If you shop at Tom Thumb, you’re probably familiar with the Just for U app or the website. It’s infuriating to use isn’t it? It takes you 20 minutes or more to scroll through and click the coupons. Who has time for that? Well, I thought the same thing and failed at figuring out how to write the jquery or javascript to accomplish this. But this guy didn’t: https://github.com/nishnet2002/Safeway-Just-for-u

There are multiple ways to run this code, but since I use Firefox as my main browser, I ran this code in the Console on the add-on/extension named Firebug. So login to your Tom Thumb just for u account on tomthumb.com, go to the coupon page, view all coupons on one page, right click anywhere on the page, select “Inspect Element with Firebug”, click the “Console” tab, copy the below code, paste it on the right side of Firebug’s two column screen, click “Run” and it will select and click all coupons that have not already been added to your account. :)

javascript:(function(e,a,g,h,f,c,b,d){if(!(f=e.jQuery)||g>f.fn.jquery||h(f)){c=a.createElement("script");c.type="text/javascript";c.src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/"+g+"/jquery.min.js";c.onload=c.onreadystatechange=function(){if(!b&&(!(d=this.readyState)||d=="loaded"||d=="complete")){h((f=e.jQuery).noConflict(1),b=1);f(c).remove()}};a.documentElement.childNodes[0].appendChild(c)}})(window,document,"1.7.2",function($,L){function OfferProcessor(c,f){var d=c;var b=0;var a=f;var e="/Clipping1/services/clip/offers";return{processOffers:function(l){var p=l.offers;var n=0;for(var m=0;m 0){alert("J4U - Added "+f+" 'Coupon Center' coupons and \n "+g+" 'Personalized Deals' Coupons. \n Please reload the page.")}};c.setCallback(a);b.process();e.process();d.process()});});

The creator of this amazing code also has an app you can download onto your phone for $2 to do this work for you. Click the link to his page above to see how to get that.

How to fix: Adobe Photoshop CS6 crashes every time you open a file

I had this issue today, and had to spend some time researching it. I found the solution here: where someone named Romeo Fahl typed up the solution to my problem.

First things first, this solution worked on a 64-bit Windows 7 computer with Adobe Creative Suite 6. When my Photoshop would crash, it would happen immediately after opening ANY file. If I looked at the details of the crash, it would say CoreFoundation_v11x64.dll caused the crash. That dll is related to the program Extensis Suitcase, which I use for font management, and so if that’s your problem, you likely use it as well. If you are using a Windows computer and that dll is causing your crash, here’s instructions for how to fix it.

All credit for this solution goes to Romeo Fahl:

The following steps should take care of the issue:

1) In Suitcase, go to Edit -> Preferences
2) Switch to the Type Core tab and click on ‘Stop Type Core…’
3) Confirm that you want to continue by clicking on ‘Stop Type Core’ button in the message that pops up
4) Remove:
[64 bit] = C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6 (64 Bit)\Plug-ins\Automate\ExtensisFontManagementPSCCx64.8li
[32 bit] = C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6\Plug-ins\Automate\ExtensisFontManagementPSCC.8li

5) Launch Suitcase
6) Launch Photoshop
7) Open a file, such as a JPG or PDF in Photoshop. Make some changes and save it.

If the error message is gone, then:

1) Quit Photoshop
2) Launch Suitcase
3) Choose Tools > Manage Plugins and check the Photoshop CC box to reinstall the plugin
4) Launch Photoshop

Problem solved (hopefully).

If you continue to have problems, check out this site: http://www.extensis.com/support/knowledge-base/troubleshooting-font-problems-on-a-windows-pc/

In my case, I continued to have problems, but found the solution.

For me:

1) Open Photoshop
2) File -> Automate -> Extensis -> Preferences
3) Uncheck “Enable Suitcase Fusion 4 Auto-Activation”

For me, auto-activation has never worked in the first place. I have always had to turn the fonts on in Suitcase before opening the document. With this unchecked, I no longer have the problem, and can go about my business. Hooray!

If you have a Windows 7 64-bit computer and Acrobat Professional just won’t launch at all and will not open ANY pdf file, follow the instructions below. (This happens exactly 30 days after you install the software).

Windows key + E to open Explorer. Navigate to C:\ > Program Files (x86) > Common Files > Adobe > Adobe PCD > Cache > Cache.db

Once you’re there, RENAME Cache.db as “Cache.old.db”

Now you can launch the appliation or open a PDF. It will give you the software license agreement. Accept it.

It will tell you it’s a trial, so you have to click on “License this software”

You must sign in to your Adobe account.

Then enter your license number. And that’s it! All fixed.

Credit goes to Evadobe1 from the Adobe forums for posting this solution that I’ve paraphrased.

Note: if Acrobat opens for a second and then seems to crash and you cannot (again) open any PDFs muchless Acrobat, do this (credit to Amrita Chakrabarti):

For all the users who have faced a problem where Acrobat did not launch after 30 days of serializing with a suite serial number, please execute the following workaround:

1 Make sure you are connected to the internet.
2 Launch a regular CS6 product other than Acrobat or Flash Builder (for example: Photoshop, After Effects, Premier Pro, InDesign, Flash Professional, Illustrator, Dreamweaver.)
3 Click on Help->Deactivate .
4 Deactivate the application. Quit application.
5 Launch a regular CS6 product other than Acrobat or Flash Builder (for example: Photoshop, After Effects, Premier Pro, InDesign, Flash Professional, Illustrator, Dreamweaver.)
6 Accept Eula.
7 Register trial by signing in. Let the app launch.
8 Quit and relaunch the app. Wait for UI to come.
9 Click on License This Software button on the UI.
10 Click on Sign in .
11 Serial number screen will come
12 Enter the serial number in the serial number screen and click Next.
13 Quit app and relaunch the app while connected on the internet.

After this if you launch Acrobat it will launch and run forever without trouble. In case you still face a problem , try relaunching the other CS6 app once more and then launch Acrobat.

