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unbootable hal.dll error

Posted on 2004-04-10
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I am getting a hal.dll corrupt/missing file error.  What I am not getting is the chance to do any repairs or to reboot using the CD.  The operating system never comes up, it only goes to the error on an empty screen.  I have changed the BIOS to allow me to reboot from the CDROM, but it still does not reboot from the disk.  I also have not been able to get to DOS to try to work with any of the files that way.  I have not done any extreme updates or changes in the last few months.  The last major change was to add a 160 hdd over six months ago.  

Thanks
Johnny Starrunner
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by:asylumsteve
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Does it let you boot from floppy instead of CDROM?

When u try to boot from CD, does it try to boot? or does it not get that far?
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by:JStarrunner
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I believe it will let me boot from a floppy, but I am not sure.
I think the startup disk is bad because it looks like it is starting to boot but reboots in seconds.
When I try to boot from the CD I get the same results it begans to boot and gives me the hal error.

I tried to change the BIOS, but I don't think it is doing any good, it looks like it is still trying to boot from the drive.
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by:Anton74
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First, did you change any settings in the BIOS regarding Power Management or ACPI? If so, try changing those back to exactly the way they were before the error came up. Enabling or disabling ACPI will cause Windows to stop working, requiring a reinstallation (or change the setting back), since it requires another Hardware Abstration Layer (HAL).

Second, if you can get your hands on a working Windows XP cd to get into the Recovery Console, this article seems to apply to the symptom you're describing: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;330184

Good luck.
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by:JStarrunner
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I did not change the Power Management or ACPI.  ACPI is set on S1(POS)

I do have a brand new Windows XP cd, but I still am not able to boot from it.  

How does running through BIOS resetting defaults sound to you all out there.

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by:asylumsteve
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Its worth a try, it wont do anything to harm your computer. There should be an option in BIOS for "update ESCD". set this to enabled, this will update the "Extended System Configuration Data" when your PC boots up. Worth a shot.

Post back when youve tried it, ill try and think of some other options.

Steve
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by:Anton74
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Resetting BIOS to default settings will probably do no harm, but I'm not sure it will help any either.

The first problem that needs to be tackled is that you still can't boot from a CD. Usually, aside from configuring the computer to boot from CD in BIOS, you have to press a key at the right time when the computer boots; a message akin to "Press any key to boot from CD" will typically be displayed for several seconds. Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious - just trying to make sure we're not missing anything.

On a side note, once the system is up and running again, the Recovery Console can actually be installed on the hard drive so it can be used without the cd: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;307654
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by:JStarrunner
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asylumsteve:  It took a while finding the ESCD to enable, but I found it and same results.

Anton74:  I was not able to find any message during bootup to boot from cd.  I even tried at different times just on the off chance that I would hit at the right time.  

sorry it takes so long to respond, but it takes about 10-15 minutes for these tries to cycle throught to the error point.
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by:Anton74
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Mmm. If we can't get it to boot from CD, another option is to create boot floppies and use those instead. They can be downloaded and created from scratch: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;310994

Is that a possibility?
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by:JStarrunner
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I will give it a try and let you know
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by:JStarrunner
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I tried, at least with this set of disks, I at least received a non-system disk error which is more than I had with the first set.

looked at the disk on this computer and they seemed ok, don't know what is causing the non-system disk error.

floppy drive is present in CMOS
BIOS shows first boot is floppy
files seem to look okay on floppy (from this computer)

next suggestions
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by:Anton74
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I'm now starting to think there's something wrong with this computer on the hardware level - or maybe a messed up BIOS. Have you used the floppy drive recently, when the computer was still working?

Again, probably redundant, but are you *sure* that the computer is configured to boot from floppy and CD *before* booting from the hard drive?

I don't have any sure-fire ideas, but 2 things come to mind. One is to open the case and double check the connectors to make sure nothing worked itself loose. Second, if you're up to it, you could try to update the BIOS. You'd have to determine EXACTLY what make and model motherboard you have, and then get and install the update in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. But, come to think of it, this will most certainly require a working floppy drive too.

How old is this computer? Can it handle the 160GB drive natively, or did this require a driver or utility of some sort that came with the drive?
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by:JStarrunner
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I have used the floppy drive on numerous occasions before this happened

I did have it configured floppy, cdrom, hdd

the computer is about 2 years old

I had to use a card in order for the total 160 to be seen, but there was no problem in setting it up and this was done about half a year ago with no problems.

I will check the connectors to see if that may be the problem.

updating the BIOS, scares me.  I will try all these and post again.

If I can't get this to work, would I be able to pull out the drive and transfer the data to another drive?? Not me personally but professionally??
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by:Anton74
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To answer your last question, yes, as long as the drive is not broken, the information could be transferred to another drive. But I don't see what that would solve, UNLESS the drive is indeed broken, in which case there may be a problem transferring the data.

The thing that keeps bothering me is that you have a perfectly good floppy drive, as well as a CD drive (also good I assume), but you can't get the computer to boot from either one. I can somehow imagine that adding another IDE controller card may throw the BIOS off, possibly preventing booting from the cd drive - although it should not. But then why wouldn't you be able to boot from a floppy?

