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Hal.dll missing or corrupt.

 Last Updated 12/03/08 This information is supplied without warranty. It can help if done correctly. Use at your own risk. If this fixes your problem please donate with the paypal link at the bottom of this article.

This covers a helpful resolution for:

  • "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."

  • Winnt_root>\System32\Hal.dll missing or corrupt:
    Please re-install a copy of the above file."

  • "Cannot find \Windows\System32\hal.dll"

  • "Cannot find hal.dll"


At some time or another you may run across a corrupt or missing hal.dll file or a boot.ini file. Sometimes this is due to an improper shutdown or (in my case) starting a windows install on a drive that has windows on it and then stopping the install. Sometimes its just a bad file.


I. Boot to Recovery Console.

If you don't know how to do this, you can follow the instructions in the first part of the article located "HERE".

II. Repair the boot.ini with the steps below.

1. Type: cd \

( Reminder: between "cd" and "\" there should be a "blank space" otherwise  the command won't work. These are similar to old DOS commands where spaces had to go between each command so DOS knew where one command stopped and another started.)


2.Type: bootcfg /rebuild  and hit ENTER

Note: The first prompt should ask you to  Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All).

3. Type: Y for yes and hit ENTER

4. The next prompt will ask you to Enter Load Identifier.

This is the name of your operating system. Type Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition and press Enter

5. The  last prompt will ask you to Enter OS Load options:.

Type: /Fastdetect

6. Hit enter

7. Remove your XP disk

8. Type EXIT and hit ENTER.

As long as the problem was just a boot.ini issue, your computer should boot up to the desktop.

Hope this helps....



Please check your drive with a diagnostic program like Western Digital's

WD Diagnostics to see if there is a problem with the drive. Many times there is no problem, but its better to play it safe than loose your stuff after you just recovered it.


Here are a few comments from people who were helped.
   It worked! I've spent almost two days trying to get into my pc! I posted my issue on forums and tried MS KB to no avail. Thank you so much!      "Brad"
   Man I hate having to fix my windows PC's and your synopsis of how to replace config directories through recovery console really did the trick.  Thanks for making the internet a useful place.        "John"
   Your restore instructions got me out of a sticky wicket. Thank you!         "J"
   Saved my A__ with this Dell 1505 laptop ~ I thought I'd lost my whole hard drive but with your notes I was able to restore it to 4 days ago!  Thanks!  Good Job!               "Anthony"

If this helped you, give with the PayPal Make a Donation button.

Please leave a comment with your Donation. Thanks... Dale
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