missing hal.dll

Laptop running XP home, with the error message;
•"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."
Tried expanding a copy of hal.dll from xp CD, but still got error message.
In the 'fix' I found via Google, the next option was to rebuilt boot.ini file, which originally saw windows installations on C & F. I thought I picked the C installation to fix, but something didn't work as planned. Took out HD & looking at it from another computer, the boot.ini file is definitely wrong, but I can't fix it! Trying to edit or create a new one & I'm getting the message I can't save it there.
I don't want to start changing permissions, etc., so what are my other options?
Thanks!
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gromackAsked:
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rindiCommented:
Problems like that are often caused by a bad disk or a corrupt file-system. So use the disk manufacturer's diagnostic utility (long test) to check the state of the disk, and if there are no problems there, use your recovery cd to run a chkdsk DriveLetter: /p /r to repair the file-system (only do that if the diagnostics passed without error). You'll find the diagnostic utility on the UBCD:

http://ultimatebootcd.com

Don't bother with re-installing XP, as it's support has ended anyway and it is an obsolete OS. Either install Windows 7 or a free Linux distribution.
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Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
Boot.ini is a read only file.  to change it change the attribute from system, hidde and read only.  Change the attribute by running the following and make your changes:

atteib -s -h -r boot.ini

After the change is made, run the same command but change - with +
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gromackAuthor Commented:
Keeps telling me 'The parameter is not valid'...
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If that file is gone and you also cannot change boot.ini then I think your options are limited. You will probably have to install XP fresh. It is dead, so this is a good time to move on.
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nobusCommented:
you cna try to repair it when booted from a live cd :
http://www.ubcd4win.com/      

also -did you check the bios boot priotity points to the correct Dsisk?
you can also runa system restore
here more details :  http://pcsupport.about.com/od/findbyerrormessage/a/missinghaldll.htm
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