Are there any settings in BIOS to disable onboard devices such as the IDE controller (whose functions could be taken over by the added IDE controller card) and such? Is anything inadvertently disabled?

To what controller is the CD drive connected?

What make and model is the added IDE controller card? Do you still have the documentation? Can you see any messages on the screen at boot time from this card, anything about going into its setup? I have one such card as well, and it had to be configured to boot from the correct drive.

Let's forget about updating the BIOS for now, but did you ever reset it to default settings? If so, did that make any difference?

Something else that may provide clues is to remove the hard drive and possibly the IDE card, and see if you can boot from floppy or CD then. Can you describe with some detail what happens at boot time?

This is really a case where I wish I had the computer in front of me, but of course that's not a possibility. I'll do what I can from here, and hopefully not cause you to have to do too much work...
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by:JStarrunner
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para1 - ok

para2 - two cd drives were good

para3 - there are two onboard IDE controller settings in the BIOS, both are enabled and below them are master and slave drive PIO and Ultra DMA settings set on AUTO, ATA100RAID IDE Controller is also set on enable.  Anything that is set to disable I do not know how they may affect the booting portion. The hdds are connected to IDE1

para4 - the first cd drive is connect to the motherboard, the second drive is daisy chained between the dvd to the motherboard

para5 - the added IDE controller card is a Promise Ultra100TX2.  After the first screen (memory check,etc), a screen comes up telling me that it detects the Ultra100TX2, IDE Bus Enabled.  The next message something to the fact (goes by to fast) that it recognizes ATA100RAID and I can't catch it fast enough.  Should I be disabling the ATA100RAID somehow?

para6 - I did reset to default settings during previous discussions, no difference

para7 - I can put it back to the original setup minus hdd and card, but would really want to do that as a last resort.  If this is the last resort we are at please let me know.
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by:Anton74
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We are not yet at a last resort. The IDE configuration you have is a complex one, and the suggestion to remove the hdd and controller card was to test if their presence somehow confused the BIOS, causing it to fail to boot from CD; I didn't intend to have you leave the drive out permanently, just to see if this makes a difference at all. If you'd rather not do this right now, that's perfectly ok.

Do I understand correctly that you have 2 CD drives plus a DVD drive, and 2 hdds?

For reference, here you can find drivers, BIOS, manual, etc. for the Ultra100TX/TX2: http://www.promise.com/support/download/download2_eng.asp?productId=11&category=All&os=0

I noticed by the way that this card could not originally support drives larger than 137GB without updating its BIOS. I'm sure that cards produced after a certain date already include this update though. If I were you, I'd check your BIOS version just to be sure, the latest one dated 05/06/2003 is 2.20.0.15. This release includes this description: "Fixed cannot detect some ATAPI devices". This may or may not apply to you. Note that this all refers to the BIOS on the Promise controller card, which is separate from your "main" BIOS, on the motherboard.

This is what I would suggest at this point:

1. Make sure that the Windows XP CD you have is in fact bootable, by testing it on another system.

2. Make sure that you're still set to boot from CD before hdd, then try to boot from the CD again, and if it fails try both CD drives as well as the DVD drive. If you do successfully boot from CD, but can't see 1 or more hdds, don't worry, just post the results and we'll get to that then.

3. If still unsuccessful, disable "ATA100RAID" and try step 2 again. This puzzles me a bit, I assume that your motherboard has RAID functionality built-in (this is combining several drives into 1 logical drive to achieve better performance or protection against data loss in the event of a drive failure, or both), which I assume you're not using. The motherboard may in fact be more modern than the Promise controller, but would need a BIOS update to be able to fully utilize the 160GB drive (don't worry, this is informational only, I'm not suggesting to do this at the moment).

If all this fails, I have more ideas, which I'll leave for later. In the meantime, can you describe what happens when the system fails to boot with the CD, if anything happens differently than if there were no CD in the drives at all? When you said "it takes about 10-15 minutes for these tries to cycle throught to the error point", does that mean the computer tries to read the cd for 10-15 minutes before it fails? If so, what's on the screen during that time?
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by:JStarrunner
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Here are some answers, while I try your suggestions, by the way I did test the cd to make sure that it was good.

yes, i have 2 CD drives plus a DVD drive, and 2 hdds.

The BIOS version I have is 2.0.0210.2, should I update to the newer version and if so how would I be able to do that without the floppy or cd?

during that 10-15 minute cycle, it doesn't look like the computer is trying to read from the cd, it actually looks more like it is trying to read from the hard-drive.  That is one of the reasons why I thought there was a problem with the BIOS not seeing the drives.  

You mentioned that the BIOS for the controller card is different from the normal BIOS, do I and how would I access that BIOS?

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by:Anton74
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This sounds like bad news I'm afraid. If the BIOS is trying to access a hdd for 10-15 minutes, I think the strongest possibility is that one of the hard drives has gone bad, or possibly is badly connected (did you check for loose connections?).

To determine that for sure, I strongly suggest to disconnect the hdd's, only 1 at a time so you can tell which one is bad (leave the controller card in place), and see if that will allow you to normally boot from CD, or if it will at least elimitate the 10-15 minute delay.

