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PC will not start after partitioning


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#1 Nanobyte

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 03:48 PM

I made my C: partition larger using Easeus Partition Master. At the end, it had resized the partition but gave an error "C: could not be mounted". I read the Help which said to reduce C: by 10MB. That required a reboot. On reboot I got a message hal.dll could not be found.

It is an eMachines with a recovery capability so I can use that as a last resort (same as booting off the install disk). I would have to reinstall all my programs. I cannot bring up the recovery console (install disk only?).

I put the drive in my other PC as a slave and copied hal.dl_ from i386 to system32 (as hal.dll). When I put the drive back in the original PC as master, it still gives the hal error. It does not seem to be able to see the C: drive. Anything else I could do to boot?

A further question, I have a backup on external HDD made with Retrospect so it's a compressed backup. Once my PC is running in some shape and Retrospect is installed, is it possible to overwrite the C: drive with the backup version? I would imagine that system files may not like being overwritten. At the risk of running Easeus again, could I create a new partition, dump the old C: files into that partition, make the "new" C: partition disabled and then it will boot on the old files. Once running I can delete the "new" OS files.

Edited by Nanobyte, 26 October 2012 - 04:41 PM.


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 05:27 PM

In the first place...you have an OEM system with a hidden partition.

That partition may reflect boot files...may contain files needed to use the restore-to-factory-defaults option...no one can really say until you give us the model of the system.

One cannot approach an OEM system with hidden partitions...in the same manner one would use with a self-built system...that's just the way that it is. Add to that the fact that OEMs have employed different methods of implementing "recovery" mechanisms even within their own product lines over the years...and we need to know the model so that we can see what the original configuration was/is.

One of the most important lessons that users need to realize is...that many of the generic instructions re computers...all assume that it's a system on which Windows is installed by the user...not a system where the manufacturer has implemented its choice of recovery mechanism. That's why so many directives/items start with "Insert your Windows disk" when the only persons with MS Windows disk...are those that either installed Windows themselves or purchased a retail/upgrade version and had someone install it for them.

I had never heard of Retrospect software, so I can't address how it works, etc.

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#3 Nanobyte

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 08:00 PM

It's a T3516, 2004 vintage. I was aware of the OEM business which is why I tried to bypass by putting the drive in my second PC and manually copy the files.

The problem was that I had dead ends whatever I did. If I let it boot then the hal.dll error appeared. If I went to Boot Options (F10) it gave me a choice of drives to boot from. The only one that lead anywhere was if I put the original OS disk in the DVD drive. That in turn meant a complete reformat or new OS, saving existing data. There were no choices such as "Last Good Configuration".

I could have tried going into the BIOS boot options but it may have not got round the hal.dll problem. I've decided to go ahead and reinstall the OS. I don't use the PC much these days (more of a backup) so I will start afresh and reinstall the apps I still use.

Retrospect by Dantz was supplied with a WD hard drive I bought. It's very good once figured out - really awkward terminology however. I probably won't be able to retrieve my backup. I thought I could rebuild the set from the files I've saved. It seems that to decompress the C: backup I need a file that is inside the backup! I guess you have to save that separately and uncompressed.

Edited by Nanobyte, 26 October 2012 - 08:01 PM.


#4 SleepyDude

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 03:22 PM

Hi,

...I put the drive in my other PC as a slave and copied hal.dl_ from i386 to system32 (as hal.dll)...


Some questions:
- did you copy only the hal.dl_ file to hal.dll or did you expand the file?
- the file hal.dll was missing from c:\windows\system32? If the file exists there did you made a backup before overwriting the file with the new one?

The file hal.dll is a "special one" in fact the installed c:\windows\system32\hal.dll its a renamed hal*.dl_ file depending on the computer type and probably isn't hal.dl_ expanded.

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#5 Nanobyte

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 04:11 PM

- did you copy only the hal.dl_ file to hal.dll or did you expand the file?

I did not expand the file, I copied and renamed. I noticed in my searches on the Web that expanding was mentioned. It did not ring a bell at the time.

I have since reinstalled XP and got most progs running normally. Now that I have access to the disk I found the Retrospect backup set which means I have the entire C: drive as it was in May this year (stored, compressed, on an external USB drive). I have a second IDE HDD installed at the moment which is fairly free to be used. It's quite noisy so I would prefer to use it only as a temporary measure. On the assumption I can put the old C: drive content somewhere, what is the best way to try and get it back on the original drive? The original drive has a small FAT32 partition for recovery using the eMachines setup.

Retrospect has a comprehensive restore capability. "Disaster Recovery" involves a complete reinstall and an XP disk. It's not very clear how their instruction fit with an install disk so that is a muddy option. There is a Restore/Entire Volume function. I can start it restoring the C: drive but I have no idea how it handles system files. Other partitions no problem. The old files are being decompressed off an external USB HDD by Retrospect. Will it overwrite them? What if the files are in use? While those are Retrospect specific, is it possible to overwrite the system files such as the registry, drivers etc, while in operation?

Edited by Nanobyte, 27 October 2012 - 05:13 PM.


#6 Nanobyte

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:32 PM

A simpler question. I could install my "affected" HDD to my "other" PC as a slave. I have a complete image backup (on external HDD) of the C: drive that I can now restore on to the "other" PC first (not on the C: partition!). I could then write the image on to the C: partition of the affected PC (which will have another drive letter in that PC). Are there any reasons why this will not work? Problems copying system files? I guess there may be some validation issues when it is restored to the other PC. Drive letter issues? Files that normally would be at the start of the HDD will be elsewhere since it is a straight file transfer, could be an issue with booting?

1. Copy backup C: image to "other" PC in G: partition
2. Connect "affected" drive as a slave (C: partition will be say, drive K:)
3. Delete contents of "affected" C: partition (K:)
4. Copy backup C: image from G: to K:
5. Put "affected" drive back in its PC and try booting.

Edited by Nanobyte, 27 October 2012 - 11:20 PM.


#7 SleepyDude

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 06:31 AM

Hi,

Do you want to access only the files inside the Retrospect backup image or you want to restore the machine back to the time you create the backup?

Is the second IDE HDD completely free?

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#8 Nanobyte

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:56 PM

Just to make sure I could restore all the files for the old C: drive, I restored them to a folder on my "other" PC from the USB HDD backup. It contains the complete drive, boot files through program files to Windows. Looks complete. It took about 2 hours for Retrospect to decompress.

If I connected my "affected" drive into the "other" PC as a slave, I could overwrite the new C: partition with the old C: partition. I could do it from the files I just restored. Alternatively I can repeat the restore exercise from my USB HDD. Retrospect can do a "Volume Restore" where it replaces everything in the destination partition or folder with the backup data. That ensures nothing is left to conflict. I have to assume that there will be no issues overwriting system files, even if they are not in use. I would then put the drive back in the affected PC and hope it booted up.

My reservations are as I noted in my last post. Additionally, the boot record has to be in the first sector of the HDD. The sector size of the HDD is only 512 bytes so that could be a problem. If one is restoring from a proper disk image (as opposed to my full set of files), this would not be an issue because the files would be in exactly the original order.

I don't have a spare drive. I could use the 2nd drive I just installed in the "affected" PC. Load the OS as noted above, remove the "affected" HDD and see if it boots (the boot only looks for the first active partition). If not, nothing lost.

Edited by Nanobyte, 28 October 2012 - 11:59 PM.





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