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 Post subject: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:50 am 
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To Scott, Mike
HP NB (03/04) nc4010, with outboard CD drive; Windows Xp/Pro
While defragmenting the HD, I had to leave--normally I stay till finished. While away it turned off; when I returned I tried to turn it on, but it wouldn't boot. I did get a message:
"Windows would not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<windows root>\system 32\nal.dll
Please reinstall a copy of above file."

I have 1st edition of Upgrade & Repair MS Windows, and just got the 2nd edition. Powerful stuff; will take time to absorb. Can this be fixed/repaired, or is a clean install required? Walt


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:09 pm 
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Quote:
While defragmenting the HD, I had to leave--normally I stay till finished. While away it turned off;...

How did it turn off exactly? Was there a power interruption? If not, do you think the system hung? If the latter, that could indicate a hardware problem.

Quote:
...when I returned I tried to turn it on, but it wouldn't boot. I did get a message:
"Windows would not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<windows root>\system 32\nal.dll
Please reinstall a copy of above file."

I'm going to assume you mean "hal.dll" since there is no nal.dll file in Windows XP. Hal.dll refers to the Hardware Abstraction Layer, which is an essential file loaded during the startup of an NT based OS. See Chapter 2 (Windows Boot/Startup) of my URWindows book for more detailed information on the Windows startup process.

The first thing I'd try is to restore Windows XP to a previous state. If that doesn't help, then I would follow the troubleshooting and repair steps in the following article:


Following those steps involves running FixMBR, FixBOOT, CHKDSK and rebuilding the Boot.ini file. To do this you will need a Windows XP install CD, and you will need to boot and run the Recovery Console from it. Note that I don't recommend trying to install the Recovery Console directly on the system, just run it from the bootable XP install CD using the "How to use the Recovery Console" instructions in the following article:


If that doesn't help, then you could try the steps in the following articles to troubleshoot general XP startup problems and/or to do a repair reinstallation. The next step after that would be a clean install from scratch.


Note that if the corruption was caused by an intermittent hardware failure, any of these solutions will only be a band-aid until the real (i.e. hardware) problem is solved. Let me know how the story ends... Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Scott,
Thank you for your swift reply. I hadn't been on your (very busy) site for a while, and I didn't really know how to post in the forum--now I do. Now first things first.

I can't get past the message that I quoted, but I believe my NB was set to turn off in a certain period of unattended use. I had to leave urgently, and I forgot that.

Yes I'm sure it is hal.dll, not nal.dll.

Machine was working fine up to that point; I have an external USB CD drive. I may need help past the message, to do what you suggested.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:50 am 
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waltlip,

You aren't going to be able to "get past" the error message, instead you will have to "get around" it. That is what the XP install CD will be used for. You will need to be working outside of the OS in order to fix the OS. The second link Scott provided has information regarding the Windows XP Recovery Console (which is where you will start your Master Boot Record repair).

You could also press "F8" during the POST to get to the advance boot options and attempt to recover to the "last known good configuration". If that won't work then you will have to fix this by closely following Scott's instructions. I also highly recommend doing everything in the order he instructs.

If you have an extra hard drive you might want to make a sector by sector copy of your hard drive before attempting any repair. This assumes that you are confident that you do not have a failing hard drive. You might, alternatively, go ahead and back up any data you are afraid of loosing as chances are the file system itself is still fine and the drive will be recognized by another computer/OS.

Were you using Window's built in defragment program? If you were then it shoudln't have done anything to your hal.dll. It sounds like you might have been using a 3rd party defragmenter program that was digging a little deeper. I wish you the best of luck.

-Evan


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:42 am 
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Evan,

Much obliged for your welcomed addendum to Scott's advice.

I don't believe I have a failing hard drive; I can access all my data using a powered USB (drive) adapter on another desktop machine.

I was indeed using Window's (built-in) defragment program. Further, I am 95% certain that the NB was set to shut off after a period. Something I should have corrected, but didn't.

I will definitely reply with results, but right now I am busier 'n bat droppings. Tis the Season.

Walt


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:01 pm 
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I'm glad you appreciate the extra input. It just sounded like you were expecting to get into windows to fix the problem. If I happened to misunderstand you or Scott I apologize.

waltlip wrote:
Further, I am 95% certain that the NB was set to shut off after a period. Something I should have corrected, but didn't.
You might take a look at nice little app called caffeine that might have prevented all this.

