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HP PAVILION STARTS UP in RESTORE PARTITION

I'm operating an HP a630n with pre installed WindowsXP Home.  The computer starts up from shutdown in the D partition {HP reinstall] which I have to quit after it loads before Windows starts up.

The issue arises only during an initial startup from shutdown.

It doesn't occur when I restart.

Appreciate your help.

FinestKind
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Finestkind
Asked:
Finestkind
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1 Solution
 
biolgbCommented:
The active partition has been changed from the C drive to the D drive. Please do the following;
 (1) Right-click MyComputer
 (2) Click Manage
 (3) Select Disk Management
 (4) Right-click the C drive
 (5) Click Mark Partition as Active
 (6) Restart the PC and it should start from the C drive
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
boilqb:

Thank you for the response:

The "mark partition as active" command is lightened and inoperative.

Finest Kind
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Maniac_47Commented:
Can you please boot into your BIOS (F2 or DEL on startup) and change the boot order to use your XP hard drive as your primary?  If you have 2 drives, it may be just looking to your second.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Hello maniac:

I shut down and started pressing F2 and the  computer booted into XP.

I shut down again and executed a normal start up and it again booted into XP.

I'll have to shut down for several hours, later. If it continues to boot properly, I'll end the query.

Thanks,  

Finest Kind
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
I got into the bios and clicked "Windows XP".  The computer booted up correctly until this am when it reverted to the "D" Partition [Reinstall] again..

Any suggestions?
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biolgbCommented:
Could you check MyComputer Properties (right-click MyComputer) on the Advanced Tab, and Click the Startup and Shutdown and check the Marked Active Partition to see where is it really starting?
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
biolqb:

The start up reads-- Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition"/fast detect/ No execute+Optin
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biolgbCommented:
Could you click the Edit Button and see the Boot.ini settings?
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
biolqb:

[boot loader]
timeout=0
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons


Sam
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Alan HendersonCommented:
Now that you have the correct boot partition a Repair installation of Windows will probably fix this.
It leaves all your programs and data intact while reinstalling Windows.

1.  Boot the computer from your XP CD (if this won't boot, you may need to change the order of boot devices in BIOS setup).
2   Eventually you will see the "Welcome To Setup" screen. Press the Enter key to start Windows Setup.
3.  Be careful NOT to choose R, which is "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console".
4.  Accept the License Agreement.
5.  Windows setup will search for existing Windows installations.
6.  Select the XP installation you want to repair (there is usually only one) and now press R to start the repair.

More complete instructions on how to do this, complete with pictures, are here:
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

Back up your data first, just in case!
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senadCommented:
change boot.ini to .

[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 Home Edition" /fastdetect


http://support.microsoft.com/kb/289022
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
senad:

I followed iinstructions.


Now get the error message and cannot get into Windowss:

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll.
Please re-install a copy of the above file."
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BillDLCommented:

Hi Sam
Let's go back to what your original BOOT.INI contained:
[boot loader]
timeout=0
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
Taking that a couple of lines at a time, here is what those settings mean:
[boot loader] section:
timeout=0
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

timeout=0 - Shows boot menu options for 0 seconds and then defaults to the choice stated below if no user intervention.  ie. Doesn't show Boot Menu.
multi(0) - Tells it to use the Primary IDE channel.
disk(0) - Refers to Disk number on the above.
rdisk(0) - Refers to Physical Disk No. 1, a (1) would mean Disk No. 2.
partition(2) - If there is more than one partition on the Physical Drive, then partition C is partition(1) and partition D is partition(2)  *** See Notes Further On ***
\WINDOWS - Refers to the folder on the 2nd partition to look for OS.
[operating systems] section:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2) - see above
\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" - The text to display in Boot Menu.
/fastdetect - Let Plug & Play rather than NTDETECT handle detection of  Serial and Parallel devices.
/NoExecute=OptIn - Enables Data Execution Protection for core system images and those specified in the DEP configuration dialog.
Other /NoExecute= options would be:
OptOut — Enables DEP for all images EXCEPT those specified in the DEP configuration dialog.
AlwaysOn — Enables DEP on ALL images.
AlwaysOff — Disables Data Execution Protection.
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
This line provides the option to choose the Recovery Console as a Boot Option.  The recovery console boots the system into its own environment and makes the following commands available from the command line: Explained Here
The Recovery Console is not installed by default in Windows XP. Installing it creates C:\Cmdcons FOLDER and C:\Cmldr FILE and writes that line to Boot.ini.  Normally you boot the system to the Windows XP CD and pressing "R" during the initial setup routine.  All that line does is supply the option to load the recovery console from your hard drive instead.  It was doing no harm being there.
OK, so clearly there was an issue with the drive that Boot.ini was telling your system to boot to:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)
The "partition(2)" should have been "partition(1)".  As it stood it was booting to the recovery partition D:
senad advised you to change this correctly, but you are now being told that <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll is missing or corrupt, and tells you to install a fresh copy.
DON'T take this error literally.  HAL means "Hardware Abstraction Layer".  During Windows setup your BIOS and processor type and support are detected, and one of a couple of possible "HAL" files is installed.   Messing around trying to restore a fresh copy often doesn't work or can screw up your system more.  That error message normally is caused by a misconfigured BOOT.INI file, which is what would then load the "Hardware Abstraction Layer" support.
This is the reason that vallis was suggestion a Repair Installation of Windows.  It is probably the best idea, but I believe it would be worth first reverting back to your ORIGINAL BOOT.INI ** BUT WITH ** the change from "partition(2)" to "partition(1)" PLUS I suggest also changing the boot timeout to something like 15, 20, or 30 seconds, ie.
[boot loader]
timeout=30
I mean leaving the Recovery Console line intact.  Be very careful about spelling, spaces, etc in the Boot.ini file.
If the system still issues the same error and fails to boot, then you can consider your options and we can advise.
Bill
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:  

