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hal.dll missing at startup

Last Modified: 2013-12-01
Have a computer in front of me with the error message below at startup.

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 was the original message when I first received this machine.
Loaded windows recovery console, only drives showing were
1: H\MiniNT
2: H\I386

Entered 1
No Admin password asked for (this is the recovery drive)

Tried bootcfg /scan        This failed
Tried fixboot                   This failed
Tried expand h:\i386\hal.dl_ C:\windows\system32\hal.dll            This failed

Ran Hdd Regenerator No Bad sectors found
Ran memtest Found 1 of the 2 sticks to be faulty. Now runing with just the 1 good stick.

Re tried the above three fixes to no avail

Then I loaded a PE disc and ran partitionMagic 8.0 and checked for errors.Process was halted due to the amount of errors found.
Error number 1527 Bad update sequence number.

Ran Norton Disk Doctor. All options enabled. It fixed all errors found.

Ran same three solutions as above with same results.

PartitionMagic currently showing
HP_RECOVERY (H:) FAT32 size 5090.9MB  status NONE     Primary
HP_PAVILION (C:) NTFS size 185681.0MB   status Active    Primary
(*)   unallocated   7.8MB                                status NONE     Primary

This computer has a memory card reader in it and 2 rom drivers which accounts for  the drives between C: and H:

OS is XP Home

F10 at boot should let me into recovery, but so far this has failed to work.

Any ideas Please.
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If the system drive (C:) isn't showing in Recovery Console - then this could be either - massive data corruption - or hard drive/mr (or boot record) failure/corruption.

You cannot just expand hal.dll and replace it- this is a very important file that is configured when Windows is setup.

You need to run bootcfg /scan the bootcfg /rebuild - but this will only work if you can get access to the C: drive. (that is why it doesn't work on H:)

Otherwise - run a repair install: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
"bootcfg /scan then run bootcfg /rebuild "

I think that the guide I suggested would be more useful to the Asker than just "run xp repair" - that is why I mentioned a repair install after PUNKY did first.
You will not lose any data after a repair install - but you may have to reinstall some programs  - and you will have to re-apply all your windows updates...


I am trying not to run a repair install using my disc as this would involve upgrading from XP Home to Pro, and would also change the Key Code. This computer is not mine.
I would idealy like to use the recovery that is on the H drive, there by keeping the OS and the Key Code unchanged.
But currently cannot figure out a way to utilise this Drive

You could use HP recovery partition by pressing F11 during start up.


HP Recovery partition on this machine is F10. When pressed at start up it does nothing, computer just tries to boot into normal mode or safe mode both of which it cannot do.
This leaves me to think that the recovery drive letter may have changed from its original letter.
If I could get into recovery partition I would be laughing
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I know F10 function for recovery partition, but try press F11 to bring up and select Recover PC from the list.


Lots of info there. I will have to give it a good read and a possible option to get a recovery disc.

Have tried F11 managed to bring up the Bios screen, same as F2.

Here is a theory.
If I was to do a repair install using MY disc. Would I then be able to access the HP Recovery and revert it back to factory settings, thus keeping the original OS and Key Code.
Is that feasable

No, I dont think that works though, unless And325100 or other experts have better idea. F11 should bring up the list to boot from, not bios screen. I bet the recovery partition is messed by Norton.
My thoughts exactly.
Partitioning tools tend to wreck recovery partitions - because they try to fix the partition - as if it was a standardl windows volume.

But it is never the case.

The other command that ruins recovery partitions is fixmbr.

Your only hope is to get hold of some HP recovery CDs.


Hello Punky and and235100
Thankyou both for your help all ideas and links have been tried.

The option to repair install was a non starter as when I had resided myself to that option, repair unstall was nowhere to be see.

Every thing that we have discussed, all pointed to what I really thought and that the OS was beyond saving before I ever got my hands on it.

I have since spoken to my client and he has agreed to a reformat and a complete new OS.

Many thanks for your help.
I will split the points between you, as I have found all suggestions bang on the money.
Apologies that a proper solution was not found - but thanks in any case.
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