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need DLLs for HAL... what's causing?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Beeblebrox, Feb 12, 2007.

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  1. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    So today I came home and my sister had trouble with her comp. It wouldn't boot windows. After POST it showed an error message. "need DLLs for HAL" or something like that.

    This computer has experienced crashes recently. WinXP usually runs ok but sometimes it just freezes but then restarts just fine. Any sort of gaming would freeze the comp after 5 minutes or less. After reboot, the Event Viewer shows two acpi errors at the exact time of freeze. I've investigated that error and come across terms like HAL, ACPI and been suggested to update my BIOS, which I'm hesitant to risk doing. I just thought it miht be useful to tell about this problem here, maybe it will give you a hint to what's wrong.

    So anyway, now the computer won't start. The first thing I did was try a live linux CD. Puppy Linux. It has worked without any problems on this computer. This time when booting it just said something like "Kernel panic. Not in sync: interrupt error". I don't know what that means, but since it won't boot windows nor linux, I assume this is a hardware problem.

    Sister had an urgent school project on the hard drive so I moved it to another computer and booted Puppy linux. Linux, because sister had her work in her private folder that I couldn't access in windows. Booting windows would also have disabled it because of different hardware... stupid Activation...:mad:
    So I copied sister's work to USB thumbdrive using Puppy and I'm now pretty safe to do what I wish with the comp.

    Which hardware would you suggest is busted? Hopefully not the memory... finding out which of the 3 sticks of mem is bad would require me to remove the graphics card first and then put it back in again with every try... :(

    Computer specs:
    AMD Duron 750 MHz
    640 MB SDRAM (128+256+256, the 128 might be PC100 (any way to find out?), the others are PC133...)
    MSI K7T Pro2 motherboard (with stock BIOS dating back to 2000 or 2001...)
    ATI Rage Fury Pro / Xpert 2000 Pro AGP graphics card with 32MB memory
    Windows XP home edition installed on Seagate Barracuda 160GB IDE hard drive.
    Also a semi-busted 40GB hard drive as slave with windows XP home installed (but not used anymore). DMA pin of IDE connector is pushed in so the drive works but has painfully slow PIO transfer...
    A CD-RW drive. NEC, I think, but might be any brand. Probably has nothing to do with this problem anyway...
    A recently bought (from flea market) used floppy drive. Haven't tested, but presumed working...
    A recently bought PCI USB2.0 extension card (tried to remove it, didn't solve the problem).
     
  2. daddyhominum

    daddyhominum

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    You don't say how far the boot goes? Any POST?
    If so and if you believe it is a hardware problem you will find it useful to reduce hardware down to a minimum. Remove everything from the computer except the OS harddrive, the Graphics card, and min amount of memory. If it still doesn't boot, try a different memory stick if you have one; otherwise try to swap out the video card; then swap out the harddrive or remove hard drive and boot the linux.
     
  3. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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  4. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    daddyhominum, I said the error comes after POST, meaning there obviously is a POST. Although I admit I don't really know the exact definition of POST. It does a quick memory check, lists my IDE devices, then it shows the table of devices and their IRQ's and says Unknown Flash Type which it always does and after that it would boot, except now it just gives a black screen with the error message. When booting linux from CD, I get a boot menu, and can enter boot parameters. Tried to set acpi off with no luck. It loads something until it shows the kernel panic.

    I noticed that if I reverted to fail-safe defaults in BIOS, it wouldn't POST. It starts testing the memory, lists my IDE devices and then says Memory test fail and just stops there. it said press F1 to continue but I didn't try that, silly me... If I set optimized settings from BIOS, it goes as I explained in the first paragraph. However, the memory test fail makes me suspect the RAM even more...

    When I have time, meaning next weekend or hopefully as soon as tomorrow, I'll try the minimum hardware thing. I have memory sticks to try. As I said in my first post, there's 3 sticks in the computer, one of which I suspect is bad. Just need to find out which one.

    Triple6, thanks for the link. I'll try to get time and try that test tonight, assuming I can boot even that... also have a windows 98 boot floppy at home, could try that too...
     
  5. daddyhominum

    daddyhominum

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    Sorry about that misread of your post on POST. I'm always doing that!!
     
  6. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    No worries, daddyhominum...

    Ok, here's what I did today. I removed all memory sticks (they were 256, 256 and 128). I put back in one of the 256 ones into memory slot 1. put display adapter back in, booted... windows booted! Now which one of the other two is broken? I put in the other 256 making a total 512. Windows seemed to boot but after the boot screen where there's the endless progress bar, the screen went black and nothing seemed to happen. Tried to boot linux from CD. No kernel panic this time... all seemed to go fine up to a point where it just didn't do anything anymore. No error message, same case as windows, except the screen didn't go black. No hard drive access light lit, nothing... so this must be the busted RAM stick, I thought. Removed it and replaced with the 128, making 384. Again the windows boot stopped at the same point. I decided to wait (cause I thought it's improbable that two sticks should fail at the same time) and it paid off. Coming back from a sandwich, I saw the windows welcome screen. I thought maybe the other 256 stick wasn't broken either. Put them all back, but in a different order. First it used to be the 128 stick in ram slot 1 and the 256's in the other 2. Now I put 256's in 1 and 2 and the 128 in the third. Booted windows. Again a long break with no sign of life, dunno what it was doing. Then I got the welcome screen and was happy. I restarted, hoping it had been optimizing for new hardware config or something and would boot faster. It booted but I got a message in the welcome screen that some registry entries had to be recovered from somewhere and the recovery had been succesful. Was happy.