Two days ago, I turned on my Dell desktop computer, and encountered a major problem.

A black screen immediately loaded and said:

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, of course, freaked me out, as the computer would not load Windows and I couldn’t get into safe mode or anything. I immediately got on my laptop and started researching the problem.

As typical, 90% of the responses you’ll find on message boards have so-called experts suggesting you reinstall Windows. These people must not mind reinstalling what would now be about 10 years worth of Windows Updates again and reinstalling all other software you find necessary to have on your computer. This is not a solution. This is the idiot’s way out, and you’ll sure feel like an idiot, especially if you have to spend the next 2 or 3 days reinstalling Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, your printer drivers, and everything else. Don’t do this.

You’ll also find some seemingly quick and easy methods (some of which I outline below) but if your computer is like mine, the quick and easy method isn’t going to work at all.

What causes the hal.dll file to go missing or become corrupted?

I have no idea.

The only thing I did different from any other day was install a program called Samsung PC Studio V.7.2 in an effort to make a backup copy of my phone contacts. Turned out my phone was not supported by the program and it wouldn’t work. I uninstalled all three Samsung programs the program installed and shut my computer off. The next day, I turned on my computer and found the above message. This was possibly coincidental.

A possible reason this problem happened I found through my research yesterday… Someone suggested that hal.dll problems are occasionally due to the computer shutting down improperly from a power outage, multiple power outages, or other reasons. It’s summer (as I’m writing this) in Dallas, TX and it’s been over 100 degrees every day the past month. My power has gone out multiple times both while I’ve been on the computer and while it was turned off due to tree branches falling on nearby power lines and rolling blackouts.

I don’t recommend these methods, but read my comments before starting:

I don’t necessarily endorse these methods, because to my knowledge, they did not help me whatsoever.

One of the most popular results for fixing this problem is a video created by Britec on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvMkt9fkHCI I did both parts of what he suggests, and it did not help me. It would get me to a screen that would say something about the computer being improperly shut down and it would give me the option of starting Windows regularly, with last known good configuration, and in three different versions of safe mode. Regular start up would freeze on the Windows XP loading screen, last known good configuration would freeze, and safe mode would spout out several dozen similar codes like “multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\windows\system32\drivers\acpi.sys” and then freeze. I did not wait more than a few seconds with that entire screen of similar codes on the screen, but it’s possible that Windows may have eventually started. I think this method is flawed because it does not address the fact that if your computer has a Pentium D, two processors, or dual/quad core processors, the hal.dll file is actually the wrong file to get from the Windows XP cd and he also doesn’t mention that you need /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN in addition to /fastdetect on computers like mine. So let’s skip this unless you know for a fact you only have one processor.

Next thing I tried was on Britec’s website. http://www.briteccomputers.co.uk/forum/tutorials-and-how-to/how-to-fix-missing-or-corrupt-system32hal-dll/ These instructions are a bit different, but flawed as well because they didn’t help me. One thing that doesn’t work on either of Britec’s methods (which have obviously become the default method for fixing this problem–saw it copy and pasted all over google) is typing “attrib -h -s -r”, you have to do those commands individually or it doesn’t even work. Ex: attrib -h c:\\boot.ini

This solution may have actually worked, had I not already screwed up the hal.dll files thanks to Britec’s methods. If nothing else, it’s worth reading because you’ll start to understand things and get to see screenshots I’m not providing in my blog. http://tech.icrontic.com/articles/repair_windows_xp/ The info about /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN being mandatory for CPUs featuring Intel’s XD or AMD’s NX buffer overflow protection is important and not defined on any of the other links I’m posting.

What are you going to need to fix the hal.dll problem?

First of all, you’re going to need a few things, especially if you have files on your C: drive you want to save before continuing:

  1. a Windows XP cd (doesn’t have to be the one that came with your computer)
  2. another computer with internet access that can burn a CD-R
  3. one CD-R
  4. an external hard drive (USB one) that you can use to save your important files from the C: drive
  5. a great deal of computer literacy and/or patience as this process isn’t fun, fast, or easy

Getting to your files and saving them to another hard drive

I had a lot of files on my desktop that I really had to make sure I wouldn’t lose, should reinstalling Windows be my only option. I heavily recommend that you try to copy your files, so that’s what we’re going to do.

You’ll find that no matter how good of a programmer you are in Windows Recovery Console (which you’re going to be very familiar with soon) you aren’t going to be able to copy your files from My Documents, your Desktop, etc. from your C: drive to an external drive. You will get “Access Denied” as a response, and this cannot be undone easily, and especially cannot be fixed if you have Windows XP Home Edition (like me) instead of Windows XP Professional. I’m not going to go into detail about this. It’s faster and easier to do what I did.

What you’re going to do is follow the instructions here: http://www.datarecoverytutorial.com/how-to-recover-files-from-laptop-with-crashed-windows/ (Update 11/26/14: Avast reports this site as an attack site… so don’t go to it. Google “how to recover files from Windows using knoppix” and hopefully that will get you similar instructions). This page is a little outdated, but it’s important. These instructions work on both desktops and laptops. I’ll summarize the info below, in case the link goes dead at some time in the future.

What you’re going to do is download an Operating System called Knoppix on your working computer with CD burner. Knoppix is based on Linux. Now, if you’re like me, you’re computer literate, but you’re not even really all that sure what Linux is or even care. No worries. You still don’t really need to know.

So go to http://knopper.net/knoppix-mirrors/index-en.html and download the latest version of Knoppix. Yeah, the website is a bit confusing. I just clicked the first ftp link, accepted the agreement, and downloaded “KNOPPIX_V6.4.4CD-2011-01-30-DE.iso” from their file list. Looking back, I probably should have downloaded the iso from one of the sites in the list located in the US or England, because my Knoppix is in German… and I don’t speak German.

