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Can't boot Missing hal.dll on RAID 1 array


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#1 MaryBet82

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 01:47 PM

Dell 380 winxp sp2, BIOS controlled RAID 1 SATA array

I ran an avira boot cd viral scan yesterday w/out options to fix. No infected files were found, just warnings about unable to scan compressed & encrypted files and some old exe downloaded program never run, zips & jpgs w/ possible trojan, malware/htlm picframes per detection patterns. The Dell wasn't acting any weirder than usual, but I'm ruling out infection on the Sony to which it's networked and I ran the viral scan first on the Dell to begin my learning curve. I can do w/out the dell easier than w/out the sony.

This morning the Dell won't boot into last known configuration or safe mode - "missing hal.dll, please replace file". I thought Ntldr & Ntdetect did the initial hardware load, but I guess they need hal to do it.

I have the Dell OS winxp installation disk, which is supposed to be a Windows install disk - not a "product recovery disk' only good for running an automatic reformat/reinstall. So I should be able to boot from the disk and try the repair option.

Is there something I should do RAID-wise before trying to do the repair? There's a RAID utility you can get into from the first booting up page, but I've only read about it being used if one hd comes loose to rebuild/repair the array.

Is the missing hal likely to be the tip of the iceberg? I thought the avira scan was supposed to sit in RAM and to only read and not write to disk and the BIOS-loaded RAID drivers would enable the little Linux-type OS to read the volume. Apparently I was very wrong. I recently read that recovery console doesn't work w/ RAID, but recovery console doesn't work in a lot of situations, so that didn't clue me in there might be a problem w/ a boot virus scan where I was only scanning. There must also be some OS loaded drivers.

I've been meaning to take down the RAID when I could afford to hire some tech help and partition the 2 hds like I wanted to do in the first place, but I hope I'm not going to finally achieve this by suddenly trashing the array and my OS install.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

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#2 Baltboy

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 03:52 PM

Try to start using the Recovery console. It may work if the RAID doesn't need a third party driver. Then youcan copy the file to it's directory.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproble...storehaldll.htm
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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#3 Stang777

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 06:51 PM

I do not believe that running a RAID 1 configuration should be a problem for that. I can kind of see why other RAID configurations MIGHT be, but RAID 1 just mirrors the drives, as in, what is put on the main drive is also put on the second drive. The second drive is an exact copy of the first drive.

Before you do that, if it isn't too late, you might want to try just using system restore from safe mode with command prompt to see if you can get it going. If you can get safe mode with command prompt to load, just type

%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe, and then press ENTER.

Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to a functional state.

Edited by Stang777, 15 March 2010 - 07:03 PM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 07:22 PM

System Restore from Recovery Console - http://2pure.net/index.php?session=0&a...icle=1150238652

Start System Restore Tool, Safe Mode Command Prompt - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304449

Louis

#5 MaryBet82

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 07:33 PM

Thanks for the quick response and the really helpful link.

The Dell OS CD did exactly as the linked instructions said. I booted in c:\windows, extracted hal and overwrote the one in system 32. But when I rebooted I got the same message about a missing hal. I checked the hal.dll size and date before and after doing the extraction and the size & date did change.

Does the fact that recovery console booted into c:\windows and wrote a file to system32 tell us anything?

There is an event log in the BIOS that says it has 6 pages. The events I can see on page 1 are a list of keyboard failures and 1 chassis intrusion. I don't know if an event in the BIOS log would have any connection to a missing hal error message, but I can't figure out how to scroll thru the pages to look at the most recent entries. I've been trying to figure out how to do that off and on for awhile. I don't want to inadvertently clear the log before I can read it. The tab and arrow keys move back & forth from mark entries to clear entries, but I can't get down into the log.

Besides the bootable OS disc, the dell came w/ a bootable drivers & diagnostics cd. I used it when I first got the dell trying to get familiar w/ the hardware. If I remember correctly it's bootable to run memory and other diagnostics prewin32.

Any suggestions as to what to try next?
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#6 Stang777

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 10:23 PM

Did you try using System Restore to restore the computer to a date from a week ago or whenever you last successfully booted it? If not, try that and select the Restore Point that was created a day or two before your last successful boot.

#7 MaryBet82

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 03:31 PM

Thanks Stang777 & hamluis.

I didn't see your replies when I replied to baltboy,

I can't boot into safe mode, but I can get into recovery console with a command prompt in c:\windows. The restore from recovery console might work, so I'm printing that link out and reading it a few times.

When I did the extract hal I forgot to rename hal to hal.old - just overwrote and I really should know better. So little post-it on glasses.

I'm thinking that the problem isn't RAID-related [the drive and folders are recognized so RAID & the partition table must be ok, right?] and I'm hoping I haven't messed up the MFT.

Before I try system restore could someone check the boot.ini? I haven't edited it and I don't see how running the avira scan could have done so, but it directs to partition 2 - maybe because it's RAID? All the boot.ini's on my other computers have directed to partition 1 since the OS has always been on the first partition. There is only one C:\ partition on the Dell and as far as I know no hidden partitions like on my tablet.