    An hour later my sister tells me she hadn't even touched it but it had fallen into some black screen error. Dunno what it was cause she had then turned it off. Tried to boot. Said some file in Windows\System was missing. Removed the 128 memstick. Same error. Disconnected both hard drives and tried to boot linux from CD. Display wouldn't even come on and nothing was happening. Reconnected the windows harddrive leaving the semi-broken one disconnected. Monitor lit up again, but windows threw the same error. Booted linux, booted without error!

    So now I'm suspecting maybe the RAM troubles actually did mess up the windows system files. The error message told me to do a repair install.

    Insert windows XP Home Edition OEM CD into drive and boot from it. Hangs at the point where it says "Setup is starting Windows." Set fail-safe defaults from BIOS. No help.

    I seem to remember hanging at the same point of installation on another comp. That one was fixed by pulling the plug from the wall for a few minutes and then repowering... then the setup went through (it's a funny method, but it seems to fix a lot of things...

    I have lots of things to try... gonna try to boot the windows installation from the old semi-busted hard drive to determine if the problem really is with the windows installation. Also need to download that memtest ISO triple6 mentioned...

    Anyway, if someone is already certain they know what the problem is, please tell me... biggest trouble seems to be to get the windows CD working....
     
  7. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    I'd recommend running the memory diagnostics, you could have a bad slot, bad stick of RAM, or a combination that doesn't work together. Booting Windows may occasionally work with bad RAM or it may corrupt your installation of Windows.
     
  8. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    Well, I tried to boot the windows installation from the old drive. Set it as master and removed the better drive. It booted, but at the welcome screen this one also said some registry entries had to be recovered... I entered the password of my account and logged in, it froze before I could see my desktop.

    I then put the good drive back as master and left the old drive disconnected. I started running the memory test. It seemed to take long and I stopped it because it's late and I need to get sleep. I saw enough, anyway. As I turned off the computer, the memory test count was 0 passes, 150,000 -ish fails...
    Unfortunately, it'll probably be until weekend before I can do more testing. The memory test I can probably do tomorrow if I start it early and leave it running.

    Question: If I have a bad slot, is it possible to have memory only in slots 2 and 3 or slots 1 and 3? Or will that result in a no-boot situation?
     
  9. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    You should be able to use the other slots. Memtest86+ shows the location of the failure, ie 128MB, so you could use that to narrow it down to the memory stick or slot.
     
  10. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    I left memtest running for a few hours. When I came back, it had frozen. The WallTime was 1 hour and 11 minutes... There were around 750000 fails and 0 passes... the test was 73% through at the time...
     
  11. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Well thats not good, start testing the memory one at a time.
     
  12. catlady13

    catlady13

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    I had a similiar problem to this and it turned out one of my memory slots was bad , not the sticks themselves. Could this be possible?
     
  13. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    Well, I seem to be getting forward again!
    I removed all memory sticks but the smallest, the 128 (I know, daddyhonium told me to do this in the first place, but did I listen, no...) and I got the message that started all of this. DLLs needed for HAL. Removed that stick and put in one of the 256's. Ran memtest and afterit had run a while I got bored cause there were no errors. But Windows CD still wouldn't boot. I tried to use Puppy Linux's NTFS writing capability to manually replace the Windows system files that were corrupt (the other hard disk had a windows installation performed on the same hardware a few years back so I thought it might work). It refused to copy any files. Either refused to set permissions or sometimes it just said operation not allowed...
    Did a little googling about XP setup hanging at the "Setup is starting Windows" message and Microsoft support site told to update BIOS and try to remove all but the necessary hardware. I did the latter, to an extent. Problem turned out to be a recently bought PCI USB2.0 extension card. Apparently the XP setup had no generic drivers or whatever for that. After removing that, I managed to start a repair installation! :)
    It's installing now. Once (if) the installation gets through, I'll try to put in the other 256 memory stick and test that with memtest before booting windows again. The 128 is definitely busted. It was the oldest (6 years now) of them and luckily the smallest as well. No need to buy new memory, should run fine with 512...

    Wish me luck! Thanks to all who helped solve this! Gonna keep you up to date when (if) installation is succesful :)
     
  14. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    Ok, had a few minor setbacks with the installation... needed VIAAGP1.sys file during it. A little googling solved the problem, I was able to burn it to CD and install it from there and then just put back the windows CD. It had even recognized my USB stick already at installation, which I found amazing.. and funny, cause it had assigned the drive letter C for my USB key!
    Shortly after the VIAAGP1.sys issue was solved, the installation froze at registering components. It seemed like one of the ACPI errors I told you about in my first post, so I thought it was nothing too bad and gave it another try. VIAAGP1.sys was needed again, but after that, installation went fine until finish and no personal files had been lost :)

    I then today reinstalled the other 256M memory stick and the USB extension card. I was too impatient to memtest, so certain I was that it was the 128 stick that was bad. Stupid me. Booted fine once but wouldn't boot a second time. Ran memtest and got a load of errors. Switched the problem-causing 256 memstick from slot 2 to slot 3. Ran memtest. No errors. Windows boots fine.

    catlady13, it seems it is indeed possible that a slot is broken... at least that's the way I see it now. Until further problems arise... take care, all of you kind people :)
     
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