When the download finishes, virus scan it, and then try right clicking it. If you’re lucky, the context menu might say something along the lines of “burn CD image”. If not, you can download a free program called CDburnerXP from http://cdburnerxp.se/ . I was lucky, I didn’t have to install burning software to burn an iso.

Burn the ISO to a CD.

Turn on your hal.dll problem computer, and there should be an F key on your keyboard that will allow you to start your computer from a CD. In the case of my Dell, I have to press and hold the F12 button just after the DELL logo comes up on my screen seconds after hitting the power button. You may have to press F11, F10, or something else. For our purposes, I’m just going to assume F12 works for you. A menu should come up and you’ll be able to select your DVD/CDRW/CDR/CDROM drive. Open your CD drive first and stick your new Knoppix CD in the drive. Then select the CD drive and it’ll come up with a message that says to press any key to continue and you better immediately press a button (I just press one of the cursor buttons like up or down) or it’ll time out and take you back to the hal.dll error page or the page about improper shutdown and safe mode.

The CD will start spinning and the Knoppix loading screen will come up. Don’t touch anything, just let it load. It’ll load a desktop that looks similar to a Mac eventually.

Depending on what version of Knoppix you downloaded, these instructions could be a bit different. I used a German version of 6.4.4

There’s an icon on the upper left of the desktop, click or double click it. It’ll open a window similar to My Computer on Windows. On the left side of it, just like a Mac, there will be your C: hard drive with a funny name and any other drives you have plugged in. If it isn’t plugged in already, go ahead and plug your USB external hard drive into your computer now. It’ll show up on the left side and likely have a name of some sort. What I’d do is click or double click the icon on the desktop again to open up a new tab or window. View both your C: drive and your external drive at the same time. Make a new folder in your external drive and name it something like “c backup”. Go to your C: drive tab/window and locate the files you need to save.

Most of what you need is probably located in C:\documents and settings\brandon\ (where brandon is your user name on the computer). A few things might be located in C:\documents and settings\all users\. Just hover or select the folder (such as desktop) you want to copy, press ctrl + c, go to the window/tab with your external hard drive, and ctrl + v inside your “c backup” folder to paste the entire folder.

Tip 1: If you’re a firefox user, some of your important custom settings are located in a folder called Application Data inside C:\documents and settings\brandon. You’re going to want to save the Mozilla folder to your external hard drive. If you have a big external drive, you might as well save all of your application data files from brandon as well as all users into separate folders named as such.

Tip 2: The two folders you definitely want are brandon\desktop and brandon\my documents. If you have a large external drive, you could go ahead and save C:\program files to it just so you have a list of all programs you have installed on your C: drive. You’ll still have to reinstall them should you have to redo Windows, but at least you’ll have the names, add ons (such as Photoshop brushes), etc. that’ll help when you’re putting your computer back to the way it was.

Depending on how much stuff you have, this could take a few hours to copy over. When it’s done, close the open windows/tabs, and wait a few minutes for your external drive to go idle (you can probably hear it power down) and then you can unplug it.

Since I couldn’t read German, I didn’t know how to shut down the computer. If you press and hold the on/off button, a message will come up, you’ll click the equivalent of “yes” and it’ll send a kill signal to Knoppix and start shutting down. It’ll spit the CD out, take it out, close the drive, and then press enter and your computer will turn off.

You have your files backed up, now let’s start fixing the hal.dll file issues!!!

To fix the hal.dll issues, you’re going to need a Windows XP cd, a ton of patience, and a basic understanding of some coding doesn’t hurt.

Microsoft has some of the coding commands explained here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058 (since Microsoft’s support section ends up with dead links usually, the article is titled “Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console for advanced users” so you might be able to google that). You don’t NEED to read any of this, but it helps if you run into something you don’t understand.

Now here’s the great part. A user named TheOutcaste wrote up EXACTLY, yes, 100% exactly, what you need to do to fix your hal.dll issues here: http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f10/corrupt-hal-dll-on-boot-running-into-recovery-console-problems-need-help-528313.html Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a post he typed that must have taken him 5 hours to type!

I am copy and pasting it below, and adding additional comments and changes in a green color where I feel necessary. Thank God for TheOutcaste or I wouldn’t be on my WORKING computer right now. I’m not an expert. He is.

How to fix the missing or corrupt <windows root>\system32\hal.dll error.

This could be due to an invalid boot.ini file, which is more common than the hal.dll file actually being missing or corrupted. Could be other things contributing as well. My hal.dll file was messed up no matter what from trying Britec’s methods and other methods I found online before this one.

First, boot to the XP Recovery Console.
Set your system to boot from CD, either by setting the boot order in the BIOS, or using the boot menu if your system provides one, usually by pressing one of the FX keys; F9, F10, F12 are common.
Insert the Windows XP CD and boot the system.
When prompted to Press any key to boot from CD… press any key like Spacebar or Enter

When you boot from the CD, the following is displayed:
On a black screen:
Setup is inspecting your computer’s hardware configuration…
Screen turns Blue, and Windows Setup is displayed at the top.
at the bottom is displayed the following in sequence:
Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver
Press F2 to run Automated System Recovery (ASR)…
Setup is loading files (file names displayed)
Title changes to Windows XP Professional (or Home Edition) Setup

The options to setup or repair Windows are displayed
Choose To repair a Windows XP installation using recovery console, press R.
You may need to choose the Windows installation if you have a dual boot system. Type the number of the Windows installation you want to log into.
You will need to enter the Administrator password unless you previously disabled that requirement; if it’s blank, just press enter.

You should now be at a C:\WINDOWS> prompt
Type the following lines pressing Enter after each one. Change the drive letter if needed.
Note that there are spaces between each differently colored part of the commands:

  1. CD \ (There is a space after CD)
  2. Ren Boot.ini Boot.old
    If you get an error that the file can’t be found skip step 3.
  3. Type Exit. This will reboot the system. Re-enter the Recovery Console and start at step 4.
    (If you don’t reboot, any previous entries in the boot.ini file might get added again, as they are stored in memory)
  4. Type BootCfg /Rebuild

This will go through several prompts.
The following is an example. You would type the colored text:

Scanning all disks for Windows installations.

