hal.dll corrupted -> windows repair -> windows activation window not popping up

Hello and thanks in advance

I have a computer with XP Home SP3 installed on it. I got the computer with a HAL.DLL error (it was brought into the shop for viruses). I did a repair installation of the OS to correct the problem so I could continue with the virus removal.

Once the repair had finished running it booted into the login screen for windows. Once I try to log into one of these accounts it asks me to activate again, which is alright and I see it a bit. Except this time, the GUI with the all the information needed to activate does not pop up. It just hangs with the users background and nothing else. Mouse works, and num lock blinks when I command it too.

Thanks a bunch guys..
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ottcomputingAsked:
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loftywormCommented:
Repair is not an end all solution.  There could still be things in the start reg keys, startup files, even driver dll's or the MBR.   If you are relaly against the rebuild, which is the safest way, then I would start by booting to UBCD4Win and see if you can root it out that way, or run one of the av scanners.
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Seth_zinCommented:
try this Ctrl+Alt+Delete to bring up task manager. Do you see "explorer.exe" running? If not, from task manager click File -> New Task (Run...) and type explorer. Does everything come up now? If not (or it says cannot find it) then your issue is with explorer (which a virus could have screwed up).
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ottcomputingAuthor Commented:
CTRL+ALT+DELETE does not work, so whats the next step I should take?
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flubbsterCommented:
Can you run regedit from the start>run menu? If so navigate to the following key and if it exists, delete it, then reboot.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\explorer.exe
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flubbsterCommented:
Have not tried this so do not know if this will work, but here is a great emergency utility that creates copies of Tak manager, Msconfig, and regedit. They can be used on an infected system when the real ones are disabled.

What I don't know is if it can be executed from a memory stick if you do not have access to the c:\drive

http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_emergencyutil.zip

You may be able to also use them in safe mode. Have you tried using safe mode to access task manager?
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ottcomputingAuthor Commented:
Thanks! I will get back to you with the results... :)
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ottcomputingAuthor Commented:
All I need to know is how to get the windows activation gui to pop up when I click "activate windows". WHen I click it, it goes into the user profile and I can see his background. Nothing opens up after that, i do not see a task bar or any icons. I only see the background. Ctrl+Alt+delete does not work, the mouse works. that is it.

I just need to know if this is possible to fix. Or if I should stop what I am doing and do a split/reinstall?
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flubbsterCommented:
I am not aware of anything that you can do at that point. Any fix that I know of concerns being able to access the registry, which it sounds like you can't do. You most likely can't get the gui because explorer is hosed. To fix that, you need reg access. If you can boot to safe mode, then the reg fix I posted earlier may work. Other than that, you will have to re-install.

Maybe someone else has some more suggestions.....
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Seth_zinCommented:
Though I don't recall which part of the hive explorer is in, you can edit the registry to do the changes using a third party tool. I like using the one Flubbster posted, http://ubcd4win.com/ at this point though I'd just cut your losses backup the data (via extrenal drive) and just reinstall it, sounds like it would be less work.
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ottcomputingAuthor Commented:
yes, I am going to do that. Very appreciative of the help you've all offered. I tried to load the hive and the explorer.exe was not their. SO I've come to the conclusion that the solution of split/reinstall is the way for me to go.


Thanks again !
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