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Old 08-29-2004, 12:31 PM   #1
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GRUB and WinME/hal.dll issue with linux reinstall

So, here's the story. I have a home PC which shipped with a 40GB drive and WinME. Wanting a Linux option for home, I purchased a 60GB drive and installed Redhat 7.1 on that disk, creating a nice functional dualboot system. GRUB worked great, and everything went smoothly for ages.

Flash forward three years. I have the use of several newer Linux boxes, and the home machine hasn't booted linux in almost a year; it's become my wife's computer. So, i figure I'll free up the 60 gig secondary drive for use by Windows. I format the 60 gig drive... forgetting that the GRUB config file is located there. Whoops. Now NOTHING works.

So, I reinstall Linux on the 60 (using my dusty old RH7.1 disks in lieu of the freshly toasted Fedora Core 2 disks I use for work). Linux works great (again). But when I try to boot to my windows partition, it complains that /system32/hal.dll is missing or corrupted... which I find pretty suspicious.

Anyway, that's the situation. Ideally, I'd like to consign the machine to the world of windows forever, where it will run Rollercoaster Tycoon and the various Thomas the Tank Engine titles until it dies. However, I'd be willing to get it working as a dual boot box if necessary. The least desirable option is to boot to Linux, copy all of the FAT32 stuff onto a backup box, and use the WinME recovery disk to restore the box to factory condition... way too much mindless work.

So, if somebody can give me a pointer or two, that'd be great. Unlike many posters, my job doesn't depend on this, and I'm not looking down the barrel of a loaded gun from my boss. However, my wife is grousing about the home machine being unusable, so that should generate some empathy.

Thanks in advance for any support.
Old 08-29-2004, 12:42 PM   #2
bruno buys
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Last time I saw hal.dll problems, the computer had major hardware problems (cpu). Not trying to scare you, I can be something else.
This is more a workaround than a fix: try to use smart boot manager to boot the machine. bmgr is really nice. Maybe it can help you.

About bmgr:

Old 08-30-2004, 07:47 AM   #3
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I dunno about the major hardware problems. The CD burner does appear to be screwed up, but that's nothing new. Furthermore, WinME worked fine (as well as it ever did, anyway) until I brilliantly deleted the GRUB configuration file, and the new redhat install works fine.

When I mount the FAT32 partition from redhat, the /windows/system32 directory doesn't appear to even CONTAIN a hal.dll file. In fact, I didn't realize that the idea of a hardware abstraction layer was present in the non-NT-descended Windows OSes.

Nevertheless, I'll give bmgr a shot. Thanks for the input.
Old 08-30-2004, 08:12 AM   #4
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That indeed sounds very suspicous, you're right there is no HAL in win9x/me and such file does not exist.
Has there been any installation attempts of winnt/2k/xp on the system? Perhaps somehow nt os loader was accidentally installed?
Besides the previous suggestion you can give this a try as well:

Download BootPart

Get into Linux and backup the current partition bootsector
dd if=/dev/hda1 of=bootsect.old bs=512 count=1
put bootsect.old somewhere safe outside the harddrive, such as a floppy disk.
Boot with a dos floppy disk(put bootpart on there or somewhere in c: drive where its accessible).
then run
Which will rewrite win95/98/me bootsector back into the partition

Also you need to make sure GRUB is configured properly(ie for the Winme entry it chainloads hda1 which should be (hd0,0))

Last edited by Demonbane; 08-30-2004 at 08:15 AM.
Old 09-02-2004, 08:50 AM   #5
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Excellent. Thanks, Demonbane, that worked perfectly on the first try.


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