Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

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Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Ambertus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:39 pm

I've been struggling mightily recently with one of my XP boxes, a home-built w/Asus P5WDG2 WS Pro mobo with Intel Q9650 quad-core, and both SCSI-320 RAID & Sil-3124 SATA RAID boot partitions, running 32-bit XP Pro/SP3. I'm using BootIt Bare Metal v1.19, released 10-Jun-2013, and I let it choose to install in its own partition automatically. I previously had v1.15 installed, but upgraded to v1.19

Here's my problem(s):

While troubleshooting a different problem, I copied my SCSI-320 RAID boot partition to a Sil-3124 SATA RAID boot partition so that I could disconnect the SCSI-320 drives. Then I performed a "repair install" of XP Pro to the copied partition using a disc containing all the latest post-SP3 updates and fixes along with the proper Sil-3124 SATA RAID drivers (created using nLite), which succeeded perfectly.

However, I then got "Windows Could not Start Because the Following File is Missing or Corrupt" (HAL.DLL), as discussed on Terabytes's Knowledge Base here: https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=130. Boot.ini is set to boot from partition 1, but I'm confused about whether or not that's correct. You see, the actual boot partition starts at the front of the disk at sector 63, and is the first active NTFS primary partition, so it sure seems to me that boot.ini SHOULD point to partition 1 (but that causes the missing/corrupt HAL.DLL). However, when I go into "BIBM -> Partition Work -> View MBR", the boot partition is shown THIRD in the list, but I'm not sure that's what matters, because that Knowledge Base article 130 states that primary partitions are counted first and I don't know whether to count entries 1 & 2 or not. Also, if I go into "BIBM -> Boot Edit" and select the main (default) boot entry and select "Edit", the boot partition is listed third again, yet under "Boot Details -> Boot" I've properly selected the correct boot partition. Am I doing all that right? What SHOULD the boot.ini entry point to?

Anyway, when I encountered the "missing/corrupt HAL.DLL" message, I read that knowledge base article (# 130) and opted to perform the second approach, under the heading: "If you choose to edit the MBR Details and leave BOOT.INI as-is, proceed as follows". I moved the correct boot partition up to the top, saved, and booted. When I booted, however, it completely bypassed the BIBM process (perhaps because it wasn't pointed to the BIBM EMBR??). XP then directly booted into the correct partition, but it refused to set the drive letter to "C:" (it used "E:" instead, even though nothing else used drive letter C). As a result of not using letter C, there were some startup problems and thus this situation is unacceptable; the boot drive letter MUST be C!

The first thing I did after that was to re-activate BIBM, so that I could use its great features, such as "Partition Work" and so forth. I then read Knowledge Base article 178 (https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=178), about fixing drive letter assignments, and I chose the second option: "By clearing the disk signature using BootIt BM, as follows". However, after doing that, I was right back to the "missing/corrupt HAL.DLL message"!

I really tried to solve this problem myself, but I'm stumped as to just what I should do. Please help?

Thanks.

Additional clarifications: The SCSI-320 drives were disconnected at all times during the above (though the Adaptec HBA adapter is still connected). The ONLY hard disk storage connected was a single RAID 0 array of two identical SATA drives, standard simple partitioned with Acronis Disk Director 11 update 2. There are a total of four partitions, three of which are primary partitions (two NTFS primaries consisting of the XP Pro boot partition and one general-use NTFS partition, plus the one BootIt EMBR FAT-16 partition), and one general-use NTFS logical partition.

Edited to add: By the way, I eventually tried editing boot.ini to point to partition 3, but that caused the "missing/corrupt HAL.DLL" message as well.
Last edited by Ambertus on Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ambertus
 
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Brian K » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:58 pm

Ambertus,

It sounds like your WinXP wants to be E: drive. Was it C: in the past?

You can use setwindl.tbs from the BIBM Run icon to change the drive letter. Try C:
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Ambertus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:15 pm

Thanks for your reply, Brian!

Yes, the boot drive letter has always been "C". Note that this system USED to boot from a SCSI-320 RAID 0 boot partition with drive letter "C", but as described above, I copied that partition to a SATA RAID 0 partition, which I think is why it tried to use drive letter "E" when I booted from that copy.

I'm unfamiliar with setwindl.tbs, but I'll look it up and give it a try.