Please wait, since this may take a while...

The Windows installation scan was successful.

Note: These results are stored statically for this session.
      If the disk configuration changes during this session,
      in order to get an updated scan, you must first reboot
      the machine and then rescan the disks.

Total identified Windows installs: 1

Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All):y
Enter Load Identifier:Microsoft Windows XP Professional (or whatever you want to id the OS)
I recommend something a bit easier to identify like "Windows XP Redo"
Enter OS Load Options:/noexecute=optin /fastdetect
Note: There is a space between optin and /fastdetect

Type Fixboot
type Y to write the new boot sector

What if fixboot wants to do it on something other than my c: drive?!

When I was doing what TheOutcaste said, I had a flash drive plugged into my computer still. When I did fixboot, it wanted to put it on my flashdrive which it was calling the D: drive. I removed the drive and it still wanted to put it there.

My solution was to type “exit”, restart, F12, R, etc. to get back into the recovery console without the computer thinking I had the flash drive still plugged in, but according to this http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/bootcons_fixboot.mspx?mfr=true I could have simply typed “fixboot c:”

Remove the CD, then type Exit and see if it will boot into Windows.

If that doesn’t work, (didn’t work for me) we can try replacing the hal.dll file, either from the ServicePackFiles folder (if present) or the CD.
There are 7 different versions of the hal.dll file. When Windows XP is installed, it selects the correct file from one of the following and renames it to hal.dll

HAL File Copied    Computer Description in Device Manager
Halmacpi.dll       ACPI Multiprocessor PC
Halaacpi.dll       ACPI Uniprocessor PC
Halacpi.dll        Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC
Halmps.dll         MPS Multiprocessor PC
Halapic.dll        MPS Uniprocessor PC
Hal.dll            Standard PC
Halsp.dll          Compaq SystemPro Multiprocessor or 100% Compatible

The first three are the most common. If you have two processors, or a dual/quad core processor, the ACPI MultiProcessor PC hal (halmacpi.dll) is the one to use.
If a Single core/Single processor, one of the next two should be chosen, Halaacpi.dll or Halacpi.dll.
If you are not sure, you can pick the Standard PC Hal.dll, and then we can check the version of the old file after booting to Safe Mode, then correct our choice if needed.
Running System Restore after replacing the hal.dll file might not replace this file with the correct version, so easiest to replace it manually.

There are two other files that are tied to the hal.dll. They are:

For single processor systems, the files are named the same as above.
For multi-processor systems, these two files get renamed:
ntkrnlmp.exe -> ntoskrnl.exe
-> ntkrnlpa.exe
I haven’t tested all combinations of these files to see which will work. If you install the Standard PC hal.dll, you may need to also install the single processor versions of ntoskrnl.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe or the system might not boot. I have a Pentium D, so I had to select the ones that are automatically renamed normally
On a Dual Core Pentium D system running XP MCE 2005 w/SP2 (Same as XP Pro), the system will not boot after replacing the hal.dll file with the one from the CD no, it will not, which is why the general directions Britec and others supply suck. I had to replace the ntoskrnl.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe files with the single processor versions for it to boot, and the system then was only using one core from the Pentium D processor.
The correct file to use on this system is the halmacpi.dll
The ntkrpamp.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe files will be in the i386\SPX.CAB file on the CD, where X is the Service Pack number.
To extract the file, use this command in the Recovery Console, using the appropriate SP# and file name:
expand D:\i386\SP2.cab /F:ntkrnlpa.exe C:\Windows\System32
Once expanded, rename if needed.

Boot to the Recovery Console as above.
Type the following:
CD System32
Ren hal.dll halold.dll

If the hal.dll file is actually missing, this will give an error, just ignore it.
Copy ntoskrnl.exe ntoskrnl.old
Copy ntkrnlpa.exe ntkrnlpa.old
Dir C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386\hal*

Do one of the following depending on the result
Note: Do not add a space between the Dark Red and Red sections.

  1. If it lists 7 files (or at least hal.dll)
    type the following:
    Copy C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386\hal.dll C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll
    Replace hal.dll with the appropriate file name from the above table.
    Do NOT change hal.dll
    Example for an ACPI Multiprocessor PC:
    Copy C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386\Halmacpi.dll C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll
  2. I didn’t have the files in this location, but thanks to using Knoppix again to investigate my C: drive, I knew another location I had them. My hal.dll files were located in C:\Windows\Driver Cache\i386
    Since “driver cache” has a space in it, you have to put the file path in quotes or it won’t work. Copy “C:\Windows\Driver Cache\i386\Halmacpi.dll” C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll
    I heavily recommend locating the real ones on your computer using Knoppix instead of doing the 2nd option written below. Why? Because if you have, for example, Service Pack 3, your dll will be from 2008, and if you get the one off the XP CD, it’s probably going to be from about the year 2001. You might be able to use his instructions below to search your C: drive though without exiting and using Knoppix again.

  3. If you get an error The system cannot find the file or directory specified.
    Type the following:
    Find the line Device\CdRom0 and note the drive letter X:. This is your CD-Rom.
    Copy X:\i386\hal.dl_ C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll
    Replace hal.dl_ with the appropriate file name from the above table, but change the last L to an underscore. Do NOT change hal.dll
    Some OEM CDs have those files uncompressed. If you get an error that the file can’t be found type this:
    dir X:\i386\hal*.*
    If the files are listed with a .dll extension instead of .dl_, use Copy X:\i386\hal.dll C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll instead.

Remove the CD, then type Exit
When the system reboots we want to boot to Safe Mode, so tap F8 to bring up the Windows Advanced Options Menu and choose Safe Mode.
If other files have been corrupted, you may get a different error message. Post the complete error message, and we’ll see what other steps need to be taken.
Otherwise, you should end up in Safe Mode.

