hal.dll file missing. Cannot boot after restore

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Tomq, May 10, 2005.

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  1. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    I have both TI 8.0 and Disk Director 9.0.
    I used Disk Director to shrink my XP partition to make room for a linux installation.
    The resizing went well, and the XP partition rebooted without any problem after the resize. However, during the linux install, the system froze halfware thru the os install and config (bad media, I think), forcing me to power cycle. At this point, my system would no longer boot into either xp or linux.

    I then booted from the TI boot dvd, and attempted a restore the XP partition from a known good full backup. I did a verify and restore, and the restored went forward without any errors from TI, in fact it said the restore was successful.

    But when I reboot my system, I get an error before I even get to the xp splash screen, saying windows can't boot, because the windows root> \system32\hal.dll file is missing! I went back to Disk Director, and deleted all partitions, and recreated the XP ntfs partion in its original size, made it active/primary, and formatted it using Disk Director. Then I went back to TI and tried the restore again, with the same bad result.

    Am I to assume the Acronis' Full partition backup does not include the hal.dll file?
    Is there a workaround for this?

    Please help. I really don't want to have to resort to HP's recovery dvd.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    -TomQ
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello TomQ,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis System Restore Software.

    Could you please restore the image once again and if the computer doesn't boot please do the following:

    - Download Acronis Report utility from http://www.acronis.com/files/support/AcronisReport.exe;
    - Run Acronis Report utility and select the "Create bootable floppy" option;
    - Insert a blank floppy disk in the floppy drive and proceed with creating the bootable diskette;
    - Boot the computer under consideration from this diskette and wait for report creation process to complete;
    - Send the report.txt file from the floppy disk to support@acronis.com along with the link to this thread.

    Also please make sure you have the image of the whole disk (all partitions).

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  3. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    No, it just means your boot.ini is pointing to the wrong partition. You will be up and running in 5 minutes.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q289022

    http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_haldll_missing.htm

    "That message is rather misleading. It happens because the boot.ini file
    that tells the boot where to look for 'Windows' is damaged, so it is
    looking for files in the wrong place - hal.dll just happens to be the
    first one it looks for.

    Set the BIOS to boot CD before Hard Disk. Boot the XP CD and, instead
    of Setup, take the immediate R for Repair. Assume any password
    requested is blank, and TAB over.

    Use
    Attrib -H -R -S C:\boot,ini
    DEL C:\boot.ini
    to delete the bad one
    BootCfg /Rebuild

    to search for Windows installations and make a new one

    --
    Alex Nichol MS MVP (Windows Technologies)
    Bournemouth, U.K. Alexn@mvps.D8E8L.org (remove the D8 bit)"
     
  4. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    >>No, it just means your boot.ini is pointing to the wrong partition. You will be up and running in 5 minutes.<<

    Sounds promising....

    >>Boot the XP CD......<<

    Don't have one. All I have is the Emergency Recovery DVD from HP.
    Will this procedure work with it?

    If not, can I use the Recovery DVD to bring my system back to "day one" factory install, and then restore from my TI image files? Would that get around the problem?

    How about the downloadable .exe file from Acronis that attempts to repair the master boot block? Might that do the trick?

    And I do appreciate your help!
    :)

    -TomQ
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2005
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I don't know what your recovery DVD does. Boot to it and see if there is a Recovery Console. Otherwise, borrow a WinXP disc from a friend.

    Out of interest, what was your partition order before and after the imaging and restore process.
     
  6. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    >>Out of interest, what was your partition order before and after the imaging and restore process?<<

    The answer to that is a little complicated.

    I have just one disk drive, with C: being the first partition (ntfs, act, primary), and D: being the second partition (FAT32, primary). D: was a Emergency recovery partition from HP, with C: being the actual XP partition.

    I did a complete partition backup image of C:, and the same for D: in a separate operation. In the case of C:, I did do a successful image restore using this image a few weeks ago, it it worked fine.

    I then decided to install linux as a second bootable partition, and that's when things started going south....

