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I cant start my PC - Windows wont start - missing root system 32 file

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by GJSOZ, Jul 22, 2009.

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  1. GJSOZ

    GJSOZ Thread Starter

    Jul 17, 2009
    After only just having one problem solved on here I have encountered another and I think it is fairly problematic but am far from understanding it - please help!!!

    I downloaded the new version of Internet Explorer (version 8) as this was an option when I signed onto the web this afternoon (I previously had IE 7 and am running Windows XP version 2).

    But after downloading this I had trouble getting onto the net (though I seemed to be able to initially). So I restarted the PC. But, it did not restart.

    Instead I get the following message on a plain black screen when I try to run my computer:

    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.

    What is this file? I have an Acer Aspire notebook which came installed with Windows XP Version 2 (I have no CD drive currently).

    I have looked on the microsoft website (I am currently on a different PC) but dont understand anything that is posted on their about this problem.

    Do I need to re-install a new operating system? Will this mean I will loose all my data that is on my computer? This is very precious to me as I am travelling and I have saved on my computer photos and diary entries - I would be very upset to loose them.

    What is my best course of action? Should I take it to a specialist. Again I really hope I can prevent the information that I did have saved on there from being deleted.

    Thankyou to anyone who can assist.
  2. Blackmirror


    Dec 5, 2006
    CAn you start in safe mode and do a system restore ?

    Boot to Windows XP Safe Mode With Command Prompt.

    At the Command Prompt, type


    and press Enter.

    Follow the instructions given to perform the System Restore process.
  3. GJSOZ

    GJSOZ Thread Starter

    Jul 17, 2009
    No, I cant. When I select to start my PC in Safe mode with command prompt it then takes me to a screen and reads:

    Please select the operating system to start:

    Windows (default)

    I selected this and hit enter and it just took me back to the original black screen with the same error message that i had above:

    Windows could not start because the follwing file is missing or corrupt:
    <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll

    Note - when I was sorting out a previous problem on my computer and had to select an operating system to start just yesterday I am sure I had Windows XP listed as an option and not Windows (default) as it now reads.
  4. GJSOZ

    GJSOZ Thread Starter

    Jul 17, 2009
    Can anyone else offer any advise to this query? Or is it best i take it to a specialist or return it to where I bought it from (it is only 5 weeks old).

  5. TheOutcaste


    Aug 7, 2007
    Sounds like the boot.ini file is corrupted.

    Download the attached Zip file, extract the XP-Boot-Windows.exe file inside. Double click that file, it will extract a bootable ISO image file named XP-Boot-Windows.iso into the folder you select. This is just a bootable CD with a special boot.ini file on it.

    Burn the ISO to a CD, and see if your PC will boot with it.

    It will give you a boot menu with 8 choices, usually one of the first two should work. Just try each until it boots and note which one works. Then we can correct the boot.ini file.

    Attached Files:

  6. austinm6


    Jul 23, 2009
    Do you have a Windows XP CD if so boot from it hit enter then r then okay and it will reinstall all windows files but will not lose any DATA which is cool.
  7. LegendaryWolf


    Jul 25, 2009
    if you have a boot CD, start your computer with the boot CD inside. It will say Press any key to boot from CD press whatevs and go to the menu for installing windows. you will have 2 paritions: blank parition and used parition delete the current format the unused parition which it should do by itself, u just select the type, it will select the format type itself after that due to certain conditions of your hdd, then after u format do a reboot, leave the cd in, it will say press any key to boot from cd, but this time DONT TOUCH ANYTHING it will start the windows installer itself
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