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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    I have a laptop that someone asked me to repair. Having been offered money, who was I to refuse? After all, it's an XP machine. Easy enough.
    But come to find out it's XP Home Edition - a wrinkle. Still, shouldn't be too tough. Just get rid of viruses/malware. Right?
    Well, the machine wouldn't boot into windows - it froze after telling me that McAfee wouldn't load (several times). So I mounted the drive in an external box and connected it to my PC via USB - and scanned it with Avast!
    Avast! found at least 112 virus-infected files, and my best option was to put them in "the chest". I didn't want to delete possibly critical files outright.
    When Avast was done, I moved the drive back into the laptop and upon bootup, I got a bluescreen which included advice to check for viruses. OK, I figured - maybe using 'the chest" didn't resolve anything, since as far as I knew the original files would still be in place, and upon removing the drive from its connection, the link between files and chest would be severed.
    So I scanned the entire drive directly from My computer (again via USB) - this time the recommended action was to remove the infected files, so I did - I figured that way they wouldn't be coming back. But when I put the drive back in the laptop, I got the same message.

    A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

    I'm guessing, at this point, that one or more of the infected files were in the boot sector, so what I need to do is to rebuild the boot sector. But the only CDs I have are for XP Pro. I need an emergency boot disk for XP Home. Can I use files from my XP Pro CD to create a boot CD for XP Home, or am I out of luck in that regard?
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    I think you need an XP home CD to fix this, and if the computer has had any service packs installed you need to create a slipstreamed CD with the right service pack if you want to do a repair install.

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    I kept looking, and found this link

    My link

    The ISO file purports to be for both XP Pro and Home (provided SP2 was installed, and of that I have no idea).
    But when I boot with the CD I create, I receive a message that

    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.

    Only problem is, there's no way to copy over that file, since this is all I get (no C prompt with which to use the COPY command), and Safe mode gets me the same error message as booting into regular Windows.

    I don't suppose there is a way to create a CD with which I can boot into "DOS" and so copy the file that way?

    (I am avoiding interfacing with the neighbor if possible, since this has unfortunately taken a definite "business vs. neighbor" turn. Else I would just go over and ask for the XP Home CD).
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    I really do think you need to do a repair install of Windows, so if there is any way that you can get your neighbour's XP Home CD then that is likely to be your best option.

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Understood.
    (There's a whole back story to this that I will spare you, but I do request a few )
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmoore View Post
    The ISO file purports to be for both XP Pro and Home (provided SP2 was installed, and of that I have no idea).
    But when I boot with the CD I create, I receive a message that

    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.
    djmoore:

    In my experience, the hal.dll error comes about most often when the partition table is messed up -- giving you a very good reason for not being able to find the first file the boot process looks for in the Windows directory. Do you have Partition Magic or or another such utility? Use that to check the hard drive for errors.

  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    And here I just got back with the XP Home CD, and all ...

    I know a Windows install wipes everything out, so for that I would have to do a backup; but how about for a Windows Repair? I guess it is wise to do a backup, but the very real possibility of viruses still being among those files makes me reluctant to use any of my own hard drives for that purpose.

    What is the risk factor with a Windows Repair?
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmoore View Post
    And here I just got back with the XP Home CD, and all ...

    I know a Windows install wipes everything out, so for that I would have to do a backup; but how about for a Windows Repair? I guess it is wise to do a backup, but the very real possibility of viruses still being among those files makes me reluctant to use any of my own hard drives for that purpose.

    What is the risk factor with a Windows Repair?
    I would ALWAYS do a backup before starting to do anything like this. I understand your reluctance to use any existing drive to store the virus ridden content of this system. An empty external disk drive would be your best bet.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmoore View Post
    the very real possibility of viruses still being among those files makes me reluctant to use any of my own hard drives for [this backup].
    djmoore:

    That's why God invented writable DVDs. I would definitely make a backup before doing anything else, even if it's virus-infested. If you made a backup before starting anything at all, I wouldn't bother making another backup at this stage, though.

