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Missing or corrupted HAL.DLL


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#1
kage23

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I have posted the following messages on a couple other boards and have received no responses. I am hoping one of you can help me.

I recently completely reformatted my computer and reinstalled everything. I used to have my Windows installation on my C Drive (40GB), but when I did this re-install, I put it on my D Drive (250GB). It all worked perfectly fine, for about a month. I have been suffering from a missing or corrupted hal.dll file for about 2 weeks now, and none of the typical solutions are working. Here is what I have done:

* Boot onto d:\windows in Safe Mode with or without a command prompt. This does not work. I get the hal.dll error before it can load Windows.
* From the XP cd, boot into the Recovery Console. I was able to do this. The Recovery Console can log onto the D installation. So I tried replacing the file with the one on the disk, with the following command "expand f:\i386\hal.dl_ d:\windows\system23\hal.dll" It tells me something along the lines of "Cannot expand file."
* Also from the Recovery Console, I used "bootcfg /rebuild" and "fixboot" to no avail. I still get the hal.dll error.
* Eventually, booting from the XP cd, I put a clean installation onto my C drive. I can now boot into that one with no problems. So now when I start up, I choose whether to boot onto my C installation (which works) or my D installation (which does not work).
* I have replaced d:\windows\system32\hal.dll with c:\windows\system32\hal.dll multiple times, all to no avail. I still get the same error when I try to boot onto the d installation. I have done this in and out of Safe Mode.
* Booting into the c installation, I have deleted and rebuilt boot.ini. Still get the same problem.
* Booting from the XP cd, I have tried to "Repair" my d installation. It does all the preliminary copying of files, then after the first reboot, I get the hal.dll error.

I can't seem to kill this bug, and it's really bothering me! I have even had a few more tech-savvy friends look at it, and they can't even figure out what's wrong. I am informed that it's not a hardware problem, as my c installation loads just fine.

Ideally, I would like to get my d installation working as it was before (without loss of data or personal settings). My second choice of solution would be to copy all the settings from the d installation to the c installation, so I would be running Windows from my c drive and everything else from my d drive. What I really want to avoid is having to re-install all my programs and re-set all my personal settings, rebuild my iTunes music library, re-download and customize all my Firefox extensions, etc.

Although the cause of this problem is secondary to the solution, I would be interested in knowing what would cause such a thing. The only thing I can come up with is a MS Hotfix I installed recently. I was having troubles running a program, and the tech support of that program told me to download this Hotfix, which apparently corrects errors introduced in an earlier security update. However, I'm not really sure that it was caused by the Hotfix, since the computer restarted after installing the Hotfix and that restart went just fine. I didn't experience this problem at all until I hibernated my computer after the Hotfix, and then turned it back on the next day.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated! As you can see, I have done everything one would normally do to fix this problem. It's time to start breaking out the high-end fixes!

Thanks in advance.
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#2
123Runner

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All the info that I have read and found on the Hall file is that it is related to a boot.ini file. I know you have built the boot file among other things. The last choice is reinstall, which you did to C and it works.
Please look at the following sites for more info.
KELLYS KORNER
COMPUTERHOPE
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#3
kage23

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123Runner, thanks for the links. I have looked at those sites. The Kelly's Korner one gave me an idea that I haven't tried yet, that I will try after work tonight. However, I do not have much hope for it, since it seems to just involve an extra step of copying.

I have tried repairing the D installation, as I mentioned, and that did not work. I am unable to complete the repair process because I still get the hal.dll error after the first reboot of the installation process.

Does anyone else have any less-typical ways of solving the hal.dll problem? The usual solutions do not work in my case.

I really want to avoid reformatting d:\. If there's absolutely no way to fix my d: installation, is there any way I can copy over the settings, registry, etc. from the d: installation to the c: installation? Like maybe copy d:\documents and settings to c:\documents and settings? (I have no idea how or if I can copy the registry over...I'd need guidance for that)? If there's absolutely no way to do what I want to do, I can always re-install all my programs, re-set all my settings, re-create all my user profiles, etc., but that would be a total [bleep].