The Promise BIOS version suggests a Western Digital branded version of this Ultra100TX2 card, is that correct? I could not find anything in the manual about accessing Promise BIOS for configuration, it's probably not possible because there's nothing to configure. If it is, there should be a message at boot time of some kind indicating that. There's no need to update this BIOS, and as you already figured out, it would not have been possible as long as you can't boot.
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by:JStarrunner
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I did check for loose connections, none there.

that is correct on the Ultra100TX2 card.

I was finally able to read one of the messages that scrolled quickly by at the end.  this was after the ATA100RAID controller screen.

"Boot from ... ATAPI CDROM ... failure"

I will go on and try to work on booting from individual hdd
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by:JStarrunner
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okay we have something different happening now

I unhooked the 160 drive and tried to boot with just the first drive, the same thing happened with the hdd, floppy, and cdrom

I unhooked the first drive and connected the 160, with no floppy and cdrom.  The Ultra BIOS recognized the drive, but it stopped at the last screen

"Verifying DMI Pool Data .................
Boot from ATAPI CD-ROM : Failure ....
Boot from ATAPI CD-ROM : Failure ....  "

only it stopped there and did not continue as it normally does.

Should I try using the floppy now?  The OS was on the first drive will that matter?  I will wait for your comments
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by:Anton74
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So with the 160 unhooked you still ran into this 10-15 minute delay, but not with the first drive unhooked? If that is correct, this first drive seems to be causing the problems and has possibly gone south.

When you say the computer stopped after the "Boot from ATAPI CD-ROM : Failure ...." messages, do you mean that the computer just froze, with no other sounds or messages? It didn't say something to the effect of "Non-system disk or disk error"?

When you connect everything but that drive, can you then boot from anything, CD or floppy? Remember you may have to try both CD drives as well as the DVD drive. Also keep in mind that if you move drives to other positions on the cables or controllers, their jumper settings (master/slave) may have to be changed accordingly. If there's no reason to move anything, plug everything in exactly the way it was for now, except that one drive.
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by:JStarrunner
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It did not freeze, it just stopped as if it were waiting for another command.  I assumed that since there is no OS on this hdd that it just did not go any further.  Just a flashing prompt/cursor.

there was no system disk error, but that is probably because I did not attempt to boot it with either the cd or floppy, since I wasn't sure it would be effective without an OS.  I believe I will have to check the jumper to see what it should be, since technically it was my slave drive, but I believe it will be able to stay in the same position according to Western Digital.  

Are you saying you want me to attempt to place the OS on the 160 hard drive and make the other my slave?  

Or will the first drive just be totally gone and I lose all applications and data that was on there?
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by:Anton74
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I do think the first drive may very well be a goner, although it may be possible to rescue data off of it. And yes, the OS could be installed on the 160. It may even work better if this is the newer and faster drive.

But before we worry about that, I'd like to see the computer boot successfully from CD. If that works, I think the best course of action would be to install Windows on the 160, which can be done without affecting the existing data on that drive - just don't erase or format any partitions during installation!

Just to be sure, I would set the jumpers on all the drives the way they ought to be set because incorrect settings could very well cause grief. Usually hdd's are configured for stand-alone or master operation by default. The position on the cable determines whether they're master or slave; the connector at the end connects the master, and the middle one if it exists is the slave connector. The Cable Select setting is meant to configure the drive automatically according to its position on the cable; however this is usually not recommended as it is problem prone, but I can't speak from experience on this.
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by:JStarrunner
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sorry, been gone a couple of days.  I am in the process of trying to switch drives.  I must have a loose connector or unseated something because all it does it beep right now when I turn the power on.  As soon as I get the computer going, I will try to see if I can reboot with the cd.
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by:JStarrunner
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okay finally got hdds in and set, same errors, not able to reboot from floppy or cd
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by:Anton74
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Did you put both of the hdd's back? The idea was to leave out the 1st hdd as it seems to be causing the problems we're running into.

Or did I misunderstand??
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by:JStarrunner
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okay anton74 I was finally able to read from the cd.  I have the option of recovery or installation.  My question is which should I do?  the 160 is now set up to be the master and the other the slave.  If I do an installation will I love everything that I previously had? and, will I be able to access the slave even if there is another OS on that drive?
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by:JStarrunner
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I did try them individually and then went back to trying it with both.  After putting them both back, I started to alternate the different ways to boot on the BIOS.  The second time around I changed the lineup of boot from LS120, cdrom, and then hdd.  When I did this everything started to work once again, with the hdd flipped.  Now I am sitting at the installation blue screen.  I have no idea what happened, just happy that I am at a somewhat controlled point to where we can do something.
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by:Anton74
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Ok, this is good. We are now at a point where we can proceed with the (re)installation or repair of Windows.

Is my understanding still correct that you can boot now from CD with the hdd's swapped, but NOT with the hdd's in their original locations?

I think we could attempt to repair the existing installation first, before proceeding with a reinstallation, although normally this would be done with the boot drive in its original position. This may or may not work, especially since there's a good chance that the drive is no longer working properly, but it doesn't hurt to try it at this point.

