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Boot Error Messages

This page is a compilation of error messages that are commonly observed during the boot sequence.  Because some messages generated by Windows are so misleading, the user would look for the cause at wrong places.  Messages are listed in the order of progression of the boot sequence.

    1. When any device in the BIOS's boot device list is ready, the following error message will be issued.  It also applies the designated boot device whose MBR is not properly initialized.  The wording depends upon the BIOS manufacturer.  There seems to be no agreed-upon standard.  Only two samples are shown.

      BIOS by Award


        PRESS A KEY TO REBOOT

      BIOS by American Megatrend


        Reboot and Select proper Boot device
        or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key

      The error message in this case is quite vague and does not provide a specific cause of the failure.  It is a result of not finding anything bootable device.

      Basically, the message tells you that the first round of boot sequence failed and it is ready to repeat the boot sequence from scratch.

      • Remedy:

          It is often a result of simple mistake in your BIOS setup.  You might have simply forgotten to load the disette in the FDD. 

          Check the BIOS settings in the boot device list. 

          If the problem persists, you may try the Quick Boot Diskette (QBD) method.  The QBD with an appropriate entry in the BOOT.INI file will allow you to select any volume (Disk Number and Partitioin Number).  Once you successfully boot into the Windows, you may fix the problem (via the Disk Management utility). 

          The beauty of the QBD method is that you may create a QBD by running XXCLONE on another computer.  The previous pages in the Technical Notes should provide additional help.


    2. When the disk drive with the Disk Number that corresponds to the selection made inside the boot menu (either by default or by manual selection) does not exist, the following error message will appear:


        Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware
        configuration problem.
        Could not read from the selected boot disk.  Check boot path
        and disk hardware.
        Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk
        configuration and your hardware reference manuals for
        additional information.

      Note that this message appears even if you have not seen the boot menu because the menu appears only when there are two or more choices in the BOOT.INI file.

      The message may have proper contexts to appear elsewhere.  But, not here.  It is our experience that this message was observed only when the actual problem is a simple mismatch in the Disk Number.

      This is exactly why XXCLONE creates the boot menu entry with the visble Disk Number (and the Partition Number).  We recommend that you include these numbers in the visible part of the boot menu when you edit your own BOOT.INI file.

      • Remedy:

          First, you need to determine what was the Disk Number which caused the error condition.  This may involve the examination of the BOOT.INI file. 

          If you are not sure of what Disk Number the BIOS actually assigned to the desired disk, you should edit the BOOT.INI file and add extra lines of selection with all possible Disk Numbers.  As noted in the BIOS Settings page, the BIOS may assign a Disk Number that is different from what Windows (XXCLONE and the Disk Management utility) shows to you.  See some examples in the About the BOOT.INI File.


    3. After you select a line in the boot menu, the system will start accessing the disk(s) for a while and may display the following message (which is definitely misleading).


        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.

      This is also one of the very common messages that many users encounter.  If interpreted literally, you may be led to believe that the presence of the hal.dll file in the Windows system directory would solve the problem.

      It is our expeirnece that most often than not, the real problem is not the absence of the hal.dll file, but the absence of the whole directory.

      Many times, this error message is the result of selecting a volume that actually exists (with the Disk Number and Partition Number that correspond to the boot menu selection), but in a wrong volume.  There are a few plausible reasons for such a condition:

          1. A line that points to a non-system volume was selected.
          2. The directory name (typically, \WINDOWS) in the BOOT.INI file was not typed correctly.
          3. The Disk Number or the Partition Number assigned to the intended volume was different from what you expected.

            If your computer has both Serial ATA (SATA) and Paralel ATA (PATA, or the traditional IDE) type disks, you should suspect a Disk Number mismatch.

      Try this.  You deliberately misspell the windows directory name in the BOOT.INI file.  E.g., in the BOOT.INI file you enter

        multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WIDOWS="Win XP" /fastdetect

      Here, the system directory, "\WINDOWS" is spelled wrong without the "N".  You will then see the error message as shown above that points to a wrong direction.

      • Remedy:

          Since the true cause of the error condition is the absence of the Windows system directory as specified in the BOOT.INI file, you should select the proper line in the boot menu.  If the BOOT.INI file does not contain a line with the right parameters including the name of the Windows directory, you should create one by editing the BOOT.INI file.

          Although the wording and the exact cause is slightly different from the error message shown earlier, the same remedy described above also applies to this case.

          First, you need to determine what Disk Number and the Partition Number were actually assigned to the to the Target volume.  Apparently, one of the values or both do not match what were selected from the boot menu.

          If you are not sure of what Disk Number the BIOS actually assigned to the desired disk, you should edit the BOOT.INI file and add extra lines of selection with all possible Disk Numbers.  As noted in the BIOS Settings page, the BIOS may assign a Disk Number that is different from what Windows (XXCLONE and the Disk Management utility) shows to you.  See some examples in the About the BOOT.INI File.