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Missing or corrupted HAL.DLL


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#16
kage23

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first of all, in case you're still interested, here's a copy of my c:\boot.ini:

[boot loader]
timeout=10
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional ©" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional (D)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect


so i booted into Knoppix last night and ran GPart. it took a few hours to run, and the result it eventually returned seemed to indicate that it thought there were four empty partitions on drive d:, which, of course, is incorrect, so i didn't let it write anything. my thought now is that there's no way to recover this drive. unless anybody has any more good ideas, i think i'm going to wait until tomorrow (when i'll have my backup back), then i'll boot from the floppy that came with the drive and use the tools there to clear/format the drive (i think there was a "Write Zeros to the drive" option or something). then i'll put a clean installation of Windows on it and just start from scratch. i'll probably try the idea i mentioned below of installing a clean, fresh Windows and then restoring my old file structure from the backup, and see if that does anything. if not, oh well. i'll just reformat and reinstall again if it breaks.

however, i'm thinking that if i'm going to be reformatting and reinstalling anyway, maybe i should put a few partitions on this drive, instead of having one large partition. and i want to ask a few questions about that. somebody told me once that they always would partition their drive and install just Windows and nothing else (well, other than drivers, etc.) on one partition, and all their data, program files, etc. on another partition. this way, if windows ate itself and needed to be reinstalled, one would only have to reformat that partition, not the whole drive. this seems like a pretty good idea to me. so how much space should i partition off for the Windows XP Pro install? also, while i'm at it, i might want to use a partition to install Ubuntu or Knoppix or something. i've never used an OS other than Windows or Mac before, so i don't really know how to go about doing it, or how much space it should have.

so, as i've mentioned, i have one HD of 40GB, and one of 250GB. how would you guys suggest i set up the partitions, and what software/tools/commands should i use to do so?

thanks again for all the help.
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#17
wannabe1

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We need to work this boot.ini over, I think, and get it back in the C: directory. I done this with Puppy Linux, but have not used Knoppix.

Right now it looks like it's trying to find both installs on the same physical drive......and the names are none standard, as well.

Are these Windows installations on separate physical drives...or on different partitions on the same drive?
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#18
kage23

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the above boot.ini is on the c: drive, in the root directory, already.

i'm pretty sure it's good/accurate, anyway. this page:

http://www.computerh...es/ch000492.htm

seems to indicate that it is set up correctly.

multi(x): This option is used with IDE and ESDI drives and is also used with SCSI drives for computers using Windows NT. The number used in the above example is "0", this number is the adapter's number and should always be "0" for computers that rely on the BIOS to load system files.
disk(x): The disk on the controller. If "multi(x)" is used, this value will always be "0". However, if "scsi(x)" is defined, this value will be SCSI address.
rdisk(x): Which disk on the controller is being used. In the above example we are using an rdisk of "1", which indicates the second disk on the primary controller is being used. This value may be between "0" and "3" and is always set to "0" when "scsi(x)" is being used.


i use the BIOS to load system files, so multi(0) is correct. i use multi(x) as opposed to scsi(x), so disk(0) is correct. rdisk indicates one Windows installation on my c: drive (rdisk(0)) and one Windows installation on my (now dead) d: drive (rdisk(1)).

also, i was under the impression that it doesn't really matter what the name in quotes is - that's just what is displayed on screen. (btw, that's not really a copyright symbol; it's a C in parentheses. i added the "©" and "(D)" to distinguish which drive the installation is on.)

the installations are on separate physical drives (or were, in the case of d:).

at this point, i really think there's no way to "fix" d: other than reformat, reinstall, restore the backup. that said, i'm still willing to listen to and entertain any ideas you guys might still have, but i'll most likely end up reformatting and reinstalling, and probably partitioning as i mentioned in my previous post.
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#19
wannabe1

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There's a lot to be said for formatting and getting a fresh start...I do both my machines at least a couple of times a year. After what this machine has been through, it may be the best option. If this machine were on my bench, though, I would go until forced to admit defeat...or it started. :whistling:

If I were setting this machine up, I'd use the 250GB HDD as Primary Master and split it in half...two 125GB partitions. The 40GB Drive I'd use only for storage and backups.

