Code "scsi" when the SCSI BIOS has been disabled for a SCSI adapter (in which case the driver NTBOOTDD.SYS is used to access the SCSI drives). For Intel x86 systems, the SCSI BIOS is typically enabled, in which case "multi" should be coded. Also code "multi" for non-SCSI drives. In short, for Intel x86 servers you would usually code "multi" for the ARC Name.

Sample BOOT.INI File Contents

The following BOOT.INI file could be used in a system triple-booting Windows 98, Windows NT Workstation (the default operating system), and Windows NT Server. Semicolons (;) in the first byte identify comment lines. Note how the NTLDR boot menu timeout is controlled and how the default OS is identified. Also note the correspondence between the [operating systems] list and the choices appearing on the boot menu:

[boot loader]
;  default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT
;  default=C:\
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Windows NT Server Version 4.00"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Windows NT Server Version 4.00 [VGA mode]"
    /basevideo /sos
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINNT="Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINNT="Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00 [VGA mode]"
    /basevideo /sos
C:\="Windows 98"

Larry Newcomer (Updated July 24, 2001 )