Many thanks for that imput.  It'll take me some time to digest it but I'll let you know the results.

Probly ought to be unconstitutional for some people to possess computers!

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Hey Sam, given that you were able to follow the steps in senad's linked page, I think you have earned the right to posses a computer ;-)
It sounds to me as though you may have simply made a small syntax or spelling error in the boot.ini file, although WHY it changed to boot to the D: partition is a strange one.

Incidentally, within the Windows environment you can quickly see the contents of your Boot.ini file from the tab of that name in the dialog shown by running the MSCONFIG.EXE utility.  It allows you to add a few options at the end of the lines, but the safer and useful troubleshooting ones are:

Safe Mode (Logged):     /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog /noguiboot

Safe Mode with Networking:     /safeboot:network /sos /bootlog /noguiboot

Safe Mode with Command Prompt:     /safeboot:minimal(alternateshell) /sos /bootlog /noguiboot

Enable Boot Logging:     /bootlog

Enable VGA Mode:     /basevideo

/NoGuiBoot - this disables the Windows logo
/SOS - shows the name of each driver as it is loading.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
BillDL:

Thanks!  However you may regret your response.

A couple of details, I may not have specified earlier.

The Hal notice appears before anything else, when I attempt to boot and prevents Windows from starting.

I'M able to get into Set Up [F1] and even into Bios, but I don't know how to access the boot.ini POST window.

The Blue HP OEM appears when I boot by tapping esc and then moves to a startup menue, which permits selection of the hard drive, but afterward reverts to the Hal notice.  

The Bios-Set up indicates that the Boot-Time Diagnostic screen has been disabled, in favor of the HP OEM Logo.

Is there a way that I can get to the POST screen to attempt the suggested changes?
[I saw somewhere that using the pause/break key in some manner facilitated getting there]

Sam
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senadCommented:
can you please explain his ;
'which I have to quit after it loads before Windows starts up.'
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BillDLCommented:
Sam

Here is the advice given by HP for your exact problem:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00044897&tmp_task=solveCategory&lc=en&dlc=zh-hans&cc=us&product=426322&lang=zh-hans

Also look here:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=bph07145&tmp_task=solveCategory&lc=en&dlc=zh-hans&cc=us&lang=zh-hans&product=426322#bph07145_cp

Here are your product's specifications:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00210099&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&lc=en&dlc=zh-hans&cc=us&lang=zh-hans&product=426322

It came with a 160GB SATA Hard Drive.  Do you have access to another computer running Windows XP or newer that uses SATA drive connections?

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=bph03792&tmp_track_link=ot_recdoc/c00218922/en_us/bph03792/loc:3&lc=en&dlc=zh-hans&cc=us&lang=zh-hans&product=426322

If so, then I suggest that you temporarily remove the hard drive from your problem computer and connect it as a 2nd hard drive.  Boot normally after connecting your problem hard drive and see if you can open, check, and edit the BOOT.INI file on the problem drive if there is an error in it.

It may also be a good idea to restore the Recovery Console line again and set the Timeout value to about 15 seconds.  That should at least allow you access to the command line programs which can often be helpful in fixing your type of problem.  Your computer probably didn't come with "Recovery CDs" because they have installed that onto the D: Partition, and (I believe from one of the earlier links I gave), F10 accesses this as you boot.

Bill
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:

Thanks for the HP info.  I didn't look there because I've never been able to find anything using their search, Or I should say almost never.

However I do have the Recovery CD's having purchased them after buying the computer.

If that alters your suggestions, please let me know.  If not I'll go to work on it  this evening.

If you see what appears to be a nuclear event over the VA-WVA Blue Ridge Mountains I'll leave the apportioning of points to you.!  :-)

Sam
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:

Thanks for the HP info.  I didn't look there because I've never been able to find anything using their search, Or I should say almost never.

However I do have the Recovery CD's having purchased them after I  bought the computer.

If that alters your suggestions, please let me know.  If not I'll go to work on it  this evening.