---Edit---
I found this: http://www.geekstogo...s...ost&p=57737 in the pinned topic about lsass.exe. Could something like this work for me?

Edited by kage23, 31 May 2007 - 04:37 PM.

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#4
wannabe1

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Hi kage23...

Frustrating...ain't it? I just went through this with a Dell lappy...nothing worked. Until...

What straightened it out was running chkdsk /r from Recovery Console...repeatedly. After running that for the third time, the file system had been recovered enough for an install. I chose to do a parallel install and just moved the data and removed the original installation. I didn't try a repair installation, but I see no reason it wouldn't have completed successfully.

Another trick you can try if you suspect the boot.ini file is bad is to boot to Puppy Linux, mount the C: drive, and replace the boot.ini with a new one. It will sometimes insist on saving as boot.txt, but if you unmount the volume and mount it again, you can rename it to boot.ini and it will save that way. This is a much more effective way to replace the file than trying to rebuild it through command line or Recovery Console.

Hope this helps... :whistling:

wannabe1
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#5
DiggerP

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Hi,

I've gone through this a few times now.
Reason, I like screwing around with different OSs,so once in a while
you will run into this problem.
At the moment I have 4 different versions of XP and 2 Linux distros
divided over 2 drives ( C:\ and D:\ )

OK,
The following is assuming that you have 2 physical drives
1=40GB and 2 =250GB (If this is not the case,the boot.ini below is not valid)
1.Since you installed XP on D:\ , is there any boot.ini on D:\ ?
if there is delete it.
Since you now have a working version on C:\ ,can you access D:\ from C:\ ?

I'm pretty sure the mixup is in the boot.ini on C:\
This boot.ini should look like this:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

At bootup,to distinguish between the two versions you can add the drive letters,
so it will look like this:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional C" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional D" /fastdetect


You can also change the timeout.For me 15 seconds is enough,but that's your choice.
You can also add No Execute=optin but for now don't bother with that.
If you want to boot to D:\ as default, change default accordingly.

BTW,I don't use DOS or any complicated commands to edit the boot.ini.
I just find it on C:\ ,unset Read only attributes and edit it.Save the edited file.That's it.
Or I change the existing boot.ini to boot.ini.old and make a new boot.ini
probably no need for you to do that.I use this to quickly replace the boot.ini by deleting .old
eg I could have bootíni.old-1 and boot.ini.old-2 etc.
Anyway,not applicable here.


Next step is to make sure that your BIOS is set according to your boot.ini or vice versa if you will.
I don't know how you get into your BIOS,could be Esc or Del or F2 at startup.
Anyway,go through the settings and make sure they're correct.
CD/DVD drive first,then your C:\ drive (or D:\ as required).
But make sure they correlate with your boot.ini

On your working copy on C:\ go to start > Run. type : compmgmt.msc
This brings up the Management Console,select Disk Management.
Check if the drive are listed and active.C:\ should be OK,but I don't know about D:\
If not active ,make it active (r-click menu)

Also (I should have mentioned this before) check if your drives are plugged in the correct
order as master and slave or as 2 masters
You did not say whether they were PATA ( IDE) or SATA
If SATA you have to configure that as well.

if the above is not sufficient to fix the problem,
you may have a corrupted MBR as well.
Reason: going back and forth with installs on the two drives.
Try this MBR Fix MBRFix or just D/L from here CNet

The official fix from M$ is here:M$ FixMBR
or here Repair MBR for more detail.

Don't use this untill the end.
If that still doesn't work,you have to start from scratch,but you will not lose your stuff on D:\
Will fill you in if that's the case.
(Basically you only install the 250GB drive and fix it )
Let me know how it goes.

Edited by DiggerP, 31 May 2007 - 11:59 PM.