Note, however, that I'm currently getting the "missing/corrupt HAL.DLL" message, so that problem has to be solved first before I can try setwindl.tbs...
Ambertus
 
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Brian K » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:26 pm

By clearing the Disk Signature you caused an E: drive OS to be non bootable. Have a look in setwindl.tbs and see which drive letter WinXP is using.
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Ambertus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:37 pm

Brian, I'm following up on my last reply. As I said, I'm still getting "missing/corrupt HAL.DLL", but I ran the setwindl.tbs script anyway (man, the scripts included with tbosdts_pro are awesome!).

Anyway, I see that the script will let you pre-assign drive letters to any partition EXCEPT the boot partition. According to knowledge base article 180 (http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=180), it seems to me that Windows SHOULD assign drive letter C to my boot partition, which as far as I know IS the first active partition on HD0 (there are no other HDs in this system currently). setwindl.tbs shows that also, so I don't understand why it was using drive letter E.

But again, that's all probably moot until I can boot from the proper partition without getting the "missing/corrupt HAL.DLL" message...
Ambertus
 
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Brian K » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:40 pm

Ambertus wrote:
>
>
> Anyway, I see that the script will let you pre-assign drive letters to any
> partition EXCEPT the boot partition.

That's not true. You can assign a drive letter to an OS partition.

What is the drive letter of your WinXP in that script?
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Ambertus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:46 pm

Brian K wrote:
> By clearing the Disk Signature you caused an E: drive OS to be non
> bootable. Have a look in setwindl.tbs and see which drive letter WinXP is
> using.

Thanks again, Brian!

When I run setwindl.tbs, there is an asterisk in front of the correct boot partition entry, but there is no drive letter listed (and it won't let me assign one). That entry shows as follows:

*Sil_BootSys (138238 MiB) Partition (03) HPFS/NTFS (__) -System

If a drive letter could be assigned, it would show up between the parenthesis (__), but since it won't allow a drive letter assignment, it doesn't show a letter. It seems very much to me that setwindl.tbs was specifically designed to disallow drive letter assignments to the boot partition.
Ambertus
 
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Ambertus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:48 pm

Brian K wrote:
> Ambertus wrote:
> >
> >
> > Anyway, I see that the script will let you pre-assign drive letters to any
> > partition EXCEPT the boot partition.
>
> That's not true. You can assign a drive letter to an OS partition.
>
> What is the drive letter of your WinXP in that script?

It definitely will NOT allow me to assign a drive letter to the boot partition. When I use the script to select that partition, it displays as message reading: "Caution: The selected Partition is the System Drive", and when I select "Continue" anyway, it ignores me completely and goes right back to the partition list again.

Is it possible that the latest script version has been changed so as not to allow drive letter assignments to the system partition?
Ambertus
 
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Brian K » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:53 pm

Ambertus wrote:

> It definitely will NOT allow me to assign a drive letter to the boot partition. When
> I use the script to select that partition, it displays as message reading:
> "Caution: The selected Partition is the System Drive", and when I select
> "Continue" anyway, it ignores me completely and goes right back to the
> partition list again.
>
> Is it possible that the latest script version has been changed so as not to allow
> drive letter assignments to the system partition?

Strange, I can assign any drive letter I like to the WinXP partition. I'm using the same BIBM as you.

When I click Continue I see a screen called "Select Letter to Assign to HD0 Partition".
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Re: Help with XP boot.ini, partition #s, drive letters?

Postby Ambertus » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:06 am

Brian, I trust you completely! I know from past experience that you're quite an expert!

But I don't know what else to tell you: It simply isn't working for me. It WILL let me assign any available drive letters to any OTHER partition, but it will NOT even prompt me for a drive letter when I choose the system partition. I've tried three times now after booting from scratch into BIBM, and it always warns me that I shouldn't select the system partition and that I should choose a different one, and even if I ignore the warning and choose it anyway, it ALWAYS ignores me and simply lists the partitions again.

Might it have something to do with the fact that I'm working with standard MBR 32-bit XP Pro and not using the new Vista+ boot format?

Or might it have something to do with the fact that I still can't boot without the missing HAL.DLL message?

Believe me, I WANT to do anything I can to make this work, and I'm definitely NOT lying to you! I just don't know what else to try...
Ambertus
 
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