What happened to me is I got those crazy “multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\windows\system32\drivers\acpi.sys” codes covering my screen, but after a few seconds, they disappeared and Safe Mode started up. A message popped up and asked me if I wanted to use Safe Mode or System Restore. I chose Safe Mode.

If the system hangs, and you copied the Standard hal.dll file, you may need to go back into the Recovery Console and copy the single processor versions of ntoskrnl.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe from the CD or the C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386 folder into the C:\Windows\System32 folder

Check which version the old file was:

  1. Double click My Computer
  2. Double click the C: drive
  3. Double click Windows
  4. Double click System32
  5. Right click on halold.dll, click Properties.
    If hal.dll was missing, the halold.dll file won’t exist. Best we can do here is see if ntoskrnl.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe are Uniprocessor versions or Multiprocessor versions, and use a matching hal.dll
  6. Click the Version tab
  7. Click on Original File Name
  8. The original name will be displayed.
  9. Repeat for the ntoskrnl.old and ntkrnlpa.old files

If the wrong hal file was chosen, you may at some point get a notice that Windows has finished installing new devices and needs to reboot. Click No.
If you need to change the file, first copy it to your desktop.
Copy the correct file(s) from one of these folders:
C:\Windows\Driver Cache\i386\drivers.cab
C:\Windows\Driver Cache\i386\SPX.CAB

or from the CD:

  1. If it is compressed (it’ll have a .dl_ or .ex_ extension) we first need to expand it.
    Click Start | Run, type cmd, Press Enter
    type the following:
    CD /D %userprofile%\Desktop
    expand halXXXX.dl_ hal.dll

    where halXXXX.dl_ is the name of the file you copied
  2. If not compressed, just rename the file to hal.dll
  3. Do the same for the ntoskrnl.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe files
    Use ntkrnlmp.exe and ntkrpamp.exe if you want the Multi-processor versions
    renaming them to ntoskrnl.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe

Now navigate back to the C:\Windows\System32 folder and drag the hal.dll, ntoskrnl.exe, and ntkrnlpa.exe files from the desktop and drop it into the System32 folder. You’ll be asked if you want to replace the existing files, click Yes

Reboot the system.

If at any point it told you that it installed new devices it will have installed “ghost” drivers. These can cause issues so here’s how to remove them.
These ghost drivers will show if you boot to Safe Mode and check the Device Manager. (Click View | Show hidden devices).

I didn’t have any ghost icons, so this wasn’t anything I had to do.

Or we can set the Device Manager to show them in Normal mode:
Go to Control Panel | System
Click the Advanced tab, then click the Environment Variables button
Under the System variables section, click the New button.
In the Variable name: box type DevMgr_Show_NonPresent_Devices
In the Variable value: box type 1
Click OK, then click OK again on the Environment Variables window
In Device Manager, Click View | Show hidden devices

Any duplicate drivers, and drivers for devices not connected (USB Flash etc), will show up as “ghost” icons.
Go through each category in Device Manager and remove each “ghost” by right clicking, then click Uninstall.
Note that there are several items under Non-Plug and Play Drivers and Sound, video and game controllers that are normal to show as a “ghost” icon, such as Microsoft Kernel devices. Don’t remove them unless they are duplicated, then remove both instances.
Under Network Adapters there will also be a RAS Async Adapter and possibly a Microsoft TV/Video Connection item, you can leave those as well unless they are duplicated.
External USB drives, Flash drives, and memory cards that are not connected will show as ghost devices under Disk Drives. Removing these entries won’t hurt anything, but if you’ve assigned a specific drive letter to these devices, you’ll have to re-assign the drive letter again. You may want to make sure those devices you use frequently are connected.
For the Computer Category, if there are two entries, remove the one that doesn’t match the hal.dll file you installed.

Once you have this done, you can go ahead and try to restart your computer normally by clicking the start button, shut down, restart and see if it works properly like mine did.

A Vista/Win7 DVD can also be used to for this, except you have to manually edit the boot.ini file.

Boot with the DVD
Select your language and click Next
Click Repair your Computer
After it scans for Windows installations click Next (Win 7: Select Top option first)
Click Command Prompt.
Type Notepad and press Enter.
Click File | Open
On the left, click Computer
This will let you verify the drive letter, as they may be different when booted to the CD/DVD

Type the following, press Enter after each line:
attrib -H -R -S C:\boot.ini
Notepad c:\boot.ini

Correct any errors, then save the file
Close Notepad
In the Command Prompt, type the following and press Enter:
attrib +H +R +S C:\boot.ini
(If you get errors that the file can’t be found, either the boot.ini file is missing, or the drive letter is not C:
Sometimes the drive letters are different when booted to a CD/DVD.
In Notepad, click File | Open
Click Computer on the left. This will show the drives on the PC as seen by the Recovery Environment
If the boot.ini file is missing, use Notepad to create one).

For the rest of the procedure, you can use the Command Prompt and follow the instructions above.
(Use Notepad to determine the CD-ROM drive letter if needed, rather than Map)
You can use Notepad as a mini Windows Explorer, and browse to the files, but would need to use the Command Prompt to expand the files from the XP CD.
In the Command Prompt:
Type Notepad
Notepad should open
Press Alt+Tab to switch back to the Command Prompt
Press the Up Arrow, then Enter. This will open a 2nd instance of Notepad.
Click File | Open
Change the Files of type: box to All Files
Press Alt+Tab to switch to the other Notepad window
Click File | Open
Change the Files of type: box to All Files
Position the two Open dialogs so you can easily switch between the two, and widen them if needed.
Depending on your Screen Resolution, they may overlap.
I position one top left, and one bottom right.

Hooray! I fixed it! Now what should I do?

http://forums.whatthetech.com/index.php?showtopic=95574 I recommend running chkdsk from the recovery console, so it can check your C: drive for errors and fix them (thanks to having the Windows XP cd still in the CD drive obviously).