    Used Acronis Disk Director to delete the HP Recovery partition, resize the XP partition, to free up disk space for linux. This worked fine, XP was able to boot from the new smaller partition, and the space after it I left unassigned, per the linux install instructions. XP was still the first partition, just smaller, and that's the way I left it for a few days, all working fine.

    Then I got my boot cd for linux, attempted to install it into the unassigned space after C:, and it froze well into the installation process, and I could not boot from that point on. Going back into Acronis Disk Director, I could see that linux created 2 or 3 additional partitions after my XP partition, which I promptly deleted. I then attempted to restore using TI image of C:, but found that it did not like the fact that C: was now smaller. So I again used Disk Director to resize c: back to its original size, formatted it for ntfs, made it act,primary, and then was able to restore the full backup image from the TI program (no errors during the verify/restore).

    Still could not boot.

    QuestionS:

    Is the boot.ini file you talk about in the master boot block on the disk?

    If so, shouldn't I try to repair it using the Acronis utility created for that purpose?

    -TomQ
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Boot.ini is on the C:\ drive. Don't use the Acronis utilities for your problem. You don't have a MBR problem.

    If you have BartPE you can easily view and edit the boot.ini file. Look into BartPE later, it's very handy.
     
  8. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Hi Tom,

    Your problem with the missing hal.dll sounds very like a similar problem another poster have - but in his/her case it is ntoskrnl.exe that is missing.

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=79151

    Perhaps if/when we find the root cause, it will also apply to the missing hal.dll.
     
  9. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    Thanks to all who responded.

    I just got my system up and running again by doing a full restore using the HP Recovery DVD. My system now boots, and is back to its original condition the day I bought it (two years ago, sigh).

    Now I am in the middle of yet another attempt of restoring from my TI full backup, hoping this time there will be no missing file.

    I will let everyone know the results.

    -TomQ
     
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I think it will happen again Tom because the boot.ini in your image is pointing to the wrong partition. On my computer I just changed the boot.ini to read partition 2 instead of partition 1. (WinXP is installed in the first partition.) After restarting the computer I received the hal.dll message. Using BartPE I changed the boot.ini back to read partition 1 and now the computer boots normally.

    You must put the restored OS image into the same primary partition number as your OS was at image time. If not, then a boot.ini edit is needed.
     
  11. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    >>You must put the restored OS image into the same primary partition number as your OS was at image time. If not, then a boot.ini edit is needed.<<

    You are probably right, but....
    It worked!
    The image restore was successful, and I am booted up normally.

    By using the HP Recovery DVD, the drive was formatted, and partitioned, back to it's original configuration, and this was the configuration that was in effect when I created the TI image files that I used to restore it.

    The only thing I don't understand is, I was able to completely delete one partition (the HP Recovery) and resize the other (XP), all without causing any problems. It was only after I tried to install linux into the unallocated disk space, and that install froze in mid stream, that the problem appeared. The XP partition was not moved in the process. I think maybe the linux installation modifies the boot.ini, and because the linux install terminated abnormally, it may have corrupted that file. Another possibility is a conflict between the Acronis Boot selector program and the boot selector program that the linux install program wants to install.

    In any case, I am back up and running, and won't be attempting to reinstall linux anytime soon, unless I clearly understand what went wrong, so I can avoid it next time.

    But I still feel that the True Image program is at fault here. A disaster recovery utility should be just that. It should be able to restore a system to running condition without any assistance from other programs, or excuses.
    Maybe I'm just spoiled by Solaris unix. Everything I need to completely backup and restore disk drives under Solaris is integrated right into the OS.

    -TomQ
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Good work Tom. With you in mind I upgraded my son’s computer today to a larger HD. There is only a single HD bay and the enclosed drive was 10 GB, 4 GB for OS (WinXP NTFS) and 6 GB for data. Yesterday I had imaged each partition separately (not the whole drive as Acronis suggest) to an external HD. The original drive was removed and replaced by a 20 GB drive which I then formatted to a 5 GB primary partition and a 15 GB logical drive. I chose FAT32 to demonstrate that this choice doesn’t matter because the image over-writes the partition. In the same vein I didn’t make the primary partition active.

