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What is the cause of Hal.dll error?

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by peleckyt, Sep 5, 2004.

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  1. peleckyt

    peleckyt Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
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    Here is my situation...I have a re-occuring "missing hal.dll error" that has caused me to re-install XP on multiple ocassions (each time I would do a low level format on the HD, to eliminate possible virus issues). I have tried most of the common "fixes", but none have worked for me. I have a 40GB drive that is dedicated to my OS and programs (I made this move after previous instances of this problem). When this occured before, I could get by the problem by leaving the install disk in the CD ROM (I never understood why this worked), but this time this does not work. I have another HD that holds my data, is it possible that some kind of worm is sitting on this drive and infecting the dedicated HD?)

    p.s. The OS disk that I have is an XP Home Edition Compaq disk, so perhaps it is not a FULL version? Also, my 40GB drive has an NTFS file system (perhaps I need to change this before the next install?).

    Right before the latest install, I took the computer to a local tech shop and all I got was a bad RAM diagnosis (which I replaced - both sticks matching RAM), then I reinstalled. As I thought it might be being caused by a hardware issue...on this latest re-installed, I started only with the fundamental hardware, so as to isolate any possible hardware conflicts. One by one I added my PCI cards. The install appeared stable, so I went throught the pain of having to call Miscrosoft and explain why I was again re-installing their wonderful product...I know they must think that I am doing multiple systems installs). The latest install had no problems for over 2 months, then two days ago...guess what? "missing hal.dll error"!!!

    I am so frustrated that I am thinking about going out an purchasing Windows 2000 or XP Professional, as I just don't have any confidence in the disk that I have (I really don't want to give MS anymore money, but I simply want a stable OS install).

    Would 2000 or XP Professional be better or should I consider the hardware again? If it is the hardware, why would it run fine for 2 month, then decide to die?

    While I would like to repair this install, I am most concerned with not having to do this every couple of months? With this goal in mind...any and all advise would be appreciated, THANKS.
     
  2. GPaDavis

    GPaDavis

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    178
    No expert here. I had a one-time problem with a "corrupted" hal file, due to my own stupidity. I had renamed the thing during an experiment and forgot to rename it back -- how dumb can that be? No way could I correct the problem. Have an HP laptop and the accompaning CD won't boot up. It only makes a new install, wiping everything out in the process.

    Finally took it to my favorite techie and in less than five minutes, on his special little bench doo-hicky, it was fixed.

    Since then, I've learned that Hal is sometimes corrupted or deleted by other applications; not necessarily a virus, trojan or other malware. Did you use an app two days ago that you don't use very often? Maybe you installed and used a new app?

    Are you using the NTFS or FAT32 file system? If it's NTFS, you will have to find a way to boot, using NTFS, before you can access the C:\ drive.

    If you use FAT32, almost any standard MS boot disk (Win98, for example) will give you access to your hard drive.

    Once you do access the C: drive, go to your Win CD's i386 folder (there may also be one on your C: drive as C:\i386). Copy the Hal.dll file located there to your C:\windows\system32\ folder. One hitch: there's more than one Hal file. You have to get the right one or "things" can happen.

    You can take a look in Windows\system32 and see if the file is there (corrupted) and note the date, byte count, etc. then try to corrolate that with the versions available in the i386 folder.

    If you can't do that, then I think your only recourse is to take it to a techie.

    Maybe someone, more qualified than I (that's easy enough!), will jump in here and offer a more practical remedy. Hang in there.

    I'm interested, cuz I want an easier cure than what I went through before. My techie has "left the building" and no longer available.

    Good luck,
    Bob
     
  3. maxmelbin

    maxmelbin

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    361
    See if the computer can enter into Windows XP Safe Mode:
    Turn on the computer.
    At the first screen, repeatedly press the F8 key to bring up the Windows Advanced Options menu.
    Select Safe Mode and press Enter.
    If the computer starts in Safe Mode, go to Step 2: Editing the boot.ini .


    Step 1: Replacing the boot.ini
    Use the following steps to replace the boot.ini file with the backup boot.ini file:
    Restart the computer.
    At the first startup screen, repeatedly press the F8 key to bring up the Windows Advanced Options menu.
    Select Return to OS Choices Menu and press Enter.
    At the OS Choices menu, select Microsoft Windows Recovery Console and press Enter.
    Enter the number adjacent to C:\WINDOWS (volume to be repaired) and press Enter. In most cases, the number of the correct volume is 3.
    When prompted, type the administrator password and press Enter. If no password has been set, press Enter.
    At the C:\WINDOWS> prompt, type the following: cd \
    Press Enter. At the C:\> prompt, type the following: ren boot.ini boot.in2
    Press Enter. At the C:\> prompt, type the following: ren boot.bak boot.ini.
    Press Enter. At the C:\> prompt, type the following: exit
    Press Enter.