A reinstallation on the 160 would require the reinstallation of Windows, then Service Pack 1 if applicable, and all applicable critical (and other) updates, as well as all applications you had installed. Your data can be transferred or accessed directly from the other drive, provided it is still working. Doing all this will not affect existing data on either drive - just make sure you do not delete or format any existing partitions during installation.

When you go into the Recovery Console, does it list your original Windows installation on the former primary drive? If so, you can go ahead and attempt the instructions in this KB article as I had originally posted to try and repair this installation: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;330184

Afterwards, you may have to swap the drives again to their original positions in order to be able to boot from the Windows hdd, but try it as it is now first.

I've got my fingers crossed, I'll wait on your next response and then we can take it from there. At least we're getting somewhere now!
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by:JStarrunner
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when I go into the recovery console, I do not get my original installation.  The 160 drive is what I can see.  I tried to change directories into to the other drive, but I am not sure what drive it is.  

Should I just switch the drives again and then try to go into the recovery console using the original drive?
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by:JStarrunner
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okay I found the original drive, it appears to have forced it to be my D:

when I attpempted to dir the drive, I got the following errror.  

an error occurred during directory enumeration
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by:Anton74
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Yes, their drive letters will have changed because the drives have been swapped.

You can try and switch the drives again and see if you can still get into Recovery Console (be sure to adjust the jumpers on the drives again).

Thinking back now, it appears that either that drive is bad, or you have an LS120 drive, and the BIOS was thrown off because you attempted to let it boot from a "regular" floppy drive before, which didn't exist. Considering that suddenly things are working since you've made that change in the BIOS with the LS120 drive, the latter seems a strong possibility. Can you confirm that your "floppy" drive is really an LS120 drive?

If booting with the drives in their original positition will still not work at all, I see no other alternative but to create a new installation from scratch on the 160 drive with this drive in the current (swapped) position as master.
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by:JStarrunner
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I don't know how to confirm it except to say that it did work when i switched it from floppy to LS120 in the BIOS.  

I will switch the drives again and try to recover using the url you gave me.

If it does not work then I will go to the new configuration and do a new installation

This will probably take the rest of the night, so I will post as soon as I finish.  Keep your fingers crossed.
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by:JStarrunner
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hope you are still there.  After switching the drives to their orginal positions.  I was able to get into recovery portion.

I was given an error at the bootcfg /rebuild, I was then prompted to use chkdsk to look for errors.

I used chkdsk it came back with volume appearing to be in good condition.

I then used chkdsk /r and it came back with one or more unrecoverable errors.

Where to now?
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by:Anton74
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Can you remember the exact error message that "bootcfg /rebuild" gave you?

Was there a more exact description of the "unrecoverable errors"?
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by:JStarrunner
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When I did the /rebuild this is what I got:

Failed to successfully scan disks for window installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system, which would prevent Bootcfg from successfully scanning.  Use chkdsk to detect any disk errors.  

Note:  this operation must complete successfully in order for the /add or /rebuild  commands to be utilized.

When I did the chkdsk /r this is the result:

The volume serial is 0000-0000

The volume seems to contain one or more unrecoverable problems.
10344 kb total disk spaces
6864   kb are available

4096   bytes in each allocation unit
2586   total allocation units on disk
1716   allocation units available on disk
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I forgot to ask, is this an NTFS or FAT32 volume?

The problem appears to be serious corruption of this volume, whether or not the drive is bad I'm not sure of anymore. It would have been helpful if the error message would have said what the "one or more unrecoverable problems" are in more detail. Do you know the exact make and model number of this drive?

When you are in Recovery Console, does the output of "type c:\boot.ini" look like this:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

In fact, would it be possible to post the contents of boot.ini verbatim? The bootcfg commands are meant to modify or correct the boot.ini file, but we can do that manually as well.

Also, when you do "dir %systemroot%\system32\hal.dll", does it list the hal.dll file, or does it say "File not found"? If it's there, what's the date and time listed, and its file size?

In the mean time, I'll have to think about the apparent corruption on the disk and what to do about that. But it's about midnight now, so I'm going to have to sign off for today and check back in tomorrow.
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by:JStarrunner
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This is an NTFS volume.  I can find out the exact make and model number for the drive, but  I would have to bring it down and pull it out.  

when I did "type c:\boot.ini"  the response was the following

The system could not find the file or directory specified

When I do "dir %systemroot%\system32\hal.dll"  I also get

The system could not find the file or directory specified
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by:Anton74
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The "could not find the file or directory specified" message do not inspire much hope I'm afraid.

Can you see any files whatsoever, try for example "dir %systemroot%"?

I was asking about the make and model of the drive so that we could see if the manufacturer has a utility to diagnose the drive, because this sounds like serious corruption which could in turn indicate the drive going bad as I thought before. If the drive is damaged beyond repair there's not much use in trying to work on repairing the existing installation. On the other hand, if the drive is confirmed to be in good working order, we can proceed on that premise.
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no cannot see any files when I "dir %systemroot%"

IBM Deskstar  Sep 2000

Model:  DTLA-307030  ATA/IDE
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by:Anton74
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There is a "Drive Fitness Test" utility, which can determine if the drive is bad or not, and supposedly can even tell you if it will fail soon. It can be downloaded here: http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm

Note that this is a Hitachi web site, which has joined their hard drive operations with IBM.