    From the Acronis TI CD I chose to restore the C drive image and chose Active, not Primary. At the last window I chose not to restore another partition. The restore took over an hour because of the USB 1 connection. When it was finished WinXP booted normally, NTFS as expected.

    I then started Acronis TI from Windows to restore the logical drive making sure it used the same drive letter as the previous HD. This finished without a hitch and is NTFS.

    I guess I did it differently from what Acronis recommends but my technique has always worked with several other imaging applications.
     
  13. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Hi Brian,

    I've done the same thing without problems. I think it's because the original drive had two partitions and the new drive was partitioned the same way. So, the MBR and partition table are correct for the restored partitions.
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Yes, the partition numbers of both HD OS primary partitions must be the same. If they aren't you get the hal.dll error. I've made that mistake a few times.

    There is an interesting thread on cloning drives in the Ghost forum. Cloning is more likely to cause problems than imaging, unless you do it correctly.
     
  15. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Sorry - I don't agree here. True Image works perfectly as an Disaster Recovery Utility. From what you describe, you made an image containing an BOOT.INI file that contained entry for a bootable Windows on partition #1.

    Next, you deleted partition #0 (the mysterious HP partition) which in turn shifted the previous partition #1 (with Windows) down to partition #0.

    After the restore, when the Windows boot loader read BOOT.INI (which still said that Windows was on partition #1), it quite naturally failed to located HAL.DLL on partition #1 - since partition #1 do not exist any more.

    For your wish to come true, True Image would have to muck around with the content of BOOT.INI, or override your commands as to which partitions to restore. I am thankful that it does NOT.
    Including the OS? Have your tried starting with a blank disk, install Solaris, and then restored a backup (including Solaris itself) on top of the running Solaris installation?

    Oh - and you are wrong about Windows lacking an integrated backup and restore tool. Ever since Windows NT, Microsoft have included the excellent NTBackup program, which is perfect for making backups and restores - included the OS. The only "problem" (if you will call it that) with it is

    1) It will not (in the Home User edition) write directly to removeable media. But in this day and age, where an external hard disk costs so little, that is not a real problem.

    2) It is not installed by default - it is an optional add-on. And this is a REAL problem in this day and age, where loosers seems to be unable to read the various README's etc, that is on the Windows CD which describes the program and what you have to do to install it.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2005
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    "Backup" is in my System Tools folder. Is that the one you are referring to? It looks ths same as the one we used in Win 98 days. I've never used it to do a system restore and I'd be really interested to hear from you if it can restore a C:drive partition from a backup on D: drive. Not that I want to try, but I'd just like to know if it can be done.
     
  17. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    I don't know. Read this:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=438681&postcount=2
    It works: Read this personal experience by me:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=449785&postcount=5
     
  18. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  19. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    >> For your wish to come true, True Image would have to muck around with the content of BOOT.INI, or override your commands as to which partitions to restore.<<

    Actually, at a minimum, I'd like to see a better users manual that forewarns about these types of problems, and how to avoid them. Again, keep in mind we are talking about a program that is being touted as easy to use for the novice. By definition, a novice should not be expected to understand the importance of partition numbering, boot.ini, etc.

    Better yet, during/after the restore process, the program should warn when a restored primary partition will not be bootable, and provide optional steps to correct this.

    >>Including the OS? Have your tried starting with a blank disk, install Solaris, and then restored a backup (including Solaris itself) on top of the running Solaris installation?<<

    With the exception of "on top of the running Solaris installation", yes.
    Let me clarify that I am referring to the Sparc version of Solaris, not the X86 version which may be different in this regard.