If you see what appears to be a nuclear event over the VA-WVA Blue Ridge Mountains, I'll leave it to you to apportion the points!  :-)

Sam
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
senad:
When I said I have to quit, I meant that once the Recovery partition had loaded, I had to click the "Quit" button to exit there, after which Windows loaded normally.

Sam
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
BillDL:

Gone through the HP protocol's.. None worked so it looks like a repair reinstall.

I have the HP CD's but also can get into the Restore Partition.

Have you any recommendation as to which I should use?

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Sam - Hold Up and read first.  I was typing as you were posting.

You seem to be aware of how the Recovery CDs you bought from HP work to "Recover" your operating system, judging from your comment here in your first question in Experts Exchange back in March 2009:
http:Q_24165973.html#a23793989

If you look closely at one of the HP pages I previously linked to (http://tinyurl.com/ybogafk), you will notice that you can do a "Destructive" or "Non Destructive" Recovery of the Operating System.
Destructive wipes out all your data and restores it to the state it was in when you first got it.  Non-Destructive will supposedly attempt to do an in-place repair of the Operating System, but in so doing will reinstall some of the OEM junk that you have probably long since uninstalled or tweaked out, and you would certainly have to run Windows Update again and possibly reinstall some programs you installed since you got the computer.  If you read the red "Caution" notes on that page, even the Non-Destructive restore may "move or remove certain files, like those stored in My Documents".  Obviously that is less than ideal, but their advice to "backup important files and the files stored in the My Documents folder" isn't terribly useful if you can't boot into Windows to do so.

Personally I hate "Recovery" CDs, because you can never bank on them preserving any user-created files and data.  There are also issues that if the Recovery CDs you later bought installed eg. Windows XP Home with SP1 or 2, but you had updated the system to SP3, there can be problems that lead to failed installations.

It is for this reason that I am trying to at least check your BOOT.INI file for syntax errors or spelling mistakes.  That's the most likely cause of your current error.  If you had Windows XP Professional and could boot into the Recoery Console from a full Windows CD or through the installed Recovery Console environment, then you would be able to use the BOOTCFG /rebuild command to repair any errors in BOOT.INI.  You have XP Home which apparently doesn't support that command when booting to the Recovery Console.

I know that your other question was a while back, but you mentioned that you had access to a Laptop running Windows XP Pro (http:Q_24165973.html#a23815126).  OK, so you would normally need to start messing around with hard drive adapters and such to connect another hard drive to a laptop, but you can buy external USB hard drive enclosures like this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/L803B-Drive-Enclosure-External-Black/dp/B000V8KQE6
and often much cheaper like this:
http://www.storagedepot.co.uk/Hard-Drive-Cases/sc884/p485.aspx

Those are UK sites and in UK currency and you are in the US (1.00 GBP = 1.62 USD), but they are just examples.  You could remove your hard drive from the HP machine, insert it into such an enclosure designed to house SATA desktop size (3.5 inch) hard drives, and then connect the USB cable to the XP laptop.  The drive would mount and be available as a "Removable Drive" just as any USB Flash Drive would show and take its own drive letter when connected.

If you then browsed to the root of the drive in the USB enclosure you could open the BOOT.INI file in Notepad (after removing the hidden and read-only attributes) and edit it.

The hard drive removal instructions your HP A630N's layout should be covered by one of the models shown starting on Page 5 of the PDF file here:
http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00065391.pdf

Having your Desktop's hard drive as a Removable Drive available to the laptop also covers HPs earlier suggestion to "backup important files and the files stored in the My Documents folder".  You can copy essential files within the Windows environment to the laptop's hard drive while you are at it, just in case it comes to a System Restore with the loss of personal data.

The reasons I'm leaning towards this being a simple issue with the BOOT.INI file, and why I am suggesting this approach, are gleaned from a historical look at your questions.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Q_24698921.html
The same issue that was returning to haunt you, ie. booting to recovery partition.
"Running HP Pavilion with XP SP3...".  See my earlier paragraph about possible problems Restoring/Repairing XP using a CD with a previous SP version.

Your options were, at that time:
Time to display list of operating systems: 3 seconds
Time to display recovery options when need: 30 seconds
and you stated: "At bootup I have the option to select either  the recovery console or windows xp, but I never execute it.  The selection for the recovery console just operates automatically."
You were never asked to post the full BOOT.INI at that time, which is a pity.  I believe you could have solved the issue at that time rather than having to leave the question unresolved with a rather eloquent and grammatically precise sign off statement.

In this current question the PC was booting to the recovery partition by default with your BOOT.INI line set to a "TimeOut=0" and the Boot Partition set to "partition(2)".  Clearly "partition(2)" is your D: Drive and "partition(1)" is your C: Drive, but your time-out value being set to Zero would mean that there would be no delay for you to select any alternative.

Other than those 2 parts, your BOOT.INI file was fine.

OK, so you followed senad's good advice to change those 2 parts of your existing BOOT.INI from:

[boot loader]
timeout=0
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

TO:

[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 Home Edition" /fastdetect

As far as I see it, the omission of "/NoExecute=OptIn" and the line to launch the alternative environment of the Recovery Console should not have made a difference.  That BOOT.INI file SHOULD have loaded Windows from C:\WINDOWS but failed to do so immediately after the edit.