There is a link to download a "Windows diskette creator" which will create a bootable floppy disk with this program on it. Now let's cross our fingers and hope you can boot from floppy...

If you can run that program and post what the results are, that would hopefully be most enlightening. Initially only run non-desctructive tests so that any data that's still on the drive will not be destroyed. I have not used this program before myself, so I can't tell you exactly how it works, but it should be menu-driven. Just post if there are any problems.
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by:JStarrunner
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I could not boot from the floppy, I will download to a cd and see if I can boot that way
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by:Anton74
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That should work, if you are able to create a bootable CD.

Alternatively, if the floppy drive is usable, you could boot from the Windows XP CD, then just run the program from the floppy.
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by:JStarrunner
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no, it will only allow me to download to a floppy.

Don't know why I still can't boot from floppy/ls120, unless it is looking for an LS120 disk which I do not have.
that may make sense I can read and download to a floppy from an LS120, but not boot from a normal floppy disk using LS120.
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Ok, but once you create the floppy with the Drive Fitness Test utility on it, couldn't you boot from the Windows XP CD into the Recovery Console, then go to A: and run the program?

You can also create a bootable CD yourself, using the actual floppy image that was also available for download below the "Windows diskette creator". Do you have any burning software available that can do that?

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by:JStarrunner
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okay, I'm a little slow.  I will try the first and then the second.  I will post you in a few
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I was able to copy it down to a cd, but I cannot run it.  

I can see it using the recovery console, but when I try to run it, I get an MZ? and then my prompt back.  

So have you passed the frustration point yet??
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how close are you to telling me to reistall the OS?
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I'm still good, I do this for fun after all... :)

What the "best" thing to do is for now, depends on what you want. If you'd rather not try to restore the 30GB drive's contents right now, just let me know. Quite honestly since you couldn't see any files whatsoever in the Windows directory, I think a reinstallation will be nearly inevitable. I was trying to see if the drive itself is still viable, in case you need to try and save any data off of it.

The fastest, surest way to get a running system right now is probably a new installation on the 160GB drive (make it the master drive in that case), and worry afterwards about saving any data off the 30GB drive. You'd just have to reinstall everything, OS, patches, applications, etc.

If you still want to get the Drive Fitness program to work: How did you copy the program to CD? I think you may have to actually create a bootable CD with the floppy image provided. It may be easiest to first create the floppy as you have already done, then provide that floppy as the boot image for the CD. That's the easiest way it seems with Nero 6 anyway (You have to choose ->Bootable<- CD-ROM or Data CD). What burning software do you have?
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I would like to try and same that data.  If we do that I would like to replace the bad hdd with another and leave the 160 as a backup storage drive as I have been using it, but that is for later.

the program was too large for one disk, so I saved it to two.

This was giving me problems trying to save it to disk, so I copied the file to desktop and them copied to a cd.

I am using another computer so I am not sure what software I am using, I believe it is roxio.

I use nero, so I am not familiar with the roxio software, so I am not sure how to create a bootable disk with this software.  I will look to see if I can figure it out.

If you have any ideas pass them on.  
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If it doesn't fit on one disk, something's wrong. It's supposed to be an image of a 1.44MB floppy, and should be that exact size, no more, no less. The Windows diskette creator I had you download, must be run, and will then create the boot disk for you if you provide a blank (?) disk for it.

Let me see if I can figure out how to do this with Roxio's software, I'll post back in a minute.
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Oh I forgot, I don't have it on this particular computer. What program/version is it exactly? I'll try to find information on their website.
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maybe I downloaded the wrong file, I will go back to the site and check again
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Roxio Disc Copier
ver 5.4.3.21
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it looks like I did copy the wrong file, I am retrying

sorry its been a long day
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No problem, I understand, believe me!

Anyway, if you didn't have the right one before, that's probably the reason you couldn't boot from it, or run it from Recovery Console, so those 2 things are probably the easiest to try first.
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I do see a difference in the files now, the first was and executable and the second was an image file.

I tried to copy the image file to a floppy, but it is still to big 1,474,560.
slightly over the 1.44 allowed, so I will copy it to desk top and then to cd and try it that way.
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the image file did not work either
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No, you can't copy an image file, it has to be written by a special program. The first one, the executable, does just that, it writes the image to a floppy (the image file is included in the executable, so you don't need both).
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time to crash, no pun intended, we can pick this up tomorrow.
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are you saying to execute it on this computer so that it will write to a floppy?
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Yes, exactly that. It's kind of like an installer type program, and at one point will ask you to insert the floppy and then will write the image to it.

And indeed, it's midnight here again, so I'll be signing off too.
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okay I ran the program from the a drive and this is what I got back

ECHO OFF
PATH=A : DOS;A:\DFT;A;\A
KEYB US,,A:\DOS\KEYBOARD.SYS
MOUSE

ECHO Loading DFT ...
cd DFT
LOADDFT.EXE  DFT-V300.EXE  DFT.EXE  /PSR  >NUL

then I got the c: prompt back
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Since it's made as a boot disk, I don't think it will run unless you boot from that floppy. Or, first boot into the Reovery Console, then run the program on the floppy (the easiest way is to run "autoexec.bat" which will in turn run it with the appropriate parameters).