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#6
kage23

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wannabe and digger, thanks for the tips. hopefully, i'll have time to try them out after work tonight. if not, then probably this weekend. i'll let you all know how it goes.
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#7
DiggerP

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Hi kage23,

you're welcome.
take your time.
just do it systematically

BTW,my own setup uses drive 0 (C:\) as Master and drive 1 as Slave
Other configs are possible but this works for me.

Except for a mechanical failure,I can't see why the XP install on D:\ can't be saved.

Good luck.

Pete.
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#8
kage23

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Hmmm... nothing seems to have worked, so far. Your assumption is correct, DiggerP. I have two physical drives. my boot.ini is fine. The boot options in my BIOS are correct. The master/slave jumper settings for my two drives are set correctly, and match the master/slave settings in the BIOS (C is master, D is slave). (BTW, I believe my drives are both PATA, not SATA. I wasn't quite sure what that meant, but Wikipedia has educated me. :whistling: ) Disk Management lists both drives as healthy and active. No problems with my MBR (my system was not dual-boot until after I got the hal.dll error. At that point, I put a second XP installation on C so I could at least have some functionality). I have run chkdsk /r from the Recovery Console several times, and was told that it found and corrected a few times, and was told there were no errors the rest of the times. I have even booted from the floppy that came with my HD and run their diagnostic tools, and was told there are no errors or problems with the actual drive. Digger, you said:

If that still doesn't work,you have to start from scratch,but you will not lose your stuff on D:\
Will fill you in if that's the case.
(Basically you only install the 250GB drive and fix it )


I think it's about time for that. BTW, I know the data on D (such as movies, music, pictures, etc.) all still exists, and I know I won't lose any of that, even if I have to format D, because it's all backed up. Will I be able to keep the user-specific settings from my D installation (such as XP user names, backgrounds, etc., Firefox extensions and settings, iTunes libraries and playlists, Adobe CS2 activation, etc.)? Also, will I be able to keep the registry on D, to prevent re-installation of all my programs? If necessary, I can re-do all these settings from scratch, but I hope I won't have to.

Thanks again for your help.
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#9
DiggerP

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Hi kage23
You're welcome.we're trying :whistling:
Sorry I couldn't reply earlier,but was tied up with something else.
I don't know if you have done anything else since you posted,
but one thing I didn't see is that you used the command fixmbr in the Recovery Console.

I may be wrong,but I feel that with the consecutive installations,the MBR may be corrupted.

What did not come out in your initial post,was the fact what was left on C:\
when you did the install on D:\
Subsequently you installed on C:\ again.

The question is, where was the boot.ini located when you installed on D:\ ?

The thing is that the boot.ini is always located on the first drive with a Windows installation
and the MBR is written to that drive.
Subsequent installations are written to the boot.ini and the bootsector of that drive.

My guess is that you comfused the setup by installing a primary XP install on a slave,
without having a Windows install on C:\
You may be right that an M$ update screwed things up because it found your primary install on D:\ whereas it should have been on C:\.
Everything is controlled by your Primary (Master) drive.(which should be C:\ )

You have done some checking,but also check again that you don't have a boot.ini
nor a bootsect.bin (bootsect.dos) on D:\ .If you do,delete them.

Then do the fixmbr on C:\ (It may have to be done on D:\ as well)

I have also used a function of xxclone http://www.xxclone.com/index.htm to do the fixmbr thing.
Also see these pages:
http://www.xxclone.com/ixcman41.htm
http://www.xxclone.com/ixcman44.htm
Some articles about boot.ini
http://vlaurie.com/c...les/bootini.htm
and Recovery Console
http://commandwindows.com/recovery.htm
http://www.theelderg...ery_console.htm

Or you may want to use a boot floppy or disc
http://www.bootdisk.com/
Quick Boot Diskette
http://www.bootdisk....les/xpquick.txt
Read parts 3 & 4

Remember that with a repair install through the Recovery Console you will lose some data
plus you may have to go through some M$ updates again,but the bulk of you personal
settings will remain intact.
Nevertheless, a try with the fixmbr is preferred.