Given that you now have a "missing or corrupt" HAL.DLL error, the most likely cause of which is a misconfigured BOOT.INI file, I suggest that the most appropriate course of action is to double check that the text is all absolutely correct.  Remember that Windows Notepad can screw up when wrapping text, and that the long command line spills over into a new line, it is possible that extra spaces or line breaks could have been inserted, or essential spaces missed.

If the issue turns out not to be a misconfigured BOOT.INI file, then you have at least eliminated it from further investigation and, if you use the external USB hard drive enclosure method, then you have the chance to back up essential files.

Bill
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BillDLCommented:
So, here's the suggested BOOT.INI file, in a Code Snippet to retain its plain text format:

[boot loader]
timeout=0
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

Open in new window

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BillDLCommented:
Whoops, I forgot to change it to "timeout=30" sorry.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
BillDL:

What can I say? I was ready to pull the plug but your latest replies are "beyond the pale" so I'm going to take advantage of them.  Thanks!

Tiger Direct has several 3.5 SATA drive enclosures here:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=2778&name=3.5-external-drive-enclosure&

Could II impose on you further to suggest one or two of them?

I've replaced dvd's & memory so I think I'll be able to remove the hard drive.

Sam

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BillDLCommented:
Hi Sam

To be honest my suggestion is only to serve a temporary purpose, so the one at $15 would do the same as any of the others for the time that you need it, and is just about the same type of budget item you would be able to buy from eBay - you know, the ones that sellers get drop-shipped to you from Hong Kong?:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3950007&CatId=2778

One reviewer states that the data transfer rate was slower with the above enclosure than the others.  I fail to see how, because the maximum rate is dictated by the USB 2.0 specification and also by the fact that when you fit a hard drive into such a USB enclosure the RPM of the drive is reduced to the older spec 4,500 rpm despite you having a drive that would spin up to eg. 7,200 rpm or faster when fitted inside a PC.  Transferring large amounts of data over a USB 2.0 connection WILL be slower than copying files between folders in Windows Explorer.  It's the nature of the beast, and is probably on a par with the speed at which data copies to and from a standard USB Flash Drive.  Don't expect instantaneous file access.

The first 5 reviews in the following $20 unit are applicable to all such budget ones, including the $15 one mentioned first.:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1733195&CatId=2778

.... BUT ... NOTE THIS ... the $20 one above only allows you to place an IDE (otherwise now referred to as PATA) hard drive inside it.  YOU NEED THE SATA version!

You MUST make sure of how your hard drives connect before committing.  The specifications on the HP site for your PC model state that the hard drive uses SATA.  Do a google image search for "SATA vs PATA" and you will see the differences between the older style IDE/PATA wide ribbon cable connectors and the newer slim and rounded SATA cable connectors.  It should be very easy to verify what you have.

As long as you are sure the hard drive is on a SATA connection, then filter your original Tiger Direct page to show only the SATA ones filtered lowest price to highest:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?Sort=4&Nav=|c:2780|&Recs=30

and don't spend too much.

They come with the "cover" part of the enclosure screwed in with very small screws, and occasionally on the cheapest units one screw ends up stripping the aluminium thread, but it will still work.  I've even used them with the cover off from time to time.  They should also come with the wall socket AC to 5 volt DC power adapter with a stiff cable and a standard cheapo USB cable.  The cheapest ones aren't usually well vented either, so you wouldn't want to be using it constantly for prolonged sessions or the drive could get too hot.

As I mentioned, this suggestion is simply an interim measure, but it's always handy to have such a device for reuse in such situations in the future.

Good luck.
Bill
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
BillDLL:

I've ordered the SATA enclosure and will give your suggestion a try.

Since it's going to take a few days to arrive, do you recommend that I close this question as "solved" and open another if I need further assistance?

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
No Sam, you can leave it open and report back with results, or ask any other questions relating to my suggestion, those made by others, or about the issue in question.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
BillDL:

Just keeping the the question alive.

I received the enclosure and hope to get to it today.

Sam
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
BillDL:

Bill:  I've connected into the laptop and opened Explorer, but can't fine BOOT.INI.

Can I impose again on you?

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Sam, I hope you're not running Vista on the laptop, because I have avoided exposure to it and would be struggling to remember where to find user settings.

In Windows XP, Start Menu > Settings > Control Panel > Folder Options  OR, from within Windows Explorer,  Tools menu > Folder Options.
Open the "View" tab and set the highlighted options in my screenshot attached.
Apply the changes and then look in the root of the attached desktop hard drive.

The file is hidden, and so its icon will still be slightly translucent even with the above settings forcing it to show.  In the root of the drive you will probably also see the following hidden files: Config.sys, IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, NTDETECT.COM, ntldr, pagefile.sys.  Just make sure that you are looking at the correct drive and not the laptop's one.

