hal.dll missing AGAIN

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by corinthian, Oct 1, 2006.

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  1. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Bill,

    We're now all waiting for details on your
    which never made it onto the Web, or this forum.

    Looking at the potential underlying causes...I've experienced and read about ATI making errors writing MBRs, creating new NTFS directories, etc. Even the ATI log reports detailed information about a Files and Folders Archive just Validated, but says nothing about a similar Validation just completed on a Disk/Partition Image.

    So, if you are looking for consistency, that may quickly drive you back into the wilderness. What works, on your system, is what counts. Certainly, the goal is to perfect ATI to run flawlessly on all systems in all modes. But, as with every other program I know of, that goal is elusive. Acronis is at a distinct disadvantage, since every day new hardware and drivers are released with their own unique protocols. Acronis is trying to keep up. Hence, regular releases of Acronis Drivers, new builds, new versions.

    By the way, there is an ISO from Acronis support, being talked about in these forums which seems to help some systems run SATA drives. Are you aware of this?

    Regards
     
  2. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Correct.
     
  3. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Well now the mystery is pretty well complete, but not solved. Guess what? I just now restored the Seagate from the recovery disk and external hard drive, and the restore was pulled off without any problems. I am now looking in disk management with only the Western Digital SATA internal hard drive hooked up and booted, plus the external drive. I selected each partitions separately starting with C: and then the recovery partition and then the MBR, doing some resizing along the way. And disk management shows two partitions, the C: NTFS healthy (system) of 59.9 GB, a G: drive fat 32 healthy (which is recovery partition) of 34.76 GB, and 138.22 GB of unallocated space.

    So there's lots of good news in that I seem to be able to restore images of all three internal hard drives to at least two of these drives (have not yet tried to restore TO the Seagate, I probably won't fool with that to later). But why am I now able to restore? What have I changed? Once I restored to the 40 GB PATA drive, from then on I have been able to complete all restores. I thought it might have something to do with having selected "disk 1", but I just now restored the Seagate PATA to the Western Digital by going about it in the same way as I have attempted to first. By selecting individual partitions and resizing them and then selecting MBR at the end.

    So I am delighted that I am finally able to restore images. I will have to celebrate with a big steak dinner tonight. I've got the feeling that I will also be able to restore to the Seagate when I choose to do so. But honestly, after all of this work we've done, I still don't have a good clue as to why I was unable to restore AT ALL on previous attempts, and what might have changed so that I'm able to restore now. Where oh where I have all of the MBR errors and Hal .dll errors gone to? Oh well, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

    THANKS EVERYBODY FOR ALL THE HELP
    Bill
     
  4. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Steak sounds yummy. Might have to raid the freezer myself.

    I use a Foreman Grill, and love it. Wait, don't run screaming away, you technically minded readers. I am not about to post recipes...please read on...

    If I have just cooked a steak on the grill, and don't clean it well, and then toss a salmon steak on the following night, I'll have a bit of flavor transferred over. The next night, now that I have the surf and turf MBR on the grill, my chicken may taste devine!

    But why didn't that chicken taste as good last week when I had a party?

    Once an MBR has been changed, ATI may over-write it perfectly. Strange, perhaps, but, what precedes an operation may indeed effect the outcome.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2006
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Bill, did you use a fresh image for this restore or the one that has been failing?
     
  6. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    At least Brian remembers what this is all about. Thanks for keeping us grounded. While esoteric theories are tempting, this could all be a result of heat (external HDs commonly overheat) or something quite technical and tangible.

    But, I still think one has to understand that each action TI takes is a complex process, and, depending on the starting point, the results may vary. Which, as Brian suggests, could mean the image as starting point, rather than the state of the MBR.

    I learned recently that ATI will create an MBR when restoring a system partition if none exists. So, ATI must look at and evaluate the existing conditions, for any MBR to work. Much as it does while excluding the Windows swap file from a full Image...then inserting a place marker during a restore. This is not a simple nor transparent process. Hence, each pre-existing state may influence the outcome.
     
  7. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Fresh image
     
  8. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Nope, I did not know that. It sounds like I need to know, however. I'm not quite sure what an ISO is, other than some kind of image.

    Speaking of images,I was about to send you a picture of some of the magnificent glacial cirques we were camped in, but the files all excede the limit for attachments at this site. At least it was a good way to escape the Mississippi heat, as the low on first camp night ( at. appx. 10,000 feet) was 20 degrees.
    Bill
     
  9. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Hi, corinthian

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: ISO Image


    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  10. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Bill,

    Here's what I have, to get you on the path to that ISO which TheQuest has defined so well.