The reason for this is very likely that the program needs sole control of the drive to test it properly, which it won't be able to get in a running Windows environment.
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okay my previous comment was when I ran the autoexec.bat file and that was the response that  I got
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i used "type a:\autoexec.bat" was that correct?
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No, the type command will only display the contents of the autoexec.bat file, it will not run it.

Just type

  a:

Then:

  autoexec.bat

I'm not sure if the disk would've loaded any drivers that are necessary, but let's just try it this way first.
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it tells me that the command is not recognized
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Was there activity of the floppy drive after the A: command? If not, try the same thing, but instead use B:

Is this a puzzle or what...
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I am in the right drive (a:) because when I do a dir command I see all the files.  When I type "autoexec.bat"  there is no activity with the drive, I get the "command not recognized" immediately.
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should I just try to manually do what the batch file is asking for?

cd dft

and then run the appropriated executables?
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Yes, by all means try that. This is very strange though, it's hard to imagine that such a major company would make something broken like that.

Actually, I just thought of something; after doing "a:", run "\autoexec.bat" (starting with a backslash) instead, and see if that works; otherwise do what you proposed.
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i was able to cd, but not to run the executables.  

something I was able to find out though, I did a map command and the old drive is fat16 and the 160 is ntfs

I don't know if that is going to change what you have been telling me, but I willing take the blame for not assuming both were ntfs.
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The FAT16 vs. NTFS has not made a difference with what we've done so far, but it would play a role in recovery attempts.

Now what is going on when you try to run this DFT program exactly? Can you see the executable, but not run it? What happens, any error messages?

Also, have you tried to just boot directly from the floppy again, since it probably failed last time because the floppy wasn't prepared correctly?
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when I try to boot it from just the floppy i get a cd-rom failure and it says it cannot find the NTLDR file.  When I put the cd back in it will boot and I can get back into the recovery console.

I can see the executable, but when I try to run it I get command line not executable.

I did notice that when I ran the batch file one of the commnands within was to cd to DFT, which it does, but I get teh command not executable when it tries to run those exe files that follow the cd command.

another thing is that when I try to manually run those executables there is no visible reaction on the A: drive.  
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Looks like we're back at the point of trying to create the bootable CD using the DFT floppy as a "boot image".

Since you said something about "Roxio Disc Copier" I'm assuming you have Roxio Easy CD Creator 5, part of which is Disc Copier. Borrowing from http://www.storagepipeline.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=12800016&pgno=3, this is the procedure to create the CD. I'm not sure if this is for the same version you have, so there may be differences. I've inserted comments between square brackets [].

===
Place your boot floppy [the DFT floppy] in the A: drive and put a blank CD in your CD burner. If Roxio opens a "wizard" dialog, cancel it. Open "Creator Classic," [or Easy CD Creator from the Start menu] either directly or through the general Roxio control panel.

Next, choose File/New Project/Bootable Disc. The "Choose Type of Bootable Disc" dialog box will appear; select "Floppy Disk Emulation (1.44 MB)." Next, in the same dialog box's "Emulation Option" section, select "Generate Image from Floppy." Click OK. Follow any on-screen instructions that may appear.

Next, in the "Project" pane, right click in the area below the "bootimg.bin" file, and select "New Folder" from the context menu. The Project pane will appear to go blank: It's showing you the contents of the new, empty folder you just created.

In the "Select Source" pane, navigate to your collection of diagnostic/repair utilities and drag them into the empty new folder in the Project pane. You can add as many files as you like, up to the capacity of the CD. Just make sure they're going into the new folder, and not alongside the "bootimg.bin" file. [You do not actually need additional files to go on the CD; it may be necessary to just add 1 file as a "placeholder" of sorts to get to the next step]

...

When you're ready, click File/Record Disc, and you're done.
===

When this is done successfully, you ought to be able to boot from the CD and it will work exactly as if you were booting from the original floppy. When you get in the DFT program, all you need to run initially is a "Quick Test"; do not attempt corrupt sector recovery should it come up. We just want to know if the drive is good or not - please post the results as precise as possible!

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one question, you say navigate to my collection of diagnostic/repair utilities, what and where are these utilities?

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I am going to hope you only wanted a random file at this point.

I was able to boot and I have a screen with the following options

1) scsi and ata support
2) ata support only

I will go ahead and try number 1
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hmm.... must of lost that last post
the next screen

1)  Adaptec, Buslogic, DPT and INITIO Controllers

2) Advansys Controllers

3) Tekram and Symbios Controllers
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running quick test now
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Ah! Very good, it's working now. Yes, I meant just a random file. The guide I quoted from is about creating a Rescue CD, that's why it referred to diagnostic/repair utilities.

A complete guide of the program can be found here: http://www.hitachigst.com/downloads/dft32userguide.pdf

To cut things short, here's a quick synopsis:

Choose option 2. ATA support only - the questions that you saw are about SCSI controllers which we're not dealing with, and which you don't have I presume.

Then a screen comes up with the End User License, which you'll have to agree to.

Next, a screen comes up listing the drives it finds, asking you if the list is complete. I'm assuming no problems here, so say Y if this is indeed the case.