BOOT.INI will probably also have the Read-Only attribute set, so I suggest that you Right-Click on it and choose "Properties".  Uncheck the "Read Only" box, and click the "Apply" button, then close the properties dialog.

I suggest that you create a copy of the file and rename it to BOOT-INI.TXT, or BOOT.BAK.  That's your backup copy, and it would be interesting to see the contents pasted here.

Double-Click on BOOT.INI (not the copy) and wait for the "Open With" dialog and choose "Select a program from a list".  When it opens (can take a while) browse to Notepad and click on it.  Make sure that the "Always use the selected program to open files of this type" box is UNchecked, then click the OK button to open Boot.ini in Notepad.

I suggest that you either Maximize Notepad so that you are seeing all lines in their entirety.  If not, then use Notepad's "Format" menu and click to UNtick "Word Wrap".

Now look for any mistakes in the lines of that file, comparing it to that in the Code Snippet below.  You are looking for spaces where they shouldn't be, or lack of spaces where they should be, or perhaps a long line that has been split over onto a second line (hence turning off word-wrap suggested above).

My advice would be to reinstate the additional "Recovery Console" boot option that was there before:

C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

If you look back at your comment ID No: 26330280 where you copied and pasted your Boot.ini file, there were really only two places where a suggested edit were advised:

Change:    timeout=0    TO    timeout=30
Change:    partition(2)   TO    partition(1)    on both lines where it appears.

File menu > Save.

Now, before you disconnect the desktop hard drive from the USB port of the laptop, open Windows Explorer to it (Removable Drive) and navigate to the Windows folder then the System32 folder.  Look and make sure that there is a "hal.dll"

Remember to use the System Tray icon "Right-Click > "Safely Remove Hardware" option) to disconnect the desktop hard drive in its enclosure before unplugging it.

I am hoping that you will spot a mistake that can be easily corrected, and that you have found and fixed the problem.  I will be keeping my fingers crossed that when you fit your hard drive back into the desktop case the system will boot, and any issues may be then sorted out from within Windows.

Bill
[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 /NoExecute=OptIn

Open in new window

Show-All-Files.jpg
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
BIllDL

Bill:  Many thanks.  The laptop OS is WindowsXP.  I'll implement your suggestions when my wife arrives home tonight around: 7:00 PM EST.

Sam  
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Hi Bill:

I have opened boot.ini in wordpad and made the changes.  However when I attempt to save them I receive the message that the drive is write protected.

What do you suggest.

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Sam.  I think the message is just telling you that Boot.ini is set to the Read-Only status.  Normally you could Right-Click on a Read-Only file, choose "Properties", untick the Read-Only box, and click the "Apply" button, but I have a feeling your Read-Only box will be ticked but greyed out.

Open a new Command Window, normally found as a shortcut of that name in the Start menu > Programs  Accessories folder.  You can also launch it using the Start Menu's Run field by typing   CMD
It will open to the currently logged-on user's profile directory, eg.
C:\Documents and Settings\SamsWife

To get it back to the C:\> Prompt, just type the following:
CD \
Now change it to the letter of your desktop drive which is connected as a "Removable Drive".  If it is the E: rive, just type  E:  and press the Enter key.
The prompt should now show as  E:\>

Now type the following command:

attrib -h -r -s boot.ini

and press Enter.

You should now be able to open, edit, and save the file in Notepad.
You can leave the Command window open while you do so.

To reapply the default attributes, just type the following command:

attrib +h +r +s boot.ini

This is a strange quirk of files deemed to be "System Files".  You normally cannot remove the Read-Only (r) and Hidden (h) attributes without first removing the System attribute (s).  Sorry, I should have mentioned this before.

Bill
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BillDLCommented:
Please be sure that you are removing and reapplying the attributes to, and then editing and saving, YOUR boot.ini and NOT the one on the laptop's system drive.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:

Do I understand correctly that I'll be making the changes in the first four paragraphs to the host computer as before and then move to [ in this case] the "F" to effect the changes?

...and then back to the host to reset the original attributes?

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
No, sorry for the misunderstanding.

You are changing to the removable drive in your command window and then performing all the steps, so the commands you will issue should be:

cd \
          (prompt will change to C:\> )
F:
          (prompt should now show as F:\> )
attrib -h -r -s boot.ini
          (leave command window open at F:\> prompt and
           edit boot.ini in Notepad, then Save it)
attrib +h +r +s boot.ini
          (close command window)

As long as you are seeing F:\ at the start of the "Prompt" in the command window, then you are working in the removable drive.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill: I haven't had a chance to act on your latest post--two heavy snowstorms in five days--with the usual problems here in the mountains.

Hope to get on it in a day or so.

Thanks,

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Yeah, I've just noticed your Time Zone and looked up the weather reports for the high standing areas.  No rush, at least for us here.  Get out your sled and enjoy yourself if you can't get to work ;-)
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
OK, thanks!