    In which Shootist says:
    Re: No hard drives detected

    Sounds like an ISO many of us could make good use of. If anyone hears from Acronis support with a public link, please post it. Though, come to think of it, the ISO link may need to be sent to registered uses, so request this directly by sending a PM to Acronis Support, then please post your experiences of which hardware it supports.



    Bill - 20 degrees, camped in the high mountains, sounds mighty fine after this sweltering summer in North Carolina. If you paste a photo into MS Word, then right click it, you can Format/ resize it, and get down to the 200 kb limit as a .jpg pretty quickly. Or, use MS Photo Editor, etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2006
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Bill, we know that you can restore that fresh image. If you still have the old image it would be interesting to see if it restores using your present technique. If it doesn't restore then it suggests a bad image was the initial problem.

    Could I make a few comments about the MBR. Constuctive criticism welcome. I don't think it is really important to tick Restore MBR as a generic one is restored if you omit the tick. You can see this with a Disk Editor. Naturally if you need a special MBR such as when using a boot loader or a Dell restore partition then you need the tick. I've restored images using TI, Ghost and Drive SnapShot and then I've deleted the first 440 bytes of the Master Boot Sector, ie the boot code, using a Disk Editor. Obviously, the OS won't boot anymore as there is no MBR. Using fixmbr or fdisk /mbr makes the OS bootable again as if nothing was ever amiss. These tools write a new MBR. So if you have a "MBR error" not fixable by these simple means then there is more to the problem than the MBR.


    Edit, I should have written fixmbr. Fixboot writes a new partition boot sector which is not part of the MBR.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2006
  12. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Brian,

    Since you are quite well versed in the MBR, I'd like your thoughts on this. I'm just getting my arms around the difference between Imaging and whatever a Drive snapshot is called. Since ATI makes informed decisions about certain phases of the restore operation, such as generating a generic MBR, or generating a placemarker for the Windows Swap File, it seems reasonable that this could be a place that errors arise, even those of the sort that have Bill stumped after months of experimenting with restores on his system.
     
  13. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Christopher,

    Most of the Imaging programs that I've tried seem to do the same thing, perhaps in different ways. Creating and restoring images, restoring a generic MBR, not imaging the pagefile or hibernation file and restoring from an environment outside of Windows. Some have lots of bells and whistles eg TI and some have almost none eg Drive SnapShot. They all work and I can't recall any of these apps letting me down. I can't complain. Perhaps I've been fortunate with my hardware.
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  15. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Brian, I had made so many disk images trying to get one to work that I was starting to get a little low on room on my external drive. So I deleted most of them, but I did find one that I had not deleted. This is a C: only image, and if I'm not mistaken it's the one I made back when you asked me if I was ready to try it your way. And I'm also pretty positive that I was unable to restore it, and I just got the old MBR message. I was never able to restore anything until I installed the old 40 GB Western Digital, made an image of it, and then attempted successfully to restore to it's own image back to it. For some reason ever since then, every restoration has gone off without a hitch.

    Anyway, earlier today I gave it a try with the older image from above (the C: only image) that was made prior to installing the 40 GB Western Digital, and it restored successfully. I have no idea why.

    I'd also like to ask again:In a Windows XP system, what boot disk do I need to be able to run FDISK /MBR? Does that require a Windows 98 boot disk, and will that program run from this boot disk on a Windows XP system, particularly since Windows XP will not be booted if we are trying to use this? And am I correct that this command cannot be run from one of the Windows XP boot disk (MS-DOS?) that are available from the net?



    Well, it does almost appear as though something got fixed somehow after I removed the SATA drive and put it in another PATA drive. Though that seems unlikely, I certainly don't have any other explanation at the moment.

    Bill (a.k.a. happy to be restoring!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  16. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    Bill,

    [MOVE]Brian has headed for the outback...we wore him out ;) Actually, for a well deserved vacation.[/MOVE]

    If you don't have a Windows XP Installation CD, which offers FixMBR as part of the Repair Installation, Acronis offers a tool called mbrautowrite. In the Help section above. I also read tonight that a Windows 98 boot disc, which I believe you have, offers fixmbr.