If you want to dual boot with linux, give yourself another partition...giving you 3 partitions of about 80GB each. I'd still use the 40GB for storage only.

However you decide to do it, it's gotta be better than what you've got going now.
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#20
The Skeptic

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I didn't read all the details in this very interesting topic but would like to add from a recent experience I had. A brand new computer with two disks. One for general use, the other, an older and smaller one, with two partitions, for backup of important data. Worked perfectly for over a month then the dreaded hal.dll showed up. I tried the usual staff, rebuilding boot.ini etc. To my surprise drive letters were changed in the most illogical way. Whatever I did I couldn't fix it. Eventually I decided to force the computer to make sense with the letters. I disconnected the second drive and everything corrected itself immediately and the computer booted beautifully. Switched it off, reconnected the old disk and never had any problems since.

At the present situation I am not sure it's worthwhile spending much more time before reformatting. had It been before the fixmbr I think we could have better chance by disconnecting the 40 gig disk, and that's what I suggest to do even now.

The problem now is more serious because of the failed fixmbr. fixmbr is a command that many people take lightely but it can be disaterous if failed.
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#21
kage23

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well, that's just the thing. i have been working on this for some time now, and in that time it has gone from Bad (can't boot from d:) to Worse (can't even read d:). as it seems that there is no way to restore d: to it's original condition other than reformatting and reinstalling, i think it's about time to go down that road. i think i've hit the "forced to admit defeat" stage.

thanks for the suggestions re: partitions. however, i'm a bit confused as to why you would make them equal in size. if, for example, i decided not to go with a linux installation, and i want to put just Windows on one partition and all my programs, etc., on another partition, wouldn't it make more sense to make the Windows partition like maybe 20-50GB and the other one more like 200GB? or maybe something like 30GB for the Win installation, 100GB for programs, games, etc., and 120GB for media (music, movies, pictures, etc.)?

also, you recommend using the 40GB for storage and backup, which seems like a good idea to me. would you use it for storage of things that will potentially be frequently-accessed, like my MP3s, etc.? or just for cold storage of important files that are just going to sit there, doing nothing?

also, one final thing, using the 250GB as Primary Master will involve not only changing the BIOS settings, but also cracking open my case and moving the jumpers on both drives, and re-plugging them into the ribbon cable in a different order, right? (i believe i read somewhere that the Master drive should be plugged into the end of the ribbon cable, and the Slave drive should be plugged into the middle of the ribbon cable. or possibly vice versa.)
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#22
kage23

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hi, Skeptic, didn't see your message before writing my latest reply.

i don't suppose you know of any way to undo a failed fixmbr? or what results i could expect if i ran fixmbr on my c: drive?

i'm curious though - i will try booting with the 40GB completely disconnected. i'd like to see how the machine will handle that.
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#23
The Skeptic

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Regarding partitioning there is no rule in here and you may hear different opinions. I just want to comment about jumpering and drive letters.

You can hear different ideas about installing the operating system in any drive. I never do this. As far as I am concerened the operating system MUST be installed on drive C. Starting from here the disk that carries the partition with the operating system MUST be jumpered either as master of the primary ide channel (or sata 0) and MUST be connected to the end connector. Alternatively it can be jumpered as cable select but then, again, it must be connected to the end connector. The second disk can be jumpered as either slave or cable select and be connected to the middle connector.
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#24
kage23

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Regarding partitioning there is no rule in here and you may hear different opinions. I just want to comment about jumpering and drive letters.

You can hear different ideas about installing the operating system in any drive. I never do this. As far as I am concerened the operating system MUST be installed on drive C. Starting from here the disk that carries the partition with the operating system MUST be jumpered either as master of the primary ide channel (or sata 0) and MUST be connected to the end connector. Alternatively it can be jumpered as cable select but then, again, it must be connected to the end connector. The second disk can be jumpered as either slave or cable select and be connected to the middle connector.


thanks. that's pretty much what i have understood. i'm wondering if this whole thing started because i had my OS on drive d:, which was Primary Slave...i wondered, when i installed the OS there, if it would confuse things, but i was told it shouldn't matter. still, it probably generally best practice to install the main OS on drive c:. so if i want my main OS on my 250GB, i'll have to change the jumpers and cables.

regarding partitioning and how to set up the partitions, i don't want to say that any one way is right or wrong, i just want to get people's opinions on the different ways they do it and the reasons they have for doing it in different ways.
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#25
The Skeptic

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Regarding jumpering and assigned letters: by default windows looks to install itself on the primary ide channel and on master or cable select which are attached to the end connector. Also, by default, it assignes it the letter C. It's true that with old computers it didn't make much difference but I have seen installations that couldn't even be started if jumpering was not made correctly. That's the rule.