Now the main menu will come up, where you select the drive in question from the list, and then select Quick Test. You should select the drive by its model number which you gave me earlier: DTLA-307030

If the Quick Test completes successfully, the drive is good. If not, please post the results.

Do NOT at this point attempt run "Erase Disk" or "Sector Repait" should it come up as this will likely result in additional data loss.
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your not going to believe this, I just got a "critical error (unknown command) on drive A"  
 
I am hoping that it is that extra folder that I created.

It ran for quite awhile, before coming up with this error

I was given two options retry and cancel

I tried retry and the same error came up, you think I should not have put that extra folder in there?

anyway I hit cancel and I did get a test results page saying "one or more corrupted sectors found"

I was also given three options erase disk, sector repair and return

I am guessing you want me to return, but I will wait here till your next post
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Yes, do "Return" for now

...
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okay next screen gives me my serial number

failure code : 0x70 - Defective Device

Test date :  

Technical Result Code (TRC)  700078DB
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...

There is damage to the structure on the drive, but this is not definitive evidence whether the drive is itself defective or not. When you try "Erase Disk" or "Sector Repair" and this problem persists, that means that the drive is bad. But when you do "Erase Disk" everything on the disk will be permanently deleted, and when you do "Sector Repair", the information in the sectors that are attempted to be repaired will also be lost, possibly resulting in additional data loss.

I'm thinking that for now, we should probably set up a new installation on the 160GB drive, and when that is up and running, I'd start looking into data recovery, but it sounds like that could be very difficult and possibly cost some money in the form of software or (very expensive) professional data recovery services.

So let me know what you think, it's hard for me to judge how important the data is to you.
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and I am back to the beginning of the Quick Test option
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Failure code 0x70 is defined as:

Corrupted Sector.
A general hard disk drive problem was detected. You can run the "Erase Disk" utility. If a subsequent test fails again, the drive is defective and should be replaced.

So, before doing anything else on THIS drive, data recovery should be attempted if you choose to persue that.
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I've got to go for a while, may not be back until tomorrow.
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most definitely, I want to save as much data as I will be able to
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Should I go back then and go ahead and do a reinstall?

You will probably answer this tomorrow, so I should get your answer by the time I get home.

if I don't see an answer, I will wait in case you have some plan you wish to try.
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Well reinstalling may not be the answer either, it looks like in order to reinstall I wll have to reformat the disk.

It says there is not enough free space to install
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If I install the OS on the 160 will I be able to see into the original drive to download existing data?
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Anything that would involve writing to the 30GB drive, such as Sector Repair in that DFT program, or formatting or reinstalling Windows would pose a very high risk for additional data loss.

Hopefully we'll be able to get data off the 30GB later, but for now you can only use the 160GB safely for a new installation.

I would make it the master drive again, then just put a new installation on the 160. If possible, avoid connecting the system to the internet until you're either fully patched with all critical updates, or have a firewall up and running, or both. If you're on a local network and not directly connected to the internet, you're RELATIVELY safe. Either way, make sure you do get all those pesky updates again.

Let me know if there's any difficulties.
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okay what will I have to do when I am finished installing the Os in order to get that data back?
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That depends, it may not be easy at all. First thing I'd do is to just hook up the drive, and see what's visible off the bat, and copy that ASAP to the good drive.

Let me know if more is needed afterwards.
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I am having some seriously horrible luck,  the installation process is in the finalization stage.

It says that it will complete in 1 minute and is removing any temporary files used only it has been on this screen for about 30 minutes.

it does seem to be working and not locked up so hopefully it will finish soon.

I don't know if I will laugh or cry if this installation fails.
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yea, I think I'm hosed
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Hmm. Is there hard drive activity going on at all? If you just reboot the system, it should resume installation from an earlier point near the beginning.
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there's activity going on but it looks like it is just scrolling through the informtion windows ==>  music just got better with windows, now you can use microsoft window for photos, etc.


If I reboot, should it be fromt the reset button or a hard power boot?
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Does the hard drive LED show any activity at all? The activity you describe sounds like something may still be happening, although it should not be stuck at that point for so long. But when I've seen installations get stuck, I've not seen activity like you describe continue, so who knows.

If you decide to reboot, use the gentlest method first. I don't believe ctrl-alt-del will be effective during installation, so the next best thing is the reset button.
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the hard drive LED dows show activity, it just the fact that it has been in the same place for so long.  I will go ahead and reboot.
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this is turing out to be a really frustrating process, I got fatal errors, I tried the repair it offered, but it did not work.

I will atttempt to delete the partition and restart the whole process.

However, I am going to quit for the night and start this over saturday morning

I bet you never believed my one question would turn out to be such a tremendous problem.  

All this for 500 measly points, it should be worth a couple thousand.
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okay, I have windows now, but it does not seem to be running correctly or perhaps I mean completely.

after bringing it up, the first message error box I get is the following

"rundll32.exe -  unable to locate component"

the text in the box says:

"the application has failed to start because framedyn.dll was not found.  Re-installing the application may fix the problem"

I tried reinstalling using the cd from an explorer window, but it does not seem to fix the problem
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And this was immediately after installation? Have you installed SP1 yet if applicable and other updates?