    Taking SATA out of the equation could very well be an important part of what worked for you. Many systems pose problems under SATA that are not present with PATA hard drives. After this, you may be able to Image and Restore forever. Let's hope so!

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2006
  17. SiriuS Support

    SiriuS Support Registered Member

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    WOW, you guys have been AT IT! I tried to read up all your posts but around page 3 I just started skimming.

    I'm surprised you guys never dicussed the core issue of the HAL file. That is the title of the thread afterall. As I understand it HAL is the Hardware Access Layer. It resides in the foundation of the OS and is how calls are made to the Hardware. I am really only guessing, but I believe the HAL is constructed at OS installation based on the hardware present. There are probably many standard pieces to the hardware layer, but special hardware like storage drivers which are necessary for PCI SATA cards, or even onboard SATA controllers are probably missing from this HAL.dll file unless installed initially.

    As I understand it when your system boots, the BIOS finds the MBR which directs to the correct partition that is supposed to have the OS. If that partition is formatted NTFS it then finds the NTLDR which is required to read the data in NTFS. Then it looks for the HAL.dll which sets up ow the OS communicates with the hardware. For now we'll call this my theory. I wish I could say are the facts, but I've never read it I've only deduced it from years of "playing" as my wife calls it. Given this theory I believe I know why you experienced these problems.

    You were imaging a source drive and it's resident OS that was set up to run on PATA on to a different drive which type wouldn't matter, but then you took that image and put it on a SATA drive which used a PCI controller. There are specific needs (drivers) for the OS to function on this hardware and when it can't make calls to the hardware or get the expected replys it assumes the file which defines its communication language is corrupt or missing.

    The reason I read your thread is I was hoping someone more knowledgeable than I would have explained my theory as fact. The reason being that I just built a new computer and initially set up a dual boot (XP x64 and Vista x64) single SATA 250GB drive, but once I got the 750GB (for only $300 off eBay) for my media center computer, I could pull the 2 250GB SATA drives which I was running mixed RAID 1 and RAID 0 and add them to the new system to build a 3 drive RAID-5 array.

    Theorizing that the HAL would not work correctly in the new hardware configuration, I first tried to image the original SATA 250GB to an external USB drive. Then I had to use a BartPE(Preinstalled Environment) CD which built with Acronis as a plug-in because the standard Acronis bootable CD wouldn't recognize the SATA drives. From within the BartPE I was able to restore the image onto the 2 new 250GB drive in a RAID 1 configuration.

    After a successful restore I also couldn't boot either. I was getting the "NTLDR missing or corrupt" error. I believe I got this message because the system knew it was being sent to a system partition formated in NTFS and needed the NTLDR to read the data. Due to the inability to communicate with the SATA drive in a RAID configuration it couldn't find the NTLDR.

    I tried restoring the NTLDR and NETCOM files from the XP REcovery console, but that didn't help. I ended up just doing a repair install of XP over top of itself. THis is a HORRIBLE solution, but it works somewhat. I do believe that when you do this you find many problems in your OS and previously installed programs. FOR INSTANCE: IE7 was previously installed and after repairing it overwrote with IE6 and now IE6 gives me the error "The specified procedure could not be found" anytime I try to visit any page. I know have to reload IE7.

    If anyone has any thoughts on my theories or experiences I'd LOVE some feedback. Best of luck to you all.

    Armand
     
  18. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Hi Armand,

    Unfortunately I don't have any expert input to offer you. As you probably have already perceived I am only in the question asking business when it comes to restoring with Acronis. LOL! But it does sound to me like your take on the Hal .dll problem could well be valid. Your theory about me imaging a source drive whose resident OS was set up to run on a PATA drive and then trying to restore it to a different type of hardware (SATA), and then running into problems because of different hardware/driver requirements in the SATA, may well be the root of the problem. Hopefully somebody smarter than they will have some tips for you regarding the problems that you have had. Which is why now that I finally have a restored image to SATA running correctly (as far as I can tell), one of the first things I'm going to do is image that SATA drive. Who knows, that might help in the future.

    In the meantime, I have received this response from Acronis:

    Please run the Restore wizard and try to choose only MBR to restore.
    If this issue still persists please boot the computer from a Windows XP Installation CD, start Recovery Console and run fixmbr command.

    We are always at your service should you have any further questions.

    Thank you

    --
    Best regards,
    Alexander Gladkov

    I will refer to this in a following post to Brian, which he can hopefully read when he gets back from the Australian outback.
     