As for partitions, I myself keep very little stuff in backups. I have this tendency of clearing old unnecessary stuff quite frequently and I backup only essential data. On the whole I am also a very small user of space on the hard disk so what I do is partition the disk (I have only one) to a large partition which takes about three quarters of the disk volume and to a smaller partition. In the smaller one I backup essential data and a ghost of my first partition which was made immediately after I installed all my programs and the computer was running perfectly, no corrupted files and no malware.

In your case it might be different. To start with the operating system should be the newer, more advanced disk. If your small disk is as fast and has the same buffer as the large disk I would make it C and use the large disk for storage. If it's technologically inferior then I guess I would install the large disk as the primary disk, partition it into two partitions, one of about 80 gig and the rest ne for storage. then I would use the old disk for backups.

Important note: The first partition must have ample space for the operating system and programs. The reason is that you want to avoid fragmantation of your programs which slows down the computer. I delt with a number of computer which were choked because C was too small eventhough there was plenty space in the other partitions.
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#26
DiggerP

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Hi kage23,

Wow,this topic turned into a long one.:whistling:
I go away for a day and look how much info there is.

I would take some issue with some of the comments regarding paritioning etc.
As long as you have 1 Windows (XP) instalation on the first partition of the first drive,
you can install any subsequent XP or Linux OSs on any partition or drive.
The boot.ini remains on C:\ being that 1st partition on the 1st drive.

As I mentioned before,by now I have 4 XP installs and 2 Linux installs over 2 drives.
You're correct that in the boot.ini the names within the quotes can be anything,
like "[bleep] Stupid XP or M$" if you want.

I use Restart from http://www.gabrieleponti.com/software/ to boot from one into the other.

As to partitioning, I used GParted as well as XP native DiskManagement.

For XP you need about 10 -15 GB depending on programs.
You can move the Program Files to the next partition,but not surprisingly several
M$ related programs don't like it and give errors.
Other programs run fine.

I like doing things the unconventional way sometimes.
I have 3 sets of Program Files; normal and -1 and -2.
The same with My Documents; normal and -1 and -2
You can set them as shell folders in the registry or
just leave them as My Documents1 or -1. etc

My preference for the 250GB drive would be 15GB for XP and maybe 4 more
partitions of about 55GB or so each.
A lot depends on what you do.
If you collect a lot of video files, 55GB is somewhat small.
Most likely I would set it to be the first drive,but really,
you could use the 40GB as the primary drive,just like you had before.

As to a Linux install,you may want to try Wubi http://www.cutlersof...n-US/index.html
This will let you install (and uinstall) Ubuntu or Kubuntu like a program.
I installed it on a partition sharing it with one of the
XP installs.
The other Linux is Puppy on a separate partition.

Your assumption that things were screwed up because of installing on D:\
is correct in my opinion.I alluded to that earlier on in this topic.
If C:\ had nothing on it or was storage .you're asking for trouble.

Another thing about partitions:It's much quicker to defrag,virus scan etc a smaller
Systems partition than it is a larger one.
Storage areas don't need to be done as often.
I tried both ways,but I can tell you,a smaller System partition is preferred,
despite what other people may say about not making a difference
or just using folders instead of partitions.

If you're worried about losing stuff, backing up is the first requirement or you could use a mirror or sync program.

The Skeptic wrote:

At the present situation I am not sure it's worthwhile spending much more time before reformatting. had It been before the fixmbr I think we could have better chance by disconnecting the 40 gig disk, and that's what I suggest to do even now.


Yes, I agree,Ive mentioned that before in this thread.