I got to the issues last evening.  Originally, the laptop designated the Pavillion drive as a removable disk, however it's now being recognized as Hard disk,  F:  When I attempt to change the attribs. per your instructions and press Enter, I get the message that that it can't locate F:!!

We're pretty much dug out, now and my wife has returned to work. I'm retired so my main priority is keeping her on the job.! ;-)

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Hmmm.  That's puzzling.

OK, let's start from scratch with the drive in the USB enclosure.

In Windows Explorer (My Computer), any separate usable partitions on a hard drive are shown with a separate drive letter, however Device Manager will show you details of only the actual hard drive.

Open Device Manager (Right-Click on My Computer > Properties > Hardware tab > Device Manager button).
Expand the Disk Drives section by clicking the + sign next to it.
There should be two hard drive model numbers showing.  One will be the laptop's hard drive and the other the one in the USB enclosure.
Right-Click on the one you believe is the external USB one and choose Properties.
Under the "Policies" tab, if the two options (Optimize for Quick Removal and Optimize for Performance) are greyed out, then you should be seeing the laptop's hard drive, so close that dialog and access the other one's properties page.

Under the "General" tab the bottom field should be set to "Use this device (enable)" and it should be showing in the field above it "This device is working properly".

Under the "Policies" tab I suggest that you set it to "Optimize for Quick Removal".  This setting is safer for data on an external usb hard drives that have an on/off button, and when you switch it off it safely disconnects.  If set to "Optimize for Performance" is set, then you must remember to Right-Click on the USB icon in the System Tray and "Safely Remove Hardware".

The "Volumes" tab in the Properties dialog probably won't be showing anything.  If so, click the "Populate" button and see what happens.  It should then show you the F: Drive (or perhaps it is actually another drive letter) in the bottom field.  It should show something like the following:

Disk:                         Disk ?
Type:                        Basic
Status:                     Online
Partition Style:          Master Boot Record (MBR)
Capacity:                   xxxxxxx MB
Unallocated Space:   ?
Reserved Space:       ?

Let us know the results up to this point.  If you CAN access the drive in Windows Explorer, and everything else above appears to be normal, BUT you get that message when trying to unset the attributes from the command prompt, then I will have to figure out why.

If you CAN'T open the drive in Windows Explorer without some error, then please tell us the exact error and we can address it.

- Double-Click on "My Computer".]
- Open the "View" menu and click on "Details" view if it isn't already showing that way.
- Click the View menu again and click on "Choose Details" to open a dialog with check boxes.
- Check Name, Type, Total Size, Free Space, File System, and Click OK (the "comments" don't show anything useful, so it's optional).

I am assuming that the laptop has a CD/DVD-Rom Drive and a CD-RW/DVD-RW Drive, so your drive letters should be:
C = laptop's system drive
D = CD/DVD-Rom Drive
E = CD-RW/DVD-RW Drive
F = The First partition of the Desktop Hard Drive in the USB enclosure.

These are probably grouped as "Hard Disk Drives" together, each showing under the "Type" column as "Local Disk", and then below that "Devices With Removable Storage" showing as "CD Drive" under the "Type" column.

Does the F: Drive show as "NTFS" under the "File System" tab?

If you right-click on the F: Hard Disk Drive and choose "Properties" is there an additional tab in the dialog named "Autoplay" that is not present if you do the same on the C: Drive?

If you Right-Click on the F: Drive and choose "Explore", does it open  Windows Explorer to that drive showing all the folders and loose files on it?

If it tells you that the drive is inaccessible, then it is possible that you have a permissions issue.  If the laptop is running Windows XP Pro, then the Right-Click menu on the F: Drive should have a "Sharing and Permissions" option, and that opens the normal "Properties" dialog to the "Sharing" tab at the end.  If you have this, then view it (either using the above method or just using Right-Click > Properties).  The "Share This Folder" option should be selected, and the Share Name should be F$

Let us know what you have before messing with this though.

I believe that Windows XP Home may not have these options available, and if that is the case we will have to find a workaround.

I'm sorry that this has turned into something of a saga for you.  This was supposed to be a quick fix method, or at least a way of double-checking that Boot.ini was OK and backing up files while you were at it.

Bill
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BillDLCommented:
I'm sorry if a lot of the above is superfluous information.  Looking back to your Comment ID No. 26537512 Date:10/02/10 06:52 PM I see that you responded with what seems to be a full confirmation that the drive is fully accessible, and that it is just the "DOS" commands that are telling you that the F: Drive cannot be located.  

>>> "I have opened boot.ini in wordpad and made the changes.  However when I attempt to save them I receive the message that the drive is write protected." <<<

Just one observation now to something I hadn't noticed in the above statement at the time.  Don't use WordPad, use NOTEPAD.  Wordpad is a rich text editor and, although it should load the contents of boot.ini as plain text and save in plain text, it's not worth the risk.  Notepad should ensure that the contents save only as plain text.


You're sure that the drive in the external usb hard drive enclosure is the F: Drive?
Verify it again, and use the otherwise superfluous notes I made in my last comment.

