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How do I convert an unknown file system to NTFS?

Posted on 2009-04-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Missing or corrupt hal.dll file.  System won't boot.  Can't correct with Repair console.  File system reported as unknown.  Need to convert unknown to NTFS.
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Question by:misd19
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18 Comments
 
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halejr1 earned 500 total points
ID: 24096717
Do you want to fix the old image or do you want to just completely wipe and reload?  When you ask how you convert -- this implies a wipe and reload, expecially if your current volume is "unrecognized".  

Can you elaborate a little on what caused this current condition?

If your looking to wipe and reload, simply boot to the install disk of Windows XP, and when the install finds the disk, format NTFS and proceed with standard install.

If you want to try to repair, boot to installation media and go through the following screens and on third on see if it offers you a "repair" at the bottom of the screen.  This process will simply reinstall windows over existing windows "refreshing" the OS and you will just have to run the updates again.  Everything will be back to normal.

Good luck...
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Expert Comment

by:michko
ID: 24096727
You need to fix the hal.dll issue.  The below link lists various reasons and fixes for this error, there are a few possiblities:

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/findbyerrormessage/a/missinghaldll.htm

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Author Comment

by:misd19
ID: 24096832
I need to save the Windows user profile, but I can't get to it with the file structure being changed to unknown.  I don't know why it happened that the hal.dll file became corrupted.  This has happened twice before as a result of users doing quite normal Windows activities and upon reboot, the error message.  I know I can't be the only one who has seen this: <Windows root>system32/hal.dll  Please reinstall a copy of the above file.  I have tried the restore console and the things Microsoft suggests.  With the file structure unknown, I can't pick the windows installation to correct because the C partition is not a choice.  Therefore, I need to convert the unknown file structure that is displayed when I boot to the XP disk to NTFS.
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Expert Comment

by:halejr1
ID: 24096902
When you boot to installation media and go through the standard install process as described above, what happens when you get to the screen that offers a repair... does it not detect the previous installation?  

Here is a link to a complete repair process from start to finish... I'm curious if your disk is located on a RAID controller or other disk controller that has since gone corrupt or is in early stages of imminent failure.  Give me some specifics as to what your hardware configuration is.

Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:misd19
ID: 24097431
When I get into the repair console, I am asked to chose which windows installation I would like to log into.  The only choice is D:\minint.  This is a notebook computer with one HDD.
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Expert Comment

by:dmarinenko
ID: 24097782
Usually when I see an unknown file system either linux was installed (by itself or dual boot) or else the drive is going bad.

Other things that could be an issue is it wants a driver, you can go to http://icrontic.com/downloads/slipstream_windows_xp_drivers and try that or get the exact ide or sata driver from dell.  Try hitting the F6 key during an install to add extra drivers and let it load it.  You will need an external floppy.

As a work around (and if you don't have a floppy) you can go into the Bios and try disabling any AHCI or RAID options.  It is probably under "Advanced Options"
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by:dmarinenko
ID: 24097800
I forgot to mention, I might go to the drive manufacturers website and get there drive test tool.  Or you can get the ultimate boot cd http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ and that should have them all there.  Some will allow you to do a low level format, if the file structure is really corrupt, not to mention tests to make sure your drive isn't bad.  
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by:halejr1
ID: 24097910
What is D:\Minint -- is D: your CD rom drive or is your hard disk set at D:?

Do you have any bootable tools the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows or anything like that?
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Expert Comment

by:halejr1
ID: 24097931
is this an SMS installation?
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Author Comment

by:misd19
ID: 24099225
I think the issue is that if I proceed with the installation of XP from the CD, I get to the screen where it wants to know which partition I want to use and logical drive C is an unknown file structure.  Therefore, when trying to run the repair console, it can't recognize that the C drive even has the XP OS installed on it, so it is not offered as an option for repair.
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Expert Comment

by:michko
ID: 24099282
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by:misd19
ID: 24099698
Michko:  Tried both of these with no success.  From the repair console, I tried to get a directory of the C drive and it could not.  I does not even know it has a C drive with windows on it so I don't think that anything that has to find the windows installation in order to fix it is going to work.
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Expert Comment

by:michko
ID: 24100094
Well, here is what I'll recommend at this point.  

Download and burn an UltimateBootCd as recommended above (www.ultimateboodcd.com).  Use the appropriate hard drive tool (based on hard drive manufacturer) and perform a scan of the drive.  If it comes back with bad sectors, try to repair.  If unable - you're looking at a bad hard drive and subsequent replacement.

If the drive scans okay, then use one of the File Tools to open the hard drive and see if it recognizes any files/partitions/etc.  If you can get to any files - copy them.

That's the good news.  The bad news - at this point, personally, I'd wipe and do a full, fresh install - your basic nuke and pave.  If there are irreplaceable files on the hard drive (hopefully you have a backup, so this isn't an issue), then purchase a new hard drive, do your fresh install on the new hd.  Once complete (including all Windows updates), you can hook the old drive up as a slave and see if Windows will recognize it.

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Expert Comment

by:dmarinenko
ID: 24101080
I get the feeling of deja vu LOL, thats what I would do also as mentioned previously.

One thing you could try before nuking everything is running ntfs4dos, I think you can download it independently or else it is on the ubcd.  This may get you into the file system where you can run a chkdskg command and scan for errors, or copy out crucial data.
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by:michko
ID: 24101421
dmarinenko - my apologies.  I had read your ubcd recommendation and meant to note as such in my comment.  Got pulled away from my desk, and forgot to add that when I returned.  I usually do a good job of noting and crediting other suggestions - I didn't miss yours on purpose.
michko
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by:dmarinenko
ID: 24101733
LOL, I was just  having fun with you.
I have made that mistake and misreading questions as well.  it happens when you do a quick login and are a work, so i definately know the feeling.  
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by:halejr1
ID: 24101771
MISD - Michko mentioned up above "download Ultimate Boot CD" -- I highly recommend this...

This will become invaluable for you as a support tool.
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Expert Comment

by:rocket_du
ID: 24104551
I think you should boot with windows xp cd and when the first text setup screen comes, press R to start the Recovery Console. The execute the command `fixmbr' and then `fixboot' (without quotes). Then restart the pc. if this doesn't solve, then start the recovery console again and run the `rebuild' command.
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