[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 XP Professional"/noexecute=optin /fastdetect /bootlog

Per my reading/understanding thus far on hal, the most likely causes for my missing hal are an incorrectly written boot.ini, corrupt hal [and extracting a new hal didn't work], or disk corruption. Would overwriting hal like I did most likely put the new hal on the same maybe bad sector? hal is 53,234 KB. If hal is on a bad sector, would renaming hal, putting some filler files in system 32 and then extracting hal again maybe put it in a good sector? I know there's some house keeping that goes on to mark off bad sectors and move files to good sectors, I think some at the controller level and some at the OS level. Since the OS hasn't loaded, maybe the bad sector's not marked off yet? I'm assuming I haven't got a lot of bad sectors w/ other critical files and that hal is an isolated, unfortunate file that housekeeping failed to protect.

I'm not actually planning on trying the above. If the boot.ini file is ok, I'm going to try system restore from recovery console.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#8 MaryBet82

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 03:31 PM

Thanks Stang777 & hamluis.

I didn't see your replies when I replied to baltboy,

I can't boot into safe mode, but I can get into recovery console with a command prompt in c:\windows. The restore from recovery console might work, so I'm printing that link out and reading it a few times.

When I did the extract hal I forgot to rename hal to hal.old - just overwrote and I really should know better. So little post-it on glasses.

I'm thinking that the problem isn't RAID-related [the drive and folders are recognized so RAID & the partition table must be ok, right?] and I'm hoping I haven't messed up the MFT.

Before I try system restore could someone check the boot.ini? I haven't edited it and I don't see how running the avira scan could have done so, but it directs to partition 2 - maybe because it's RAID? All the boot.ini's on my other computers have directed to partition 1 since the OS has always been on the first partition. There is only one C:\ partition on the Dell and as far as I know no hidden partitions like on my tablet.

[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 XP Professional"/noexecute=optin /fastdetect /bootlog

Per my reading/understanding thus far on hal, the most likely causes for my missing hal are an incorrectly written boot.ini, corrupt hal [and extracting a new hal didn't work], or disk corruption. Would overwriting hal like I did most likely put the new hal on the same maybe bad sector? hal is 53,234 KB. If hal is on a bad sector, would renaming hal, putting some filler files in system 32 and then extracting hal again maybe put it in a good sector? I know there's some house keeping that goes on to mark off bad sectors and move files to good sectors, I think some at the controller level and some at the OS level. Since the OS hasn't loaded, maybe the bad sector's not marked off yet? I'm assuming I haven't got a lot of bad sectors w/ other critical files and that hal is an isolated, unfortunate file that housekeeping failed to protect.

I'm not actually planning on trying the above. If the boot.ini file is ok, I'm going to try system restore from recovery console.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#9 hamluis

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 03:59 PM

Basic references for your system, http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/syst...g/A04/index.htm.

Louis

#10 Stang777

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:49 PM

You are welcome. I can't answer most of your quetions and I don't know if this matters but I am also running a RAID 1 configuration and my boot.ini shows partition 1.....

[boot loader]
timeout=5
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

I believe that if you had a bad sector that data would not be written to it and I doubt that it is a bad sector causing your problems but you could try running check disk from the recovery console

Try doing the restore from recovery console. When I had the message that system/config was missing or corrupt, I used an emergency rescue boot disk that let me use System Restore to restore to a previous date and that worked like a charm. I don't know for sure, but I think it would work for the hal file too and I suspect that using the recovery console would work the same as the disk I used.

Btw, I did not post my boot.ini thinking that you should change yours to match it, I only posted it to show that running a RAID configuration does not mean that it needs to booting from partition 2.

Edited by Stang777, 16 March 2010 - 05:27 PM.


#11 hamluis

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 05:12 PM

Dell PC Restore Partition - http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/index.htm

You may want to crosscheck the above with your system documentation...before you think about changing that boot.ini file.

Louis

#12 Stang777

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 05:19 PM

Out of curiosity, are you running RAID 1 or RAID 1+0 and why are you wanting to get rid of the RAID configuration. I am running RAID 1+0.

I would also like to get rid of the RAID but have been too chicken to do it. I really have no need to have the drives mirrored and I would like to have the two drives running independently of each other. I would like to have the extra disk to put just what I want on it and if I get a virus or the operating system gets corrupted, I would rather it did not immediately get copied to another disk.

Are your reasons for wanting to get rid of the RAID along the same lines as mine?

Edited by Stang777, 16 March 2010 - 05:22 PM.


#13 MaryBet82

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 10:32 PM

Just plain RAID 1 - 2 SATA drives linked together.

I didn't want RAID in the first place - long story

The hd is one 160 GB volume. Takes forever to defrag, viral scan, etc. For a new computer w/ SATA drives I was impressed with how it was no faster than my older computer. Don't know if the RAID 1 slows it down significantly or if the Dell system - processor, motherboard chipset, etc - is a poor configuration but I'd like to find out. Or if winxp is simply unable to benefit from the [then] new hardware.