What you’ll do is get into the recovery console (the whole R, 1, enter, enter thing) and then you’ll type “chkdsk /r” the “/r” part means it’s basically going to fix all errors it finds. It will take an hour or two to fully run, so don’t do this if you are in danger of a power outage or don’t have time to let it finish… because it has to finish! Once it is done, type “exit” and your computer should hopefully start up perfectly and you can remove the CD and go about your usual business.

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Taboo Questions And Statements

Below are a few examples of taboo questions and statements. While you may not be trying to offend your designer, there are several questions and statements that can instantly add drama to a pleasant relationship.

Remember: you and the designer are working as part of the same team, and as part of the same team, neither of you should irrationally consider the other an enemy. While there should perhaps be a list of taboo statements a designer can accidentally make to a client, this is a list of things clients shouldn’t say to designers.

Asking the designer to come up with ideas, concepts, or finished work with only a potential for payment.

This is often worded like this: “Well, that all sounds good. Come up with a few concepts and if I like any of them, we can do business.”

Asking a designer to provide part of his service for free in exchange for only potential compensation is perhaps the most offensive request a designer encounters. It’s unfortunately very common, but is not how the design process works. A designer’s ideas, sketches, concepts, and finished work are his service, and even ideas have a price. If you say this to a designer, you may never hear from him ever again, because he’ll classify you as a problem client not worth messing with.

If you have not begun paying the designer for his service, do not expect anything beyond a written proposal of what he intends to do. No designer appreciates giving his ideas away for free or wasting his time for nothing.

Never, ever request the designer start working if you have not already gotten to the point where money has exchanged hands.

Expecting a designer to do any work without some sort of payment in advance.

Related to the above question, don’t request this. No designer likes to feel as if he’s being taken advantage of and giving away his services for free.

Asking for an estimate/quote before fully informing the designer about what you are wanting created.

This isn’t a major offense, it’s just an issue of getting the cart before the horse. A designer cannot quote you an estimate without being able to fairly estimate the amount of work involved. Depending on the amount of work, a direct mail postcard could take anywhere between 3 hours and 30 hours. The designer won’t know what you want until you tell him about your project. Without informing the designer completely, he cannot provide you a price.

Questioning charges on an invoice or questioning a designer’s hours.

Many designers work on projects at fixed prices rather than hourly charges. If you agree to a price, be prepared to pay that price whether the job took the designer half the time he expected or two times as long as he expected. The amount of time he spent on your project is unfortunately not any of your business.

If a designer is working for you at an hourly rate, the work done during each charge should be accounted for in detail on the invoices. If it is not, you have a right to request a detailed account of what was done during the hours you were charged. If the designer cannot provide you a detailed account, he is not running his business professionally and you may want to discontinue use of his service.

If there is an unexpected charge on your invoice or bill, first refer to the proposal and/or contract, and if still not explained, contact your designer with your concern. Accidental mistakes happen, especially when a single designer is also acting as his bookkeeper.

Resisting or refusing payment for work completed.

There may come a time when you don’t feel like paying a designer because you either don’t like what he made or the designer wasn’t able to get what you wanted designed by the time you wanted it. When a situation like this occurs, you need to refer to the contract with the designer. With most designers you are always liable for paying for the designer’s hours spent working on the project up to that point. Work cannot be unworked and the designer can never have that time back. Whether you have received a finished design or not, there are generally no refunds in the design service business, and you will have to compensate the designer according to his rules on the contract.


Do understand that constructive criticism that leads to a design you are happier with is completely welcomed and desired by a designer! However, sending an email back that simply says “I don’t like it” without anything constructive about what you don’t like and what you’d like better can ruin a client-designer relationship and develop instant animosity. Remember: your designer has toiled over your project for hours and even if you think his design stinks, he’s put his heart and soul into the work. Find something constructive to say that will lead to something you will like better.

Dread Requests (Vague Demands).

Similar to criticism, when you make a request, please make a constructive, detailed request. As a favor to your relationship with the designer, do not send one line emails that cause the designer to dread dealing with you. Dread requests are demands that are almost always very vague, and usually imply the client considers itself superior to the designer. The worst email of all is one that simply says “Call me.” If you want to be proper, be specific and don’t make a demand. “Can you call me sometime today before 1pm? I’d like to discuss some changes to the layout.” Remember: the designer isn’t an employee or child of yours; making demands isn’t going to do anything beneficial.

Asking for references or examples of their work.

Unless a designer is a complete fool, he will have an ample supply of examples of his work on his website. Self-employed designers usually create their websites to answer questions and address concerns that they do not want to address on an individual basis. When contacting a designer, you should have already qualified him as someone you’re interested in working with before making contact. You should already have the thought in your head that “this person’s work looks good to me and they seem reputable and smart, so I think I’ll contact them.”

Wanting to interview the designer at the first meeting.

This is inappropriate for the most part.

When you contact a self-employed designer, you are implying your intention to do business with him, and by showing up to the meeting, he has implied his interest in doing this business with you. The two of you are equals and potential business associates. You are not an employer interviewing a potential employee. You’ve already had the opportunity to qualify the designer as being up to your specifications. This meeting, while primarily a way for you to explain your project in person and meet who you’ll be doing business with, is secondarily an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are someone the designer wants to do business with. You should be interested in doing business with the designer before requesting a meeting.

Wanting to have a meeting with the designer before briefly explaining the project.

While not offensive, it’s another cart before the horse issue. Always explain what the project is before trying to schedule a meeting with the designer. If the project doesn’t interest the designer or isn’t something he does, the two of you have both wasted your time.

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How Do I Make Sure My Designer Is A Real Graphic Designer?

In this profession, there are many, many fakes. Similar to how anybody who buys an SLR camera thinks they can claim to be a professional photographer, just about anybody who buys Photoshop thinks they can claim to be a professional graphic designer. There’s no such thing as a graphic design license, so how are you going to make sure you find the right person?

There are a number of ways to determine whether a designer is legitimate.