    And if your backup software can't find your hard drive, then you'll know it's a messed-up partition table...

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmoore View Post
    And here I just got back with the XP Home CD, and all ...

    I know a Windows install wipes everything out, so for that I would have to do a backup; but how about for a Windows Repair? I guess it is wise to do a backup, but the very real possibility of viruses still being among those files makes me reluctant to use any of my own hard drives for that purpose.

    What is the risk factor with a Windows Repair?
    Definitely do a backup to a CD\DVD before repairing.
    A repair reinstall will just repair your System files and not your apps. Boot to the XP CD and use the SECOND screen choice for a repair install, not the first screen. ( which is Repair Console ) You may still be left with virus laden app files though. The Repair will not erase anything in those areas.
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  11. #11
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Well, I'm at the option to run the Repair Console - which I've never had to use before. I got to the C prompt, listed the command options, and settled on either FIXBOOT or FIXMBR.

    (There is no option for Repair Install - just "setup Windows now", Recovery Console, and "quit setup without installing Windows"; I guess because it is a XP Home Edition CD?)

    Then I wasn't sure which one was the best to use, or how big the risk to data would be with one vs. the other. So I did a lookup here ... got sent to the WindowsSecrets main page for the search results (I haven't been around that much, so that part was new to me) ... and saw that I needed to know what file format was being used. So I pulled the drive again, hooked it up to my PC, and found that it's a NTFS partition.
    Here is an excerpt from the Microsoft KB article I was directed to:

    Run a current virus scanning program to verify that no virus is present.
    Repair the master boot record by using the FIXMBR command from the Windows XP Recovery Console.

    Warning If your computer is infected with a virus and you use the FIXMBR command, you may be unable to start the computer. Before you use this command, make sure that the computer is not infected with a virus.
    If the primary boot partition is a FAT partition, use the FIXBOOT command from the Windows XP Recovery Console to write a new boot sector on the system partition, and then use the FIXMBR command to repair the master boot record.
    This is like a Catch-22, with the virus bit. But the gist of it, if I understand correctly, is that with an NTFS partition I just use the FIXMBR command. I have all the data backed up (copied) on an oldie but goodie spare HDD (I never use burnable DVDs, so I never bothered to get any to have around) - so here goes nothing!
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  12. #12
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Hi Don,

    I think you should go back into the Rec. Console and use:
    Code:
    Attrib -H -R -S C:\Boot.ini
    DEL C:\Boot.ini
    BootCfg /Rebuild
    Fixboot
    I used to use both fixmbr and fixboot, usually worked in the simple cases

    Checkout Kellys Korner.

    Good luck (and thanks for the cookie ^^)

  13. #13
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Thanks for that link, Andy - the scenario after the one you quoted seems to be just what is happening in my situation.

    I tried FIXMBR, and nothing happened; I tried CHKDSK /R and nothing happened. I'll try to replace the HAL.DLL file; what could go wrong?

    ============================================

    Well, nothing went wrong - but nothing went right, either.

    Next up - the suggestion that Andy recommended. No offense, Andy, but I don't know enough about those commands and I'd like a "second opinion" before I try it.
    So, if anybody can give me a read on the command

    Attrib -H -R -S C:\Boot.ini
    DEL C:\Boot.ini
    BootCfg /Rebuild
    Fixboot
    I can say that the blue screen I get now does not mention the hal.dll file - it has gone back to warning me about possible viruses.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  14. #14
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Attrib is attribute, in this instance, it removes the attributes of the Boot.ini file so that it can be deleted. DEL = delete, BootCfg /Rebuild and Fixboot will then scan the drives for the correct boot drive and system drive(s), repair the settings and renew the Boot.ini file.

    Recovery Console Commands.

  15. #15
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmoore View Post
    ...
    (There is no option for Repair Install - just "setup Windows now", Recovery Console, and "quit setup without installing Windows"; I guess because it is a XP Home Edition CD?)
    ...
    See Perform a Repair Installation on the Microsoft web site.



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