If nothing works,install only the 250GB dive as a Master and try the fixmbr again.
Before you do create the boot.ini on that drive.
Also change the settings in the BIOS
I know you'll be introducing the same problem wth the 40GB drive,but that can be fixed
afterwards,ie after you install it again.
Just don,t boot from it untill you remove the boot.ini from that drive.

I hope you understand the reasoning.
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#10
kage23

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i accidentally ran fixmbr on d: before i ran it on c:, and now d: is inaccessible. now i'm kind of nervous about running it on c:. is there any way i can get d: back? i have a backup of the data, but will not be able to restore it until this weekend. (my backup is on my ipod, which i let my wife take with her on a trip.) i would prefer not to wait until this weekend to get all the stuff that was on d: back, especially since most of the applications i have been running (at least, those that don't care about such things as registry and user accounts) are on d:.

also, as i said, i am kind of nervous about running it on c:. will it fix everything, or will it cause c: to become inaccessible as well?
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#11
DiggerP

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Hi,
Oh boy,you put yourself in a pickle.
I appreciate that you're kind of nervous now to use fixmbr on C:\
but before you start panicking,please describe exactly what you did .
Which application did you use and also describe what you mean by
D:\ being inaccessible.
If I understand it correctly,before you did the fixmbr on D:\
were you able to access it from C:\ ?
Does D:\ show up in
1 Device Manager
2. Disk Manager - what's the status ? (details)
What file system is on C:\ and D:| ?

Anyway,before you do anything save the mbr on C:\ with
HDHacker http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/
Scroll down to HDHacker.It can save and restore your mbr.

Now I will give you another link; consider if you want to use it,
if not,see if you want to use the solutions below the link.

http://www.ambience....lilo-fixmbr.php

The following is all about using the Recovery Console
http://www.tech-reci...ecovery_console
http://www.tippscout..._tipp_3114.html

A complete description how to do a non-destructive recovery
http://www.informati...cleID=189400897
Use this if you can with C:\ in place,if not,only connect the 250 GB as Master
and do the recovery.(after BIOS adjustments etc as described in my previous post)

One other program I found and I think it's quite reasonable in price ( $19.95)
Paragon Boot Corrector
http://www.justboot....t_corrector.htm

In other words,I don't want you to lose C:\ as well by doing the fixmbr on it.
It shouldn't but seeing what's happening I can't be sure.

Good luck.
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#12
kage23

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hi, and thanks again for all the help. i will not be able to do anything until i get home from work, and then i don't know if i'll be able to work on it much tonight or not.

i've had a look at the links you sent me, in this forum and the stuff you mentioned in the PM, and it sounds like GParted might do what needs to be done.

here's how i killed drive d:

1) Booted from XP cd into Recovery Console.
2) Selected the d: installation.
3) Used "map" command to see the drive names.
4) Used "fixmbr /Device/etc.etc." designating my d: drive.
5) It gave it's message about "You have a weird setup . . . do you really want to continue?"
6) I said yes.
7) It did it's thing.
8) "Exit" from RC and reboot.
9) Now it can't read d: at all.

what do i mean by d:\ being inaccessible?

1) Recovery Console can now only boot onto C. It used to be able to boot on to either drive.
2) Previously, even though I could not boot to D (other than with the RC) I could still read all data and view the files on D.
3) Now, Windows tells me that D is not formatted, and would I like to do so? I say no.

i don't know if d: shows up in device manager; i didn't think to check that last night
it does show up in disk manager, and is listed as healthy/active. it has no partitions, however. it is listed as having a RAW file system. it should be NTFS (as is c:\).

i haven't actually done anything since either of our previous posts, but i had a friend come over and look at it. he booted into Knoppix and wasn't really able to determine anything, except that Knoppix couldn't read the drive, either. i suspect when i ran FixMBR on the drive, it overwrote the partition table, or some such thing. it did not actually format the drive; it took a moment to complete the FixMBR task. the system just doesn't know how to access any of the info that's on the drive.