Look At The Designer’s Website

The designer’s website is going to speak volumes about who they are as a person and who they are as a worker. A self-employed designer is going to have a website in this day and age, no matter what. A print designer may have a mediocre website, but a web designer should have one that is pretty amazing to look at. The designer’s work should demonstrate a mastery of his skills. If he’s a web designer and his website isn’t any good… guess what?

No matter what, the designer’s website is going to show samples of his work, list services he provides, and usually has information about what makes that designer qualified.

If the designer’s website is simply a portfolio with nothing else of any real substance, chances are this designer is not operating in a self-employed manner. This person might be interviewing for jobs at design agencies, be currently employed full-time and doing work on the side, or might only be a student or amateur showing off some talent. Whatever the case may be, they are likely only looking for some work to do on the side, or are using the site to show their work to creative directors at large agencies and small boutiques. If you are looking for someone who will be able to work on your projects during your business hours, move on to another choice. If you’re looking for someone who can only work perhaps an hour every few days on your project(s), you can continue considering one of these people.

Designers who work full-time as designers and do work on the side can be an amazing resource, particularly if they are specialists. There’s nothing better than having a Flash video game designer who does nothing but Flash games all day long at his full-time job design the game you need. The biggest issue with full-time designers doing work on the side is they may be so specialized that they can’t take a design all the way to production by themselves, because they are used to a team of other people. Another problem is their full-time job takes precedence over your work, and if you have a deadline, you may miss it.

If the designer is obviously a student, unless you are familiar with working with designers and can coach this person into producing your project, you need to move on to another choice. You might think that you can take advantage of a student’s inexperience, but it’s more likely that your time and effort is what is going to be taken advantage of. Students and inexperienced designers require a lot of babysitting and don’t necessarily know how to make your finished product no matter how creative they may be.

If the website is focused on something other than design, such as printing, but they offer design, then design is a side-business. Unless you are looking for low quality, cheap looking design, avoid using companies that are offering design as a secondary service. Never have a company that offers free design or extremely cheap design perform your design work. Student-run newspapers and print shops are bad about this – supply your own professionally designed materials to these companies and let them focus on their real jobs. When something is free or cheap, be on high alert.

Make Sure The Designer Is Grounded

Do not trust your business to someone who might be able to come up with neat looking designs, but never be located ever again. You need to choose a designer who uses contracts and is happy to provide you his phone number, email address, and mailing address. This person isn’t trimming your tree branches in your front yard for two hours. You want someone who has a reputation to uphold who can be found in more than one way. If you aren’t hiring them to work on-location at your business, they better have some foundation of a business themselves. Use your brain and only trust designers who can obviously be trusted. The most legitimate designers use contracts and do not expect payment in full before services are rendered. Jobs less than $500 are occasionally paid up-front, but you can usually request to withhold a certain amount so long as your deadline is not extremely soon.

See How The Designer Prices His Services

Professional designers typically use fixed rates for their services with one-project-only clients. These rates are not usually public; if they are, they are starting prices only for budgeting purposes. Professionals never offer 100% flat fees. For example, you will never see a professional that says he will design any logo for $200, any brochure for $300, etc. Professionals always quote based on their expected amount of work on a project. Professionals who use hourly rates only use them on large projects, projects that are outside the scope of what they normally design, or projects for clients that have a lot of work to be done over a period of time. Professional web designers, typically charge hourly rates and not flat fees because websites are huge jobs.

Amateur designers work for obscenely low amounts and almost always price their services hourly. Amateur designers are not always bad, but you have to make sure they know what they are doing. Amateur designers are better suited for getting jobs at small boutiques and large agencies than trying to do work on their own. They simply don’t have enough experience.

And then there are the underpricers… a difficult to name group. These are the individuals you see offering design for disgustingly cheap, enticing rates. As a rule of thumb, if there is a price advertised, they aren’t a professional. As enticing as their prices may be, you are better off avoiding these underpricers like the plague. They typically price their services 2 or 3 times cheaper than professionals and provide 4 or 5 times less service than the professionals. Many of these underpricers offer huge lists of services including things like banner printing or sign production that you wouldn’t expect a single designer to offer. Several of these underpricers are actually outsourcing the work to people in countries like India and acting as pimps in a manner of speaking. Beware of these underpricers just like you would anything else that was as much as 90% off standard price.

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Pricing: Why Does It Vary So Much?

Pricing is something that varies to a very high degree in the graphic design profession. In this service-based business, the phrase “You get what you pay for.” couldn’t apply more.

Cheap providers commonly offer low quality work. Those using a cheap fixed price structure spend very little time doing your project and those using cheap hourly rates are often amateurs with little skill or experience. If your business is important to you, you don’t want your business’ life depending on someone who charges one-tenth the price of what the professionals charge.

See the next tip for more information…

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Who To Choose?

You’ve just read through the different options, now who are you going to choose?

If you decide a single designer would work, you’re going to have three important questions to ask yourself about who you choose:

  • Does the designer provide the services I need?
  • Does the designer demonstrate he knows what he’s doing?
  • Does the designer operate in a business-like manner and use contracts?

If you can say yes to all three of these questions, you may have found yourself a great designer. Read on for tips to finding these great designers. The rest of this article will only concern single designers for the most part as they are the greatest resource.

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Types of Graphic Designers

There are three main providers of design. Single designers, small boutiques, and large agencies. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Single Designers

There are two main categories of single designers: general designers and specialists. The line between the two is normally fairly thick, and should be evident with a little inspection. These terms are not something you should do an internet search for; searching for a general designer or specialist designer isn’t going to give you the results you want. Many designers will not outright classify what they are.

If you own a small or medium size business, or work for a smaller to mid-size business, you’re probably going to want to use the services of a single designer instead of the more expensive alternatives.

General Designers

Many graphic designers like to think of themselves as one-stop-shops for their clients and offer the design of many different items. They like to handle all of their clients’ design needs if at all possible.