Good luck.I suggest you make a list of the links I and others have supplied in this topic.
They will come in handy :blink:
Also with Linux, you'll be using either LILO or GRUB.
They will write to the MBR and occasionally screw things up if you uninstall a Linux distro,
so save a good MBR before you start with that.
(The exception being Wubi with Ubuntu)
I did already provide a link to an mbr fix when LILO was involved)

Pete.
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#27
DiggerP

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Just a small followup.
When you do your partitioning ,I would advise to create basic disks.
Don't bother with other exotic arrangements,like dynamic,striped or mirrored disks.

Then create primary partitions (up to 4) on a physical basic disk
Reason, a primary partition has an mbr and wthout change you can install an OS on it.

More to diskmanagement

NTFS is good but Linux can easier access FAT32,however there are ways around it.
FAT32 is also easier to access with DOS tools (don't work for NTFS)
in case of failure.

Some interesting articles on diskmanagement.
http://support.micro....com/kb/314470/
The boot partition can, but is not required, to be the same partition as the system partition.
There will be one (and only one) System partition, but there will be one Boot partition for each operating system in a multi-boot system.

http://labmice.techt...Mgmt/config.htm
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309000
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315261
Active Partition
http://support.micro...om/?kbid=309044

That's (more than) enough info and reading for now :whistling:

Pete.
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#28
kage23

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thanks again for all the help. i have learned more about boot processes, file systems, partitions, MBRs, etc. in the last couple of weeks than i ever expected to know.

this weekend, i set up my 250GB as the Primary Master, and the 40GB as Primary Slave. i partitioned the 250 into four partitions of the following sizes (roughly): 30GB (c:\), 30GB (f:\), 100GB (g:\), and 90GB (h:\). i have put a clean XP installation on c:\. g:\ and h:\ have both been formatted NTFS. f:\ i plan on formatting ext3 and installing Ubuntu (at the suggestion of some of my tech-friends). the 40GB drive (i:\) i don't know what i'll do with yet. i haven't done anything with it yet, really, so it's still got the same structure as it had earlier. i can't boot to it, because i had it disconnected when i installed Windows, but i'd like to keep it that way. i don't want it to be a boot drive at all. it is old and has been working slowly and making funny noises, so i want to avoid using it.

btw, after i disconnected the 40GB and tried booting just from the 250GB (before i formatted, partitioned, and installed onto it), it was unable to boot. i don't remember exactly what error it gave, but it hardly matters at this point. i suppose if i had tried booting from the 250 with the 40 disconnected BEFORE i fixmbr'd the 250, i might have gotten different results, but as it is, at the point i was at, formatting and reinstalling was pretty much my only option, as far as i could tell.

anyway, i guess what i am saying is thanks a lot for all your help, for the links, etc. if anybody continues posting to this thread, i will continue to read it, however, as far as my initial problem is concerned, i think that has played out as far as it's going to. unfortunately, i don't think we'll ever know the root cause of the bloody hal.dll error.

~~~EDIT~~~

btw, Digger, you recommended saving a list of all the links people have provided in this topic. what if i just save the URL for this topic? i am (obviously) new to this board. are the URLs persistent? if i come back to http://www.geekstogo...LL-t159746.html a year from now, will all this still be there?

Edited by kage23, 11 June 2007 - 06:28 PM.

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#29
DiggerP

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Hi kage23,

First of all you're welcome,secondly,I'm glad you're all straightened out
and 3rd, I'm sorry that you lost your stuff on D:\ )now C:\)

Your partitioning sounds alright to me.
Yes you can try to put Ubuntu on F:\ ,but did you see my link to Wubi?
That installs Ubuntu like a program.Much easier than formatting to ext3.
if you don't like it,the uninstall is just as easy.

As to the links, yes you can save this thread's link,
but it is much more useful to save the links separately.
If you use EditPad Lite eg you can save the links with a short description
(the links will be active in EditPad Lite ,unlike in NotePad)
You could use another clipboard program too.
As to persistency of the links,either choice is not guaranteed :whistling:

BTW,I was thinking of you today,see my adventures in this thread
http://www.wildersse...ad.php?t=177322

Take care,
Pete.
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#30
The Skeptic

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I wonder what is the logic of so many xp installations and partitions, butI am probably too old.
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