Windows could not start because the following file is missing

Jeanne061397 used Ask the Experts™
I have a friend's XP computer at home trying to clean up her files and update Windows.  I was doing well until I updated the windows to IE 8 and when I went to restart the computer as they told me to, I cannot boot into windows and here is the message I get:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system 32\hal.dll.
Please re-install a copy of the above file.

I cannot do anything as each time after trying to boot in safe mode, I get the same error message.

This is an IBM Thinkpad Computer running Windows XP.  I do not have any CD to try to use to re-install.

Help, I really don't want to tell my friend I broke her computer.


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>>I really don't want to tell my friend I broke her computer.
It's not that serious. First try this-
Then you have to collect a windows cd. Try to repair install, if not possible than fresh install will solve the problem.
Read this article, this should solve your problem.

hope this helps, all the best.


I checked the sites you sent but so far nothing has worked that I can understand.  It is late now so I will work with it tomorrow.  Thanks for the help.
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Hello all,
I tried and tried to make sense out of all those sites you sent.  I'm afraid they were just too technical for me and I finally had to give up.

Today I took the computer to the repair shop and hopefully they will be able to reformat it and get it working again.

Thanks for all your help.  I don't know how to split the points or even to withdraw the question.


HAL is the hardware abstraction layer which is created during installation and depending on some other dlls.So
you need a Windows installation cd
and boot from cd
then press enter to install
press F8 to agree with license
press R to repair.
May this fix your problem.

Otherwise do this: connect the hard drive into another working system as slave.
copy a working hal.dll from its WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\hal.dll to the windows\system32\ of damaged hdd.

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