I want to try the SATA drives unencumbered by RAID1 and I want to try putting the pagefile on the non-OS hd and see if Windows xp can get past old granny speed. I also like to put my OS and programs files in a separate partition than my personal docs. I generate lots of files and folders fast, move them around, do a lot of deletes over a few days. So it's easier if I can just defrag my personal docs partition separately.

I don't "get" RAID1. If there's a good article on it for non-engineers that goes beyond "it copies" I haven't found it. All I see that it protects against is a hd controller-type failure - not the file corruption that seems much more common. I did have a controller failure on my ext Maxtor hd - right after I reformatted the Dell w/ the backup on the Maxtor. Plugged it in to put back my files - dead. Thanks to a lifetime of really bad luck I also had the really important stuff on dvd.

A computer that won't boot is a real hardship to me, so I work hard at trying to have preventative and recovery protocols in place. Not doing a good job so far with the recovery part. The redundancy in RAID 1 was supposed to protect me from data loss and a non-booting OS, but I think it's better to do regular data bu's and periodic clones of the OS. The corrupted hal, if that is actually the problem, just got copied over.

I'm in a high lightning strike area so real backups are out of the box - on dvd and ext hd's which are unplugged most of the time and at the first sign of a cloud in the sky. I have to do very regular data backups to optical and ext hd anyway - so I'm crawling along daily and wasting 160 GB to protect against a controller failure.

I hate reformatting and wiping all my data. I'm never sure I've got everything. And taking down the array looses all the data on it. So I'm chicken too. My advice is backup stuff you really, really don't want to loose to optical [not just to ext HD or a flash drive], checking the little box that says verify written data; when the disc pops out, push it back in and make sure your data is there and you can open files.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#14 Stang777

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:04 AM

It sounds like you got your computer booting, if so, congrats and I am happy for you.

The thing about RAID 1 is that if you have one hard drive go out, theoretically, you are supose to be able to just take out the failed disk, and switch over to the second one and go on with your business. It does not protect you at all from a failed or corrupt operating system, just a failed hard drive.

RAID 1 might slow you down a little bit, but not much, RAID 1+0 is suppose to help there not be a slow down and is the preferred RAID setup for mirroring. I read something that called it the Cadillac of RAID, lol. I have found some good articles about it and if I get the chance to find them again, might even be in my favorites, I will post them here for you.

Louis gave me some really good advice for how to undo the RAID, but I have still not actually done it. He said one could elect to not delete the array and just remove the second drive from the computer, and then remove the RAID card and then reformat the drive and later install the second drive. I was wanting to reformat the main drive but not lose the data from the second drive and since I have also heard that deleting the array would make me lose all my data, I was looking for a way around that. If I remove the second drive like Louis suggested, before I take out the card or delete the array, it cannot lose the data off of the drive that is no longer connected and I should be able install it as a slave and still have all the data intact, just in case I forgot to back up something that is needed and can always format it later. You might want to consider doing it this way just in case you need something off of the disk.

He also said this 'When I played with my RAID setup, it was pretty simple. I went into the Promise BIOS, elected the boot drive, elected the array, it was done. When I had tired of playing, I just went in, removed the RAID, and left the drives reflected in the BIOS (as they should be because they are using the controller card)."

Maybe I am misinterpretting what he said there, but I thought it seemed like doing it that way, did not cause data loss, but I can't be certain as he did not say.

I do not know what kind of RAID controller you have and if it is not a Promise controller, it might work differently for you and the sata hard drives you have might make a difference too. I just thought I would share the good advice Louis gave me here in case it would help you too.

Why do you recommend using optical instead of flash drives for backups?

I use to use them but now mostly just use flash drives (I usually back up the same things on several of them) since they hold so much more. If I were to reformat, I would probably back up the most important stuff on CD too, but there a lot that I can't really put on them. I do however have a third harddrive installed and most of my stuff is also backed up on that and it is not part of the RAID setup.

Hmmm, in looking for an article on RAID for you, I just read something that leads me to believe that I cannot be running a RAID 1+0 even though device manager tells me I am. What I read says that you need a minimum of 4 hard drives for that and I do not believe I have that many. There is no way my tower could hold 5 drives and I was told there were 2. Besides, I think the tech would have mentioned that there were already 4 drives when he put in my third drive after I got this computer. I must just be running a RAID 1 even though device manager says 1+0 under disks, although I have no idea why it would say that. I know it doesn't really matter but I wanted to clear up what would appear to be an inaccuracy in my post

Edited by Stang777, 17 March 2010 - 01:21 AM.


#15 hamluis

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:25 AM

Just to avoid any misinterpretation...when I eliminated my RAID setup, I did a clean install of XP afterwards.

I treated it the same way that I treat any program I want to experiment with...do the experiment, then remove the program and start all over again.

The only way to not lose data from any system setup...is to backup the data to another drive/partition, etc...and then configure your system as you want it. I've never tried to backup a RAID to a single drive...but I believe that various versions of Acronis True Image can accomplish such.

Louis




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