If you take a look at the command line options you could tweak it around a little to work very nicely with your NB and tasks such as defragging. I've broke a Laptop using an overly aggressive defrag program with an unexpected shut off, so I feel your pain.

-Evan


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:57 pm 
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Quote:
I was indeed using Window's (built-in) defragment program. Further, I am 95% certain that the NB was set to shut off after a period. Something I should have corrected, but didn't.

That's simply not the cause for several reasons:

Windows Power settings don't have an option to turn the system off (Shutdown) after a period of inactivity*. You can however set the system to either Stand By or Hibernate after a period of inactivity, and while the system would appear to be "off" in either of those states, there are some differences. In addition, entering either Stand By or Hibernate modes with a program like the Windows Disk Defragmenter running poses no problems. Just like any other running programs, the defragmenter will pause as the system enters Stand By or Hibernate, and will successfully continue running when the system Resumes. I've had the system enter both Stand By and/or Hibernate modes with the Disk Defragmenter actively running on many occasions, with no ill effects.

Even if you did actually turn the system off (meaning Start; Turn Off..., or by pressing the power button) while the Disk Defragmenter was running, as is the case with any other running programs, Windows will automatically (and gracefully) close them during the shutdown process, with no damage done. I've shut the system down many times with the Disk Defragmenter running, with no ill effects.

On the other hand, if the system was forcibly "turned off" by either: a momentary power lapse or brownout, unplugging the power cord, turning off the switch on the power strip the system is plugged into, turning off the switch on the back of the power supply, holding the power switch down for more than 4 seconds, flipping the circuit breaker, etc., or if you pressed the reset button, or if the power supply, RAM, HDD, motherboard, etc. intermittently failed, then indeed the type of problem you describe could occur, since the normal Stand By, Hibernate, or Shutdown process would not occur.

Quote:
You might take a look at nice little app called caffeine that might have prevented all this.

I would not recommend that program as it is completely unnecessary, and would not have prevented this problem.

Bottom line: You may not (yet) know what caused the system to crash or be forcibly turned off, but it had nothing to do with the Windows Power settings, and a normal Stand By, Hibernate, or even a Shutdown while running the Disk Defragmenter was not responsible for the problems you describe. Scott.

*Note that you can use Windows Scheduled Tasks to setup a task to call the Shutdown command after a period of inactivity. I'm assuming you did not use that, but even if you did, that shutdown would be the same as any other (i.e. same as pressing the power button or clicking on Start; Turn off...), and cause an orderly closing of open programs like the Disk Defragmenter.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:41 pm 
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Scott wrote:
On the other hand, if the system was forcibly "turned off"...then indeed the type of problem you describe could occur, since the normal Stand By, Hibernate, or Shutdown process would not occur.

Couldn't that happen if his NB (NetBook I'm assuming) was running on battery power? If the power settings were not set appropriately for a Standby or Hibernate action during a low battery state then then machine could experience a forcible power down.

Though, if you are using a NetBook and it has a Solid State Drive (SSD) then you shouldn't be defragging anyways. (Read Scott's response if you want to get straight to the point)

-Evan


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:50 pm 
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Quote:
Couldn't that happen if his NB (NetBook I'm assuming) was running on battery power?

I'm not sure what the NB means, but from what I can tell, that system is a laptop. Eliminating unnecessary assumptions is why I encourage people to post a direct link to the mfr. support/info page when asking for help with a specific system. (hint)

Quote:
If the power settings were not set appropriately for a Standby or Hibernate action during a low battery state then then machine could experience a forcible power down.

Yes, but I had to assume that he wouldn't have run the defrag unattended while on batteries, or that if he did, he would have at least mentioned that by now. If my assumption was incorrect, please let me know! Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:03 pm 
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I believe you're right, Scott. I overlooked the first line
Quote:
HP NB (03/04) nc4010
which looks to match up with what you linked to. So, nevermind about my SSD statement (my bad).

I was hoping to bring an additional perspective (no reason to say what you've already said) to the conversation, but like you, I am also making assumptions since there wasn't more info or links for the actual product.

