Hardware Dev Center

Changing the Boot Menu Time-out

The boot menu time-out determines how long the boot menu is displayed before the default boot entry is loaded. It is calibrated in seconds.

If you want extra time to choose the operating system that loads on your computer, you can extend the time-out value. Or, you can shorten the time-out value so that the default operating system starts faster.

For Windows Server 2003 and earlier versions of NT-based Windows, to change the boot menu time-out value in a Boot.ini file, you can use Bootcfg or edit the Boot.ini file in Notepad. To change the time-out value in EFI NVRAM, you must use Bootcfg. (Nvrboot only edits boot entries.)

For Windows Vista and later versions of Windows, you can use BCDEdit to change the default boot menu time-out value.

Using Bootcfg

To change the boot menu time-out, use the Bootcfg /timeout switch. Valid values are from 0 through 999. You cannot use Bootcfg to set an indefinite time-out.

The following Bootcfg command sets the boot menu time-out to 2 seconds:

bootcfg /timeout 2

The following Bootcfg display of boot options in EFI NVRAM shows the new time-out value.

Boot Options
Timeout:             2
Default:             \Device\HarddiskVolume3\WINDOWS
CurrentBootEntryID:  1

For complete instructions for using Bootcfg, see Help and Support Services. For examples, see Using Boot Parameters.

Editing the Boot.ini file

The timeout parameter in the [boot loader] section of the Boot.ini file determines the boot menu time-out. Valid values are from 0 through 9999 and −1. When the value of timeout is −1, the time-out is indefinite, that is, the operating system does not boot until you select an item from the boot menu.

To change the boot menu time-out in the Boot.ini file, type a new value for the timeout parameter in the [boot loader] section. For example, the boot menu time-out in the following Bootcfg sample is 30 seconds, which is the preset value on all versions of Windows.

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect 
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect 

Using BCDEdit

To specify the boot menu time-out value, use the /timeout option:

bcdedit /timeout <timeout>

Use the /timeout option and specify the timeout value in seconds. For example, to specify a 15-second timeout value:

bcdedit /timeout 15



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