Tip: A general designer can be a really good choice for you, particularly if the designer knows a thing of two about branding and marketing. General designers with backgrounds in advertising or marketing offer additional insight that designers who only learned design cannot provide. Specifically, they tend to produce designs that are more than just pretty. If you have a goal you want a designed item to help reach, you need a designer who understands the way consumers think and react, and that is best fulfilled by a designer with a background in advertising or marketing. Also, be careful to not mistake a broad list of services as a lack of focus with these individuals. The reason these designers like to tackle many different jobs is because they are focused on the bigger picture: your branding and marketing.

Designers with more than one specialty can save you money. If you need a brochure and website designed, you will be better off using one designer who can accomplish both tasks rather than one designer for the brochure and another designer for the website. Why? Two reasons. One, you will only have to teach one person about your business and/or brand. Two, part of successful branding and marketing is having an integrated look and feel to your entire brand. A single designer working on your brand’s look and feel is likely to do a much better job of communicating the same message over and over again in different forms of media than a second person trying to be a copycat.

Something negative about many general designers is that they can try to be everything to everyone. A hungry general designer may not turn down a job to do something they are not familiar with. Make sure that your designer is specialized enough that you are not asking him to do something he does not normally do. Check the services they list on their website and make sure what you are requesting isn’t too far from what they say they do.

Be wary of designers who offer many different services without demonstrating a mastery of them all. Despite the classification, the best general designers are specialized in some manner. They specialize in a limited number of jobs that they enjoy and do well, and these jobs will be represented in their portfolios and services. Single designers with massively unrelated services should be avoided unless you only have them do what they obviously specialize in.

Tip: Many designers who used to focus primarily on print have had to change the way they do business. Print has been a dying industry ever since the internet came about. Many print designers now offer web design. Don’t be afraid of them, but do take note: many of these designers cannot make a website work as a website without outsourcing work to a programmer. Make sure to find out if the designer is able to make his design into a finished website, uses a programmer he knows, or if you need to locate a programmer yourself. Programmers typically charge more than designers, so you need to consider that in your budget.


There are many single designers who like to specialize in only a certain area of design; perhaps they only do web design, logo design, or even print design. Sometimes they try to be a little more full-service than general designers and actually get your items printed or host your website, but not always.

For certain jobs, it can be best to hire a specialist. The type of jobs that are best for specialists are the ones that are really complicated, uncommon, or require a mastery of a certain skill. If you need an outstanding Flash animation for your website, don’t ask your print designer who just dabbles in Flash to do it, find a specialist. Asking a print designer to do this can be as inappropriate as asking a dentist to handle a nose-job.

Tip: Here is a list of just a few jobs that are best completed by a specialist: Flash animation, Flash websites, databases (things you can log into with a password or send data to) on websites, online stores on websites, vehicle wrap design (where the entire vehicle is covered), 3D animation, 3D modeling, extreme photo retouching, animation in general, graphics for display on television, and graphic user interface design (such as the way a program looks on an iphone or computer). This isn’t a complete listing of all jobs, but will give you an idea of the types of tasks that are a bit less common in the design world, and unlikely to be fulfilled by a general designer of print or web.

What is the easiest way to identify whether a designer is a general designer or a specialist?

Easy. A specialist will have a very narrow list of services.

Specialists can be extremely important, especially in assisting a general designer. These are the specialists who do things that general designers can’t do. For example, there are specialists who only set up online stores. Would you want them to design your site? Probably not, unless you’re wanting an Amazon or Ebay look to it. Would you want them to set up and provide the programming service for your website that has an online store on it? Sure! However, keep in mind that your general designer can provide the look of the store while the specialist does the work the general designer doesn’t know how to do. Teamwork between a general designer and a specialist can work out best for everyone involved.

Small Boutiques

Small boutiques are small businesses that may be composed of only two or three people. Some are much larger with perhaps 20 people. They can be composed of general designers, specialists, and people who provide services other than design, such as copywriters.

What’s important to know about these small design firms is that they typically offer a faster turnaround on projects than single designers can provide. In exchange for that quicker turnaround, you pay higher fees that are split up amongst the employees working on your project.

If you need a small boutique to do your design work, you would likely know it already. Clients of small boutiques typically have several design jobs a week that require more than one specialist within the boutique. Complicated web design jobs, TV commercials, and magazine design and layout are common small boutique jobs because they really require more than just one person.

Small boutiques are like a substitute for an in-house art department when you have a lot of design needs consistently throughout the year.

Something very positive about small boutiques is that they are normally well-established businesses with actual reputations. Single designers who have an established presence are out there, but they can be hard to find.

The downside to small boutiques is of course their higher fees to compensate multiple employees, but also that your input may be going through another person and not communicated correctly. When you work with a small boutique, you may not necessarily be speaking or writing to who is working on your project. In some cases, what you are saying may be getting relayed to an outsourced designer living in a different country.

Large Agencies

Large design or advertising agencies have dozens or even hundreds of people working on dozens of accounts for the very large businesses with names we ALL recognize. If you own a small business, or even a medium-sized business, a large agency is likely out of the question for your needs and financial ability. Bills of thousands of dollars a day are not uncommon.

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Letting The Designer Know How Involved You Want To Be

It’s helpful to tell the designer how involved with the project you want to be. Clients are all different. Designers are all different. Some clients want to have a lot of input into every step of the design, while others want to just trust the designer’s judgment and have them finish the project using what they determine is best. You, as the client, need to tell the designer how involved you want to be.

Find out how the designer works best (with or without micromanaging) and figure out how much input you want to have in the design. Do you want to direct the design, or do you want to stand back and let the designer figure out what to do? A mix? Figure it out and let the designer know.

If you pretty much know what you want and need, you need a designer who isn’t going to get in the way and butt heads with you. If you don’t know what you want, you need a designer who can take the bull by the horns and do the job without a lot of input. Sometimes a designer is a mix of both, but designers tend to lean one way or the other and have a preference.