I am curious to see how this all plays out though.

-Evan


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:46 pm 
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Scott and Evan,

Yes, my unit is a laptop, but HP referred to them as notebooks, and I abbreviated it "NB", forgetting that they are being called netbooks now, which could also be abbreviated NB. I bought all my 'stuff' used/ refurbished, all vintage 2003/04. My unit has an external optical drive, and today such items are being called 'netbooks', but they weren't back then.

When the problem occurred, my laptop was on AC power. I prefer to use it that way whenever an AC source is available. I do run it on battery occasionally to check it on battery performance and longevity. It doesn't last as long as more recent battery technology. When I leave home base I have a spare.

With Scott's input that it would not power down by itself, unless a failure(?) occurred, I will study on this problem and proceed very carefully.

Walt


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:58 am 
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Quote:
Yes, my unit is a laptop, but HP referred to them as notebooks, and I abbreviated it "NB", forgetting that they are being called netbooks now, which could also be abbreviated NB.

I've never recognized the term "notebook", since it is obscure and confusing, whereas everybody understands what a "laptop" is. A so-called "netbook" is a palmtop, which is like a laptop except with a smaller than standard keyboard and screen. Most also lack any form of storage except an internal 1.8" or smaller HD or SSD drive.

Quote:
My unit has an external optical drive, and today such items are being called 'netbooks', but they weren't back then.

The system you have would be classified as a laptop, whether or not an external optical drive is attached. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:24 pm 
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Can't he simply download and drop hal.dll into the system32 folder?


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:44 pm 
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No. See my first post in this thread for the recommended fixes. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:06 pm 
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Scott wrote:
No. See my first post in this thread for the recommended fixes. Scott.


Yah, I just came back here to retract my comment. I just realized what HAL is based upon another thread. You absolutely want a clean install if the earlier solutions don't work, maybe with a up to date BIOS before the clean install because if I understand the MS link you posted, HAL.dll was for non-ACPI system. That would not be very good for standby.


Last edited by FascistNation on Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:14 pm 
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I think you may misunderstand how it works. There are several different HALs, however once Windows is installed, whichever one that is used is (re)named hal.dll. See the links in my posts in this thread for more information. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:03 pm 
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Scott,
Just getting back into this problem and I hasten to make a retraction: I ASSUMED my laptop turned off (while under AC Power); as you suggested, there could have been a hardware failure.

I decided to back-track and look at the HDD that was in the laptop when all this occurred. With all but five (one hole is plugged. & one pin missing) of the HDD pins plugged into the 44 pin plug, and USB plugged into the mating PC socket, I went into My Computer. This I had done as soon as the problem occurred and I was able to view all the files (at least I thought I could). However, I can not read them now. I can see all the folders but not what was in them.

When going to Administrative Tools/Computer Mngmnt/Disk Mangmnt/ I get the box which shows Disk 0 (main HD) and Disk 1, the culprit. Somehow it got changed to FAT32; I know it should be NTFS. Here's the data in the left side of Disk 1 box:
Disk 1
Basic (E:)
37.25GB 37.25 GB FAT32
online Healthy (Active)

Correcting this would restore the hard drive to NTFS, and with that I THINK I would be able to start at the points you have already given. At least I could read all the stuff I put into it and could move it out to another storage device. (??)

I appreciate the time and advice you've given me.

Waltlip


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:47 pm 
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Quote:
When going to Administrative Tools/Computer Mngmnt/Disk Mangmnt/ I get the box which shows Disk 0 (main HD) and Disk 1, the culprit. Somehow it got changed to FAT32; I know it should be NTFS.

Partitions cannot just change from NTFS to FAT32. The fact that Windows believes this only helps to confirm that either the MBR (Master Boot Record), VBR (Volume Boot Record), and/or other parts of the file system have been corrupted.

The procedures I outlined in my first reply in this thread (running FixMBR, FixBOOT, CHKDSK and rebuilding the Boot.ini file) should have addressed that. What happened when you completed those steps? If the data still cannot be read after completing them, you'll have to either try using data recovery software to recover the files yourself, or sending the drive out to a professional for recovery.