incidentally, i had already tried the steps detailed in the nondestructive recovery link you sent me, and it didn't work. it got as far as the first reboot and ... same hal.dll error.

anyway, either tonight or tomorrow, i will use HDHacker to save the MBR, then i will use GParted to see if i can recreate the partition table and save the data. does that sound reasonable?

~~~EDIT~~~

one more quick, hypothetical question. let's say it is now the weekend. i have my iPod back, which has a backup of the entire file structure that was on d:\, including the WINDOWS folder. (well, it has the entire file structure except for the Documents and Settings folder, which i backed up in c:\ instead, since it didn't fit on my iPod.) theoretically, if i were to reformat d:\ and install a fresh, clean copy of Windows onto it, and then replace the file structure with the one from my iPod (including the old Windows folder and subfolders), would it put me back to where i was before all this happened? or would it just confuse Windows?

Edited by kage23, 06 June 2007 - 04:09 PM.

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#13
DiggerP

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Hi,
Man you're a terrific writer :whistling:
Thanks for the detailed feedback.
Sorry for the mishap.I don't like the sound of the drive showing as RAW.

I have one sitting right here :blink: My own fault too.But I didn't lose anything.
I had just cloned the drive to another.I forget what program I used.
Anyway,the program asked after the cloning operation if I wanted to boot
from it or the new one.Of course I chose the new drive.
It made the new one bootable and in the process turned the old one to RAW.
I haven't had time to fix it yet.
Somewhat unimportant since I have the new one bootable and working
but still it bothers me that I can't access the old drive.

I can't explain why Recovery Console did that to you or why you get the HAL error
after reboot.All the good files are on the CD and should get transferred when
you do the repair.It doesn't make any sense.

Yes GParted is good for partitioning.But I'm not so sure it can save your data.

Also you can only save the MBR of the C drive

If I were you I would try the single drive as I explained and use Recovery Console
repair option (non destructive recovery)
In that case there is nothing to interfere.

Your last idea sounds good.Also at this point you have nothing to lose.
Make sure you copy (don't move the files)

Followup later Gotta go
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#14
wannabe1

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Have you tried the Puppy Linux? I'd sure like a peek at the boot.ini file in the C: directory.
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#15
kage23

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Well, my thoughts about GParted are like this. FixMBR did not format the drive, it merely (hehe..."merely") killed the partition table (as far as I can tell). So if I can use GParted to recreate the partition table (which shouldn't be too hard, as the drive only had one partition), then perhaps it will again be able to see all the data that was/is on the drive.

Also, as you said, I have nothing to lose. I don't think there's anything I can do to make drive d: worse than it already is.

Another slightly weird thing: I downloaded this little tool MBRWiz.exe

http://mirror.href.c...mbr/MBRWiz.html

When I run it with the /List modifier on my c: drive, the result seems to indicate that drive d: is fine. It lists drives c: and d:, they are both listed as NTFS, etc., etc. However, when I use the following commands on my c: drive:

MBRWiz.exe /Save=filename (to save a copy of the MBR)
MBRWiz.exe /ShowFile=filename (to view the file I just saved)

it does not list drive d: at all, only c:.

Also, when I run it on drive d: with the /List modifier, it shows an empty MBR, with no drives/partitions/anything listed.

I don't know if this information gives you any more insight into my situation, but I thought I'd let you know anyway.

No rush to respond to this. As I said, I will not be able to do any work on it until tonight or possibly tomorrow evening. But when I am able, I will try the single drive as you explained, and also try GParted. I am not sure how/if the single drive thing will work, since I cannot put a boot.ini on it until it is at least accessible again.

~~~EDIT~~~

Hi wannabe, didn't see your post earlier. No, I haven't tried Puppy Linux, just Knoppix. I am not at home right now, so I can't show you my c:\boot.ini yet, but if I am able to do any work tonight, I will post it for you.

Edited by kage23, 06 June 2007 - 05:19 PM.

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