Does this help: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;319114
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You know I'm beginning to think that too many errors occur, and something else is broken, like a memory module.

How much memory do you have, and  how many RAM modules? Is there another computer that you could borrow memory from?

If possible, I'd try another re-installation like you did the second time - just pop in the Windows XP CD while already in Windows, and choose Upgrade, with 1 RAM module removed or replaced. If there's more than 1 module, you'd have to repeat with each one until these problems go away, or until you've swapped them all. And it may not turn out to be bad RAM after all.

Also, is the computer located in a place that allows proper airflow for cooling?
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yes, there is enough airflow.

I have not installed any updates.

I will try to upgrade and then try the RAM module theory and see what that does
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okay I am up and running.

I used windows and a command window to try to see what was in the old drive and there was only a temp directory
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Did you find out what caused the error earlier?

How much free space do you have on the 160, is it enough to create an image of the 30GB drive, possibly compressed?
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No, I don't know what the error was, I was running through the memory liked we talked and in one of the re-install it just installed completely and without errors.   I guess it was just being tempermental.

I do have enough memory to create an image if need be, is this going to be a secret backdoor to retrieving those files even though I cannot see them?
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by the way, I don't plan on using the old (bad) drive again.  I bought another hard drive (120) that I placed the OS on.  This way I could keep the 160 as my main storage drive.

right now the 120 is acting as my master and the bad (old) drive is the slave for the purposes of possibly saving any old infomration.

Once (if any) old dir and files are saved I will remove the old drive and replace it with the 160 in the slave slot.
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When you say you were running through the memory when you successfully did a reinstall, were any of the original memory modules removed from the computer at that time? If so, the module(s) is/are suspect.

I'd like to create an image of the drive to safeguard against unintended data loss as a result of recovery attempts. If one approach doesn't work, it's possible to start over from scratch.

I have to be honest: I'm winging this a bit, I don't have much direct experience with recovering a bad hard drive. This is probably not going to be easy in the first place, especially since we're doing this via EE instead of "live" at the computer itself. My plan at the moment is to find appropriate software to facilitate this if possible.

A list of free utilities can be found here: http://www.s2services.com/freeware.htm

I think to start I'd use Restorer2000, which isn't free, but you can download a free evaluation version. Create an image of the drive, then see what you can get from that. http://www.restorer2000.com/

Avoid writing to the drive in any way; preferably work on the image. It may even be advisable to make a copy of the drive image, then you could always go back to square 1 even if the image is modified.

By the way, when all is said and done, it may be that the drive is not physically bad and can be made functional again with the DFT utility ("Erase Disk"). Either way, I wouldn't trust any important data to it any time soon. It could still be useful to hold the swap file if the drive is sufficiently fast compared to your other drives, and/or temporary files; this can help system performance.
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as far as the modules they were all in the final time I tried.  

okay, I will start the process.

I will be honest at this point I am almost willing just to go back and reinstall all the lost applications that I lost and start over from scratch, but I will at least give this the proverbial try.

I am going to install nortons and then start



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Applications can't really be restored in this manner - even if you are able to copy all the files for a particular application, it wouldn't work if you just put them on the new drive. The application will not really be installed; this typically involves numerous registry entries, library and configuration files etc. that may be in multiple locations throughout the system, registering components, etc.

If you have access to the original installation media, it will be far, far easier to just reinstall them.

The only thing that would be worthwhile to try and recover is documents and data that you created through your own efforts such as office documents, pictures, bookkeeping and/or tax data, etc., that cannot otherwise be restored.

One thing that would have a shot is if you can run chkdsk or another utility and successfully fix any damage to the drive so that that can become your system disk again. If that works, the entire contents of the drive could then be transferred to the new drive, in effect porting the entire old installation including applications etc. Considering the extent of the damage, I do not think there's much of a chance of success at this, but if you want to try (after creating an image of the drive), you can run "chkdsk /r <drive>" to give that a shot.

If there is no such personal data loss because it was all on the 160 drive, I would just make an image of the drive just to be on the safe side, and then see if the drive can be revived (which will erase everything on it permanently).

By the way, since you have 2 hard drives, it would be a good idea and fairly painlessly to backup all the important data onto the other drive. With the right software, this can be set up to happen automatically at a set schedule. Of course, better yet would be to make regular backups on external media in case the whole computer gets destroyed. This takes a certain amount of discipline, and I have to admit I don't do this either, but I will start doing this because I'm still kicking myself for losing hundreds of family photo's etc. last year that were not backed up, when a hard drive failed. The drive was only 7 months old at the time, and still under warranty, but the warrantly never extends beyond replacement of the drive.
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Well that cleared up a lot and it makes my decision a little easier.  

I did keep back up files on cds and on the 160, I just thought that it would be an easy way to bring back the applications themselves.  Now that I know that it would not do any good, I will just reload the applications and use the back up files to restore lost data to the last backup (even though that was a while ago, better some than none) and try to keep more regular back ups.

Thanks for all the help I really appreciate it.

Johnny Starrunner

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I'm glad we got this worked out! So everything's good now?

Do you think we set a record for longest thread on EE?   :-D

Let me know if there's anything else I can do.

Good luck, and thanks for the points.

Anton
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