    With the Sparc version of Solaris, I do a ufsdump of the OS partition to either removable media or a file on another disk. To restore the OS partition to a new disk, I boot single-user (boot cdrom -s) from the Solaris installation media, which boots a memory resident version of Solaris, and leaves you at the root "#" prompt. From there, every unix command and utility needed to restore/create a new bootable OS partition is available to me. I start with the format utility, which allows me to select, partition, and label the target drive. Next the partition selected for the restore is formatted using the "newfs" command. Then the new file system is mounted, and the ufsrestore command is used to restore the OS partition image to the new partition/drive. If there are any data partitions on the drive, they are restored at this time using the same procedure. Lastly, a boot block is installed on the disk using the "installboot" command. Done. You can now boot from the new disk, assuming that the physical path to the boot drive/partion has not changed. If it has changed, a simple change at the OBP (BIOS) level can be made to point to the new path. If you have multiple boot partitions/drives, you can setup different boot aliases for them, again, at the OBP (Open Boot Prom) level. Now that I think about it, that is the key difference. On a sparc/solaris system, there is no file or files on the disk that determine which is the boot partition. That is determined, and easily modified, at the prom level.

    >>you are wrong about Windows lacking an integrated backup and restore tool. Ever since Windows NT, Microsoft have included the excellent NTBackup program, which is perfect for making backups and restores - included the OS.<<

    I assume that this is a different utility from the "backup" utility in the XP accessories tab? If it is installed on my system, what folder would it be in?
    As I have a pre installed HP PC which did not come with a copy of the XP installation media, I have no idea if NTBackup is installed. And if NTBackup is as good as you say, then maybe I don't need TI at all.

    >>It will not (in the Home User edition) write directly to removable media.<<

    Solaris ufsdump supports writing to tape and disk removable media drives. Never tried with CD or DVD writers, so I don't know about them.

    >>It is not installed by default - it is an optional add-on.<<

    Why? If it is as good as you say, Acronis must be pleased that it is NOT included by default. HMMMM...

    -TomQ
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2005
  20. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Uhm - yes, that would be a nice feature.
    Ahh - I had forgotten about boot CD. It has been many years since I installed Sun Solaris (it was when SPARC-station 10 and 20 was new and hot!).
    Actually, it is the same. Whoever pre-installed your HP PC must also have added the NTBackup program to the mix.
     
  21. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Hi MiniMax,

    Have you tried NTBackup with Windows XP SP2 on a bare new hard drive?

    If all you have is your original Windows XP or XP SP1 MS OEM recovery CD, will a restore by NT Backup restore the system to full WinXP SP2? That is if you install WinXP or SP1 even without the right drivers on a new drive and then run NTBackup and restore a backup made under WinXP SP2, will the system boot correctly into WinXP SP2?

    I haven't tried this.
     
  22. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of the windows backup program is that it operates at the file level, not at the sector level, as TI does. This means that it will suffer from the same limitations as other file based backup utilities under Windows: problems with backing up open/hidden/locked files, making it not the best choice as a disaster recovery tool.

    -TomQ
     
  23. MiniMax

    MiniMax Registered Member

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    Yes and no - it was with Windows 2000 SP3 on a brand new drive (see post #17).
    That is correct. After the backup you get a report with details of files that was omitted. But you can run NTBackup in Windows Safe Mode and (IIRC) get everything included in the backup.

    I used NTBackup when a real disaster had occurred: My hard drive failed with lots of bad sectors, Windows refused to boot, and True Image complained about 100's of bad sectors and failed to make an image that would check out/mount. I managed to bring the drive back to live with SpinRite, but True Image still failed to make a good image. NTBackup however, maybe because it operates on the file level?, made a good backup that allowed me to completely restore the system onto a new drive.
     
  24. Tomq

    Tomq Registered Member

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    Interesting.

    Sounds to me like you were lucky. If I were you, I'd play my lucky numbers at the Lotto while that luck holds....

    Still, it does show that there is no profit in playing favorites when it comes to an emergency situation. Use what works.

    I can understand how under those specific circumstances TI might fail and windows backup succeed. I assume SpinRite (not familiar with it) allows the mapping out of bad sectors, and moving data to available good alternate sectors, and/or attempts to fix bad sectors. Either way, the "repaired" drive has to remain stable long enough for Windows Backup to successfully complete, for this solution to work.

    I wouldn't count on your next hard disk failure being that cooperative. The last disk failure I experienced was a "sudden death": One minute it was perfectly healthy, the next, it was suitable only as a door stop.
    :)

    The real lesson here is: Create a current backup of your system BEFORE the drive starts acting up, regardless of which backup solution you employ.

    -TomQ
     
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