How to restore MBR?

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by Dash_Riprock, Mar 24, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Dash_Riprock

    Dash_Riprock Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Posts:
    2
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Hi,

    Please bear with my newbie like questions because I'm trying to help my father fix his computer and don't have any prior exposure to Acronis. He has Windows XP and Fedora 7 installed on his PC and was using the Acronis boot manager to dual boot. He has had a couple of instances where the MBR has been corrupted and when he tried to start his machine it complains about a missing or corrupted .../system32/hal.dll.

    The first time this problem happened I helped him restore his MBR by booting with the Acronis Bootable Restore CD he had made. We chose the Update/Repair option but stopped after it got to the screen that asked if we were ready to copy files. We rebooted and every thing was good, although I'm not exactly sure why. Since everything was back to normal I stopped there and did not pursue it any further.

    Just yesterday he had the same thing happen again. Since this is a recurring problem it seems necessary to look into some of the issues more closely. The questions I have are:

    1. Where is this reference to .../system32/hal.dll coming from? My conjecture is that Acronis has rearranged the partitions and the Acronis boot manager knows where the right boot address is, but Microsoft somehow or another wiped out the Acronis boot loader and put their own boot loader in its place which is now trying to boot the old pre-Acronis boot address.

    2. Does it make sense that when I restore, using the Acronis restore disk, that I use the Update/Repair option? Also, why was it enough to just run until it reached the screen where it says that it is now ready to copy files? Again, I will toss out my conjecture. I think that this is because the first step taken is to repair the MBR. Once the MBR is correct, which is all we care about, it then is ready to do a complete restore of the rest of the disk which we do not need to do. If my conjecture is correct, is there an easier way to restore the MBR? I think we tried the activate option first but it did not work, although I'm not 100% sure of that.

    Thanks for reading and considering my problem,
    Bill Collier
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Posts:
    2,591
    Location:
    State College, Pennsylvania
    Bill:

    The error message is produced by Windows when it boots. So, if you are seeing this message then you can be certain that there is nothing wrong with your MBR. It has completed its task and passed control to the Windows boot loader (ntldr).

    Here are a couple of articles describing this error message. A common theme in both of them is an error in the boot.ini file.

    Microsoft KB 314447
    Kelly's Korner

    I'm at a loss to explain why your "repair" procedure with DD is working. But I think you can safely conclude that the MBR is OK.
     
  3. Dash_Riprock

    Dash_Riprock Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Posts:
    2
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Mark,

    Thanks for the reply. I somewhat surprised by that. Before, when things were working, the Acronis splash page would come up after a reboot and allow the selection of Windows or Fedora. Now it never gets to the Acronis OS splash page and it attempts to boot Windows without any user prompting. That is why I suspected that something corrupted the MBR and replacing the Acronis OS selector with some different boot loader.

    Bill
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Posts:
    2,591
    Location:
    State College, Pennsylvania
    Bill:

    My apologies. I missed the fact that Acronis OSS splash screen would not appear. I'm not very well-versed on OSS but we do have a resident expert on the forum (MudCrab). If OSS gets somehow corrupted I do know that it can be fixed by choosing to activate with the boot CD, but I'm not sure of the underlying cause of it getting de-activated.
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Posts:
    6,483
    Location:
    California
    Bill,

    You will have to reactivate OSS to get the OSS MBR restored.

    Do you know how Fedora was installed?

    Is it using GRUB or LILO or something else?

    Do you know if GRUB/LILO is installed into the MBR or the Linux partition?

    Something seems to be rewriting the MBR and leaving the system in a state that Windows isn't expecting (wrong partition Active, for example).

    Do you know if it happens after a kernel update in Fedora? You might try to pay attention to anything that happens right before the problem appears.

    After you reactivate OSS, do Windows and Fedora boot okay?

    You might also check if the computer's BIOS has an option that will block Hard Drive MBR writes (Virus Protection, Boot Protection, etc.). This may prevent unwanted MBR changes, but will also have to be disabled when changes need to be made.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.