    The system automatically restarts. If the computer does not start normally, continue to the next Step.


    Step 2: Editing the boot.ini
    Use the following steps to edit the boot.ini file.
    Click Start, then click My Computer.
    In the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
    In the Folder Options window, click the View tab.
    In the Advanced Settings area, under Files and Folders, add check marks to the following items:
    Display the contents of system folders
    Show hidden files and folders
    and remove the checkmarks from the following items:

    Hide extensions for known file types
    Hide protected operating system files

    A warning message appears stating that you have chosen to display protected system files.

    Click Yes to accept the changes.

    From the My Computer window, locate and double-click (C:).
    Locate and right-click boot.ini, then click Properties.
    Remove the check mark from Read-only, click Apply, then click OK.
    Double-click the boot.ini file.

    Edit the boot.ini file to read exactly as follows:
    [boot loader]

    timeout=0

    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

    [operating systems]

    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

    C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons


    NOTE: If your computer came with Windows XP Professional, edit the line referring to Home Edition under [operating systems] to read as follows: multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

    After editing the boot.ini file, place a check mark next to the Read-only attribute in the file Properties window, and then click OK.

    Restart the computer. The error message should no longer appear, and Windows should start as normal.

    Alternate Solution
    If the steps above fail to resolve the error, use the following steps:


    NOTE: The following steps require that the recovery partition on the hard drive (if any)be intact. If the recovery partition has been removed or damaged, use a recovery disc, recovery tools CD, Windows XP CD, or recovery console CD to access the command prompt or recover the computer.



    At the command Prompt, type the following: diskpart

    Press Enter and type the following at the diskpart prompt: list volume

    A table of drive volumes and names appears.

    Note the drive letter next to the main drive volume name
    Type the following at the diskpart prompt: Exit

    Press Enter and type the drive letter followed by a colon :)) at the command prompt. For example, D:.

    Press Enter and type the following at the command prompt: attrib -h -s -r boot.ini

    Press Enter and type the following at the command prompt: boot.ini

    The file opens for editing. Edit the boot.ini file to read exactly as follows:

    [boot loader]

    timeout=0

    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

    [operating systems]

    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

    C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons


    NOTE: If your computer came with Windows XP Professional, edit the line referring to Home Edition under [operating systems] to read as follows: multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

    Save and Exit the text editor.

    Type the following at the command prompt: attrib +h +s +r boot.ini

    Press Enter and type the following at the command prompt: Exit

    Click Quit on the recovery screen to restart the computer.

    The computer should now restart without the error message. If the error persists, check the IDE cable connection on the hard drive. If the error still persists, perform a full system recovery.
     
  4. GPaDavis

    GPaDavis

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    178
    Maxmelbin:
    Hey, your instructions were the best, put together, plain english, I think I've seen so far. I've copied it for future reference. I do have a question, will this work with the so-called HP "recovery" disks? I understand these things will ONLY install the OS, erasing everything else on the HDD.

    Don't wan't to hog this space anymore (belongs to Peleckyt), but thanks very much.

    Peleckyt:
    Looks good. Good luck to you.

    Bob
     
  5. peleckyt

    peleckyt Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2
    GPaDavis & Maxmelbin,

    Thanks to both of you for your posts. Here is what has happened since my last post. Using a program to examine NTFS paritions, I verified that my boot.ini file was corrupted. There was an earlier version on the drive and I saved this to a disk. The program I used had a demo of a program to repair this lost file, but the full version was $49.

    The last program that I installed was the software for a recently purchased Ipod. Not sure if this is the reason that I lost the files. The computer was rebooted at least twice after this before the file was lost.

    I was never able to boot into Safe Mode, so I tried some other approaches to rebuild the file. I was able to boot from a boot.ini disk, but by this point I had apparently triggered enough of a re-write of the OS that this discovery was for nothing. So I did a lower level format on the drive and did a complete re-install once again (I have the joy of calling Microsoft to look forward to once again...I hope their call center costs are eating into their profits).

    My many concern is to prevent the loss of this file again. Now that I can get into an install, would it still be best to make the changes Max recommended? Would this provide me with a "Fail Safe" for this issue. I need to plan for the future, please help.
     
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