As long as you are sure of this, then double-check that you are executing the commands correctly at the Command Prompt.  Here they are as the separate commands you type and press Enter at the end of each (commands are all case insensitive):

cd \
F:
attrib -h -r -s boot.ini
(Edit your boot.ini in NOTEPAD here)
attrib +h +r +s boot.ini

If you are doing it correctly and it still isn't working, then try this IF the "Run As" option is available.  It may not be available in Windows XP Home though.

Find the "Command Prompt" shortcut on your Start Menu, but instead of clicking on it, RIGHT-Click and choose "Run As".

A new dialog should show.  Instead of having it run as the "Current User", instead choose "The Following User".  I am hopeful that you will be able to set the User to "Administrator" and that you know whether the administrator profile is set with a password or a blank password, because you would need to enter a password here.

Running a program as the administrator would usually bypass any permissions issues.

In Windows XP Home to boot into the Administrator profile you have to boot into Safe Mode.  I would hope that this all doesn't require actually booting into the Administrator profile, but if the laptop IS running XP Home then it is as well to know now.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:  Thanks for the input.  And worry not!  This has become a a trip into the virtual "Twilight Zone"  [don't know if you're familiar with the Rod Serling series here, thirty or more year ago, if not it's worth a trip.]  and I'm enjoying the ride.  I hope it's not taking up too much of your time.

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
I have all the time in the world.  Now let me see, how did it go?

Doo, doo, doo, do. Doo, doo, doo, doo.
You unlock this screen with the key of imagination.
Beyond it there's another dimension.  A dimension of DOS.  A dimension of typed commands. A dimension of switches, options and parameters.
You're moving into a dimension where computers boot first time and stay booted, where hard drives retain their data.
You've just crossed over into ..... The Microsoft Operating System Zone.
Mwaah-dah-da ... duh, duh!
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
What did I do to deserve this?

Sudden call; have to zoom out of Dodge for a couple days.

My mother in law won't lend me her broom so I'll have to fly commercial.

Best!
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senadCommented:
....is this resolved or no ?
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BillDLCommented:
No, it is not yet resolved.

Up until you noticed that Sam's Boot.ini file was set to boot to Partition 2 (Recovery Partition), and then suggested in your Comment ID: 26405359 that he correct this it, the system was still bootable to Windows after cancelling out of the Recovery Mode.

Immediately after that the system displays the following error on booting:

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll.
Please re-install a copy of the above file."

It is possible that all the time before Sam edited the boot.ini the computer would not have booted to Partition 1 anyway, so I am not pointing any blame at you.  It is also possible that Sam unintentionally left Boot.ini with syntax errors, possibly through the use of WordPad rather than Notead.  I have tried to aim for that as being the most likely cause of the (probably) misleading "hal.dll" error that is so often caused simply by a bad boot.ini file.

Currently Sam has the drive removed from the desktop base unit and in an external USB enclosure that is connected to a Windows XP (Home? Pro?) laptop.  In attempting to remove the attributes from Boot.ini (attrib -h -r -s boot.ini) on the external drive from the command prompt, so that the file can be edited if necessary and saved, it is telling Sam that it cannot find Drive F: which is believed to be the drive in the external USB enclosure.

I have suggested, in my last couple of comments, ways to establish if that USB drive is definitely Drive F: and determine if there are any permission issues with the drive or the file.

Sam has unfortunately been tied up with a few problems and has been unable to read and work on those last comments, but I'm quite sure that when he is free he will return with feedback.

Bill
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
This issue is still open. I was out of town and couldn't implement Bill's suggetions.  Hope to do it today.

Thanks

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Don't pressurise yourself Sam, the question will stay open and we'll still be alerted when you do return to it.
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:

I've been thinking, which process usually gets me into trouble.

However, I have a couple of projects on the offencing computer, that need attention.

I purchased a 500gb Western Digital external drive last month to use as a photo and other media repository, which is still in the box.

The laptop I'm using has 2 usb connections.  Would it be possible to connect the original hard drive and the WD external, and "copy" the F: drive [or selected portions] to the WD external, then perform a repair reinstall of WindowsXP on the offending computer.

It seems to me that all I'd have to do then is update XP. [I've saved all of the downloaded programs so they should still be availible should I need them after the repair install.

Sam
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Sam

With simpler operating systems like Windows 98 it was possible to run the DOS XCOPY with all the correct command line switches and effectively "clone" the contents of one hard drive to another.  Windows XP is more complicated.  Being a multi user profile operating system with System File Protection and running services, etc, and there there are too many files and folders that may refuse to copy in that way.  There is a Windows service named "Volume Shadow Service (VSS)" intended to facilitate the copying of files currently in use, and some applications can take advantage of that.

Many people use "Drive Imaging" programs such as Norton/Symantec Ghost, Acronis True Image, Paragon Drive Backup, etc.  Here is what looks like a good review of 10 popular titles of such software:
http://disk-imaging-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
and this looks like a reasonably good explanation of what "Drive Imaging" programs do:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2259168,00.asp

The difference between cloning a drive to another (the old Win98 XCOPY idea) and creating a restoreable "image" of a drive using the programs above is that the "image" created is not in a usable format, it is in a proprietory format as one or more large files and erquires the same program to restore that image to a hard drive again.