If on the other hand you don't need any of the data, then forget all that and simply reinstall Windows from scratch (clean install). Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:16 pm 
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Your advice is acknowledged. Just to be safe, in case the culprit laptop is damaged, I plan to attempt a clean install on a formatted HDD in a sister (sibling) laptop with similar hardware, and known to be working OK.

Pleasant Holidays to All.

Walt


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:28 pm 
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During the past four days addressed the problem: [ DL&I = Download & Install ]

- Performed clean install of WXPPRO with SP1 (not SP 1a) using sister laptop;

- Put HDD in original laptop. Accessed internet, DL&I security;

- Opened MS Windows Updates. DL&I SP2--required for non SP1a;

- DL&I W SP3. OK so far, about 3 1/2 hours ~;

- DL&I Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) when prompted (7 min), had planned to try for IE7;

- Still to do: look for, DL&I drivers/utilities (available at HP Support & Trblshoot)

- Running OK, looked into Scott's Forum, replied to Windows OS, 'Do the SP3 install' by Cyberghost;

- Not clear as to the cause of failure during defrag; should not have left.

- Possibly this wraps up the long delayed fix to the original post of Dec 11, 2009.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:55 pm 
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Just to clarify, you can install SP3 on a system with SP1, there is no requirement for SP1a or SP2. While you need a system running SP1 or later to install SP3, you can slipstream SP3 directly into any XP install disc, including an original RTM (Release To Manufacturing = one with NO previous service packs or updates) disc.

Knowing this, you could have eliminated the step where you downloaded and installed SP2. Granted, this is a moot point now, but may be useful for your next time. Even better yet would be to create an XP install disc with SP3 fully integrated (slipstreamed), which would have saved you 4 or more hours in the procedure you described. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Thank you, Scott. I don't regret haveing to crawl up the learning curve, I'm afraid I might miss something important. My next goal is to learn how to make an XP install disc with SP3 fully integrated---
Even better yet would be to create an XP install disc with SP3 fully integrated (slipstreamed), which would have saved you 4 or more hours in the procedure you described. Scott.----------
--------as well as review the posts submitted to this problem.

Thanks also, to those who have offered help in the form of suggestions: Evan and Fascist Nation.


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:12 pm 
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Glad I could "help". I will admit that I would have prefered to provide solutions rather than suggestions. <g>

I'm just glad you actually followed back up on this.

-Evan


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:42 pm 
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Aww you need nlite :)

And I recommend Driver packs also, in fact this forum was how I found out about Driver packs and I still smile when Windows goes straight into a usable state after completion of set-up.

http://www.nliteos.com/

http://driverpacks.net/

With nlite you can slipstream SP3 IE7 and most of the Hotfix and especially security updates released to date, indeed I will soon be creating a new pair of discs (XPH and XPP) for the March updates.

Microsoft release patches for supported versions of Windows every second Tuesday of each month.

There is also a slipstream tool for Windows Vista but can't unfortunately Slipstream SP2 (SP1 CAN be slipstreamed)

I am PRAYING that Windows 7 SP1 and future packs can be slipstreamed, Scott how can one slip a pack that M$ doesn't want slipstreamed?! :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:04 pm 
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Scott wrote:
.... you can slipstream SP3 directly into any XP install disc, including an original RTM (Release To Manufacturing = one with NO previous service packs or updates) disc.

Thanks, I did not realize that...though it has been some time since I ran across an XP disk without a service pack on it.

Scott wrote:
Knowing this, you could have eliminated the step where you downloaded and installed SP2. ....

Or at least have downloaded SP3 (and the unneeded SP2) as networked versions, burned it to CD, and installed it FAR quicker than using Windows Update. Not to mention have the disk around to use on subsequent installs, but a slipstreamed disk of Home and Pro is better.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/bb794714.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: While Defragmenting Machine turned off; Now Won't Boot
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:16 pm 
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David,Evan F Nation,Scott,
You've all given me help; I've saved the highlited links, but it will take time to read and retain. I am still 'fuzzy' about how this "slipstreaming" occurs. I saw Scott's DVD on UAR Windows, and I didn't catch it all. I'm out on a trip now and don't have that one with me. I do have UAR Laptops, edition just before the latest.

I am moving along (learning) OK. I did order the patch CD from MS; $3.99 plus expedited shipping. Another nugget under the rock. Thank all of you for your help. Walt


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