  19. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Re: hal.dll missing AGAIN (mainly FOR BRIAN)

    Hello Brian, hopefully you will see this when you get back from the Australian wilds. Most of this is regarding some of your previously posted information for me in an attempt to help. I've had a chance to revisit some of that.

    I have received this response from Acronis, which sounds much like some of the advice you have already given me in several ways:

    Please run the Restore wizard and try to choose only MBR to restore.
    If this issue still persists please boot the computer from a Windows XP Installation CD, start Recovery Console and run fixmbr command.

    Of course, I don't have an installation CD as we have discussed previously on this thread. I have a recovery console, but I really wouldn't be sure exactly how to use it as a replacement for the installation CD, even if it can be done. All I know how to do on that is a full system override to get back to day one when the system was purchased.

    I think when we last corresponded (although you may have already been gone to the wilderness by my last post), I had gone back and successfully restored one of the older images that I am previously been unable to restore. Well since then I have played around with restoring some of these images again, and have gotten the original error messages.

    So, the first thing I tried to do was to just restore the MBR, per the Acronis e-mail. That didn't do anything. But somehow while pressing the enter key, (I'm not really sure what I did) I once again had the Hal .dll message, which I had not seen in quite a while.


    So the next thing I tried to do was to boot from the floppy drive, from which I ran editbini. I got a weird message this time showing two MBR's, one for the main drive and one for the recovery partition. I was unable to edit the recovery partition because I would immediately get a message "not a NTFS drive" -- since it is a fat 32 Drive. However, I did edit the main drive to show one partition instead of two. Just for the heck of it to see what would happen. And can you believe that for the first time, Windows at least attempted to start up. It would get to the blue Windows screen which says "Windows starting up", but unfortunately it would not get past that. I'd wait several minutes (maybe I should have just waited more) during which there was no apparent hard drive activity, and then I would shut down. I tried it once again (starting up) with the same result. So I shut down and went to the floppy drive once again, the one I made from boot disk for Win98 per your advice, and I ran FDISK /MBR, which I believe you had recommended I try running. And I did previously try it with no success. First I tried fixmbr, as per the advice from the Acronis e-mail -- meant to be used with my installation disk. It was a no go. Bad command. Then I tried FDISK /MBR. The computer booted right up! I think we had tried that in the past only to get a different set of error messages, but this time it worked!

    I just thought you'd like to know that. Maybe I had just typed the command in incorrectly previously, although I really don't think I did. But that would be a good explanation for why it didn't work previously. Although, (I'd have to look back through the posts to be sure) my memory is that it worked but gave me a different set of error messages -- and I would have just gotten "bad command" message if I had typed it in wrong. Anyway, the education continues.
    Bill
     
  20. pkintheroad

    pkintheroad Registered Member

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    The first, and only, time I did a restore from 9.0 I had a BLUE SCREEN after restore. It was a problem with the Boot.ini file.

    The problem was corrected using Method 2 in this Microsoft article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314477.

    I have now prepared a CD following the instructions in this post https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=55317 (page 3- 'Sometimes you need to fix Master Boot Record on your hard drive. We have two special utilities for this purpose.'). Supposedly this will easily fix the boot.ini file should I get a blue screen on restore again.

    Hope this helps
    Ken W.
     
  21. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Thanks, Ken. That info looks useful and I will look further into it.
    Bill
     
  22. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Bill,

    Questions that I can answer… There is no fdisk on a WinXP boot disk so you must use a Win98 boot disk. When you run editbini you will see two entries in the partition table as you have two partitions. The only partition with a boot.ini is your WinXP partition.

    On the positive side, you can now create and restore images. Why the old images didn’t restore most of the time, but did restore occasionally, is a mystery and I’d be inclined to let it go. We’ll probably never know the answer. Were the images corrupt? Did they pass an integrity check before you started the restore process?

    Does the following make sense? Use your 120 GB Seagate as your primary HD. Use the 250 GB SATA WD as the secondary HD. Write Acronis TI images of the Seagate HD to the SATA HD. Store the images there. I’d copy occasional images from the SATA HD to your external HD to cover the unlikely event of both internal HDs failing. Just use copy and paste. Don’t use TI to do this. If you ever need to restore your Operating System, then restore the image stored on the SATA HD to the Seagate HD.

    You could test this setup by using the 40 GB WD in place of the 120 GB Seagate.

    Let us know what happens.
     
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