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Missing hal.dll on bootup


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#1 ajm

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 08:56 AM

Hello all,

First post here for me, but I have browsed these forums a lot - always a source of good info, so I am hoping you can help me figure out how to fix my current problem.

First some background. I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop, which as a model, has had it fair share of problems for many people, so I feel fortunate that mine has lasted 5+ years without too many major problems. A little over 2 months ago, I decided to completely reload XP from scratch, since I was getting tons of the old BSOD. So, I slipstreamed an XP Pro SP3 setup and loaded it onto a new 250GB hard drive (I saved my old hard drive in an external enclosure, since I could still get to the data, but it just wouldn't boot properly). I was running fine for these 2+ months up until last Saturday, when I rebooted, and was greeted with a blinking cursor in the upper left-hand corner of the screen right after the Dell splash screen. Couldn't get to safe mode or anything.

I eventually deduced it was my BIOS that was choking on my new hard drive. It apparently maxes out at 137GB (which I didn't realize when I bought the 250GB drive). I am guessing that all was well until a file fragment got written past that barrier, and then everything went bad. Well, after struggling with multiple chkdsk runs via the Recovery Console, I was finally able to repartition the drive down to a 120GB primary partition, leaving the rest unused - I used Partition Magic 8.0 running directly off the CD.

Now for my actual, current problem. It would appear that Partition Magic (which I thought wasn't suppose to hose things up) corrupted something during the repartition, as now on boot-up, I get an immediate error message that says I have a missing or corrupt hal.dll file. I found others having that same problem with Partition Magic, but didn't find a solution to fix it.

This is what I have tried so far:

From the Recovery Console:
attrib -H -R -S C:\Boot.ini (actually did this in 3 steps, because it complained about a bad switch if I did them all together)
del C:\Boot.ini
bootcfg /list (this still showed my old list, so at this point I rebooted and reran the RC and then it showed a blank list)
bootcfg /rebuild (I added my C:\Windows w/ the /fastdetect switch)
fixboot

At this point, my sources say that doing these steps should normally fix a bad hal.dll, but when I exited the RC and rebooted, I still have the problem. Anyone have any other ideas to try? At this point, I am thinking it would have been faster to just reload XP from scratch again, but I was trying to avoid that. Thanks in advance!

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 10:44 AM

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/findbyerrorm...ssinghaldll.htm

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#3 usasma

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 11:38 AM

I've had issues with Partition Magic and other lower level disk utilities when performing multiple operations with them.

In general here's the things to consider for this sort of error (you've tried some of them already):
Disk diagnostic http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/28744/hard-drive-installation-and-diagnostic-tools/
In the Recovery Console - CHKDSK /R and BOOTCFG /REBUILD
In the REcovery Console - copy in a new copy of hal.dll (make sure it's the correct version).

Additional things that may help:
In the Recovery Console - FIXBOOT and FIXMBR
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#4 ajm

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 01:09 PM

Thanks for the replies.

This thing seems to be a real bugger! When I attempted to expand the hal.dll off of the XP CD, I received an error that said the file could not be expanded. I even tried to copy it off of the CD into my system32 directory and try it that way, but that didn't work either. Is there a reason why I can't expand this file?

I also tried fixmbr, but it warned me: "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record" and that if I continue, it is possible that all my partitions might get messed up. I am at the point where that probably doesn't matter, but just wanted to throw that out there in case there was a reason why I might be getting that (thanks again Partition Magic perhaps?) or if there is anything else I can try.

#5 hamluis

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 01:16 PM

The fixmbr message is standard, similar to "Keep your eyes on the road" to someone who's driving while looking backwards :thumbsup:. You can ignore that and try the command.

I've never expanded files so I don't know anything about that :flowers:.

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#6 usasma

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 02:23 PM

I also tried fixmbr, but it warned me: "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record" and that if I continue, it is possible that all my partitions might get messed up.



Well, with a messed up MBR, that could be the cause of your problems. I've used the FIXMBR command many times - and it either works or it doesn't. You're not able to access Windows at this point - so I'd suggest backing up your stuff and giving the command a try. Worst case is that you can't get into Windows (but you're already there). Any more significant repairs will likely involve a format of your hard drive.

BTW - have you tried chkdsk /r? I can't help out with the extraction (but I doubt that it's the issue) because I haven't messed with that in many years (since the Win9x days).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#7 ajm

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 03:26 PM

OK, I will give FIXMBR a try - like you both said, not much to lose at this point.

Yup, I ran chkdsk a few times before it cleaned everything up properly. I don't recall the exact flags off the top of my head, but I believe I used /p to check if there was a problem, and then /r to fix them. I kept repeating that until /p came back w/o an error. I think that worked fine, because Partition Magic kept finding errors too and wouldn't work until I fixed everything with chkdsk.

How about a repair installation? If FIXMBR doesn't work, I think I will try that before I actually try a total reformat.

Thanks again for the help!

#8 usasma

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 05:00 AM

You don't have anything to lose with a repair installation - but if the problem is with the file system on the hard drive, then the repair install won't affect it.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#9 ajm

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 07:34 AM

FIXMBR didn't help and I couldn't do a repair installation because it couldn't find my existing installation for some reason (maybe because it is so screwed up by this time).

So, I figured I would create a new partition and format that w/ Partition Magic and then do a new installation into that partition, and then just copy in the hal.dll to my messed up installation. But, when I attempted to do that, my machine wouldn't boot at all - couldn't even get into the Recovery Console any longer - just a black screen. Using Partition Magic, it looks like for some reason, it put the new partition in front of the existing one, so it wouldn't boot up. I deleted that partition using Partition Magic and then attempted to create and format a new partition through the XP installer, but ran into the same issue. I am now thinking about just creating a small partition (just enough to hold the XP installation) so I can use Partition Magic to move it after my existing one. I still want to try to get a new installation done and copy over the hal.dll. If that doesn't work, I guess it's time to reformat everything.

#10 neobadandy

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 12:55 PM

I MIGHT HAVE A SOLUTIONNN! This is a really old post but I'm sure someone still needs a solution.

Well I had the same problem and this might not work for everybody but.

Boot some sort of recovery thing (I used ubuntu which isn't a recovery thing, but can access windows files),
and find your boot.ini file. The trick is, that if you repartitioned and had removed or added a partition
the boot.ini file will be looking in the wrong place to boot
mine said:
[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 Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

but I removed a partition preceding it so i needed to change it to

[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="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

The change was "partition(1)" if you didnt notice.
Before I had 3 partitions, and now just two, windows was the second(the first being number 0).

Let me know if this helps.




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