In general you get what you pay for with most software, but there are a number of very capable free applications around.  I haven't fully read the following article, but it looks like it lists a few tested free applications:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-drive-imaging-program.htm

Some of the larger computer vendors may actually have licensed versions of eg. Norton Ghost installed on a recovery partition or made available from a bootable "utility" CD to allow you to restore the original factory state of the drive from an image, or to periodically create your own.  I know this was the case quite a few years back, but it's been a while since I looked at an absolutely new computer to that extent.

One free (for non commercial use) application that I have often looked at and intended to try is "DriveImage XML".  It is by a company that sells excellent data recovery software that I have used with great success, and it should do what it says it will do:
http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm
http://www.runtime.org/driveimage_faq.htm

While it may be a good idea to create an exact "image" of your problem hard drive, even with its current problems, as insurance against loss of data, you did mention copying "selected portions" of the affected drive in the usb enclosure to your WD 500GB one.  As long as the laptop is booted to a user profile with full administrative rights you should be able to access all the folders on the affected drive that you may need to copy out.  This was really part of my original suggestion in buying the USB hard Drive Enclosure anyway.  As well as looking to see if the boot.ini file did have some syntax error, it provides the means to back up essential files that may or would be lost if you did a repair install or complete restore of Windows after putting the drive back into the desktop PC.

It may help you to find where your data and settings are located so that you can back it all up if you save and read the text file I have attached.  Maximize it in Notepad.

In the meantime there would be no harm in trying to edit your Boot.ini file in Notepad using the previous instructions.  If using the DOS commands still isn't working, then can you open and copy the contents and paste into a CODE SNIPPET.  Pasting it there won't wrap the lines and we will be able to see pretty quickly if the file is messed up in any way.

Bill
Back-Up-Common-Data-XP.txt
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:

I believe that my post indicating I had used WordPad was incorrect. I ran boot.ini in the default window which is notepad.  In any event, I ran it in notepad again but still couldn't save the changes.

However I did get to the F:\> and attempted to change the attributes, but received the message that it could not locate boot.ini [despite the fact that its folder is listed and I have opened it from Explorer]

I next followed your instructions, starting with your comment: "OK, let's start from scratch with the drive in the USB enclosure. "

Briefly,  Everything was as you expected within Device Manager, except that in addition to C: and F: it  showed both E [the recovery partition].

I did the following:

-opened Windows explorer

-opened My Computer-details.  "File system" was unchecked.  I checked it and closed

Continuing on:

-The drives listings was normal, although there were a couple of variations having to do with the set up for my wife's work place.

-F: Drive shows as, NTFS

-RIGHT CLICK ON F: SHOWS AN AUTOPLAY TAB, WHICH IS NOT PRESENT ON THE LAPTOP C.

-Right click on F: shows Explorer with its files.

-The sharing option [it is WindowsXP Pro] is set to "DO NOT SHARE"

Per your suggestion I went no further.  I hesitate to go much further, even under supervision, because the laptop is part of a network at my wife's place of employment.

In any even it won't be available for several days because IT is migrating it to a new system.

Since the offending Pavilion is six years old I'm considering a new laptop, with XP [don't know if I want to move to Windows7] from which I can run the HP drive as a peripheral.  There's little of importance there, having backed up the critical documents, on to CD and flash drives.

But, I hate to give up.  


Sam


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BillDLCommented:
Hi Sam

I'm sorry about the delay in responding, but it's now my turn at this end to be affected by the weather.  We are being hit by heavy snow right now and it took me ages to even get home from work this morning.  I'll try to make some time to fully address your latest feedback.

I would say that there should be no harm in selecting the "Share this folder" option in the Sharing tab of the drive's properties dialog.  You can always Unshare it again later.  No guarantees that it will allow full access, but it's worth trying.  See the screenshot of my own external USB hard drive enclosure containing an 80GB standard desktop drive which is shared automatically as J$  (yours should automatically share as F$).

Bill
Share-Folder.jpg
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Bill:

Thanks.

I'll give it a try.

I hope mother nature isn't too hard on you.

I really appreciate the time you have expended on this.  It's well beyond the norm.  Since It's become a a mostly academic exercise for me, I'm at your pleasure re: going further.

By the way, I live in a "holler" in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.  Some of the boys around here make a home medicinal product which cures almost every ailment there is which I'd like to share with you if it's not prohibited by the rules of the  Exchange.  I can be contacted at at samscram@gemlink.com.

Sam
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FinestkindAuthor Commented:
Billldll:

 I replaced the hard drive and using the enclosure containing the old drive which contains all the program exe.s, as a peripheral.

Much obliged for your help.

Sam  
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you Sam.

I'm glad that you at least managed to extract some of the vital information and are back up and running with a useful extra area for storage.
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