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Hal.dll corrupt - now windows XP hangs on boot

Hi -
I have a dell optiplex 330 with XP professional sp3  that the user couldn't start because of "missing or corrupted hal.dll". I used the CD to go into the recovery console and used the expand command to replace the ha.dll filel, then the bootcfg /rebuild command. After these, the computer at least got to the windows startup  screen but then hangs. I have tried all safe modes and last good configuration options, it always hangs.

I relaunched recovery console and ran a chkdsk /r (took hours!) but the computer still hangs on boot.

I was thinking of re-installing XP from the CD, but this warns that My documents and local setting may well be erased and that is of course where the user has all his data and .pst file so I would love to find a way of getting this computer running again if only to save the data before performing a complete re-install.

Any ideas of other recovery console commands or other steps  to try?
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Reinstall is relatively safe operation if you choose Install in the beginning and then Repair.
It can also be a hardware problem, so I recommend you to make backup of your disk (full backup or only your files). You can do it from recovery console (his is not very simple) or from any boot CD (Windows PE or Linux)
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.
Commented:
As als315 says but do NOT do a reinstall without recovering the files and data first.

Some reinstall CDs will wipe the disk totally.

Once the data has been recovered I recommend you test the test with the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Download links are the icons at the top of the page above Overview.  Browse the page and see what utils are there for you.  Check the memory and hard disk utils especially.

Make the CD and boot from it.  Run the memory tester first - memtest -  and let it do two to three passes through your memory.  Memory could be the problem so get that test done first.

Then test the hard disk with the correct manufacturer's util for your hard disk.  Do the long test.  That will most likely tell you if your disk is corrupt.

But whatever you do RECOVER the data first.


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Commented:
Good advice - thanks. I got the Knoppix linux cd and saved all the main files first. Windows repair then did not work (hung during the installation) but re-install with the option to keep the curent file structure did.

So now I have a new user on the machine that is the only available XP user with a shiny new empty profile (no office, virusscan, files, print drivers etc etc), however the old user profile seems to be pretty much intact in documents and setting, and the old user is still visible under users in "manage compiter".

So my next question is - is there any way to re-initiate the old user profile? (and hopefully avoid a complete re-install of all software this user had). Under users and accounts, if I try to crea the old user name, it tells m that "this user already exists - choose a different nam" but I cannot seem to activate or log on as the old user.

Thanks for any further hints.
There are no chance to use old installed software.
Profile data can be copied from old profile to new, but I do not recommend to do this, due to unknown problems with the previous windows installatin. Pst file could be opened in Outlook and you can import necessary mail from it or simply set it as default mail storage