I reformated and reinstalled XP wont boot

Microsoft Windows xp professional (upgr...
March 18, 2010 at 13:27:47
Specs: Windows XP
I reformatted my hard drive. I know now that I should have deleted the partition first but I didn't. I messed up. I thought it would be like my other computer that reformatted just fine.

Now it won't boot, won't do anything. I can not get to any other scree.

I just have any error msg that says

Windows could not start because the following file is missing corrupt:

windows root>\system32\hal.dll
Please re-install a copy of the above file

but I can't!!! It won't let me do any thing on it.

is there any way I can start over?

btw I had to reformat because I had the Vundo Trojan and nothing I did would get rid of it.

See More: I reformated and reinstalled XP wont boot

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 13:32:43
Sure go through the same process you just did just boot off the CD first. I do recommend you delete the partion especially if you had a Virus on it. I hope you backed up all of your data first.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 13:34:43
You should do a dod wipe of the drive. It's just zeros out the drive three times. It is what the FBI does with all there hard drives. I personally use gdisk. Download it off google for free. Make a bootable floppy and put it on the disk. Boot off the disk and run it from dos. Wipe the drive and then just reinstall from the XP disk

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 13:36:08
I tried that over and over and over. I even tried killdisk.

It will not get off that screen.

and yes I did remember to back everything up lol

Report •

Related Solutions

March 18, 2010 at 13:41:55
I will try the gdisk though I'm doubtful it will make anything happen. I can't even get to DOS
i can't get anywhere

thank you all for your replies. I've tried other sites and didn't get even one.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 13:54:02
"I will try the gdisk though I'm doubtful it will make anything happen. I can't even get to DOS"

You should be able to. Its called the recovery console. You press R when you are going through the Windows Setup Wizard and it will get you command line with basic tools.

P.S. If you want to zero format your drive then I recommend Boot and Nuke. You could also make a Linux disk which will give you partition tools.


Report •

March 18, 2010 at 13:55:47
How old is this drive? If you know the make go to the website for it. Download the utilities to both test the drive and also (likely they have it...) their utility for writing zeros to the drive.

There is a "remote chance" that the drive has bad or failing sectors on it...; a checkdisk/scandisk routine might indicate this; but manaufacturer's own test utils are better...

Also have you tried the following as in this M$-KB?


If you post the complete error message in google/yahoo etc. the above M$-KB will pop up as welll as a more than few others... Most of them are similar...

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 13:59:13
Make sure your bios boot options are set to floppy first. If you choose that route. You should be able to boot a floppy disk even with the above error.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:04:14
What? This is Windows XP not Windows 98. You do not need a floppy. You can do all of this off of CD.

P.S. We are assuming she has a Windows XP System disk. After rereading the posts they strike me funny. Can you tell us exactly how you are reinstalling Windows.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:14:18
I tried hitting R....nuttin

I tried booting from safe boot....nuttin

It just keeps going back to that screen.

I just read somewhere else on these forums that XP doesn't have DOS??

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:16:08
Are you pressing R when the Setup Wizard tells you to? Are you booting off of the Windows System Disk? Do you have a Windows System Disk?

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:19:57
You can do a lot of things a million different ways. Gdisk was just my choice of apps. She has a virus she can't get rid of, best scenario is to wipe the drive.Formatting does not always remove virus's. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the recovery console has the functionality to wipe or zero out a drive.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:22:18
Yes I have the XP cd

I'm hitting R when it shows the start screen....its the only screen I have other than the error msg.

How am I reinstalling?? I first reformatted the drive then installed the XP off the cd boot. I believe my mistake was not deleting the partition first.

I just did the same thing on a Compaq Presario and it worked just fine. So now I tried it on a Gateway 830GM

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:23:38
Can understand the phrustrayshun... Have you dun/tried the path in the M$-KB; have (or can.will) you run a drive test sequence - preferably with utilities from the drive's website?

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:27:31
I don't get a set up wizard

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:29:08
How am I supposed to get to the drives website when I can't get it to boot.

but i have checked all of the sites....and there are no answers for what I need.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:31:21
mmm How are you getting here? Use the same computer to access etc.?

Again I'd be inclined to test the drive with manufacturer's utilities...

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:32:00
I don't think any of you do understand my frustration. I f**ked up and I know I did.

I'm a novice with the newer computers. I'm just now getting back into them. In the 90's I could fix all of my computers. but I've been out of it all for years due to personal life and no time to keep up.

I want to do this myself. Please don't mock me. I am trying really hard to fix this on my own.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:34:56
I'm using my laptop right now but I do not want this as my main computer.

I fixed my desktop after getting the Vundo. Now I'm trying to fix my daughters machine which is older but she wants to use it for back up. She also had the Vundo and paid a tech a s--- load of money and he couldn't find the virus. I found it in less than 5 mins but couldn't get rid of it so I decided to wipe out the drive.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:48:05
Cindy, you are going to continue to see this error and continue to be stuck in this loop until you wipe the drive. Why, because the error is being caused by files on the drive(formatting won't fix this). Once you wipe the drive( like suggested) then you will be able to reformat and repartition and re-install. Now if you had wiped the drive( like stated above), then the issue would be solved. Since your on a laptop I can assume you have no floppy drive. And if this is the case then you had no way to attempt to boot off a floppy into dos in the first place. If you do not provide clear information it makes it that much harder to help you.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 14:56:19
I understand that and thank you but this computer and the one I' trying to fix doesn't have a floppy.

when I checked out that link above it said to make 6 floppy's for recovery....okay it was an MS site....don't they know there is no floppy???

I tried all the drive wipe outs listed above and still nothing.

I guess I don't know what you mean by clear info. I'm trying my best to explain what happened.

I put the cd in the drive.....it asked where I wanted installed. I hit c drive....it told me there was already an OS in there and it could mess up ... I don't remember exactly what it said. I should have deleted the partition but I didn't. My bad. It reformatted ....it went well....then installed the XP but stopped and came up with that error msg.

At one point I was able to get to a recover screen but it went back to the error msg. I haven't been able to get back to that recover screen.

I can get to the BIOs but that does me no good.

I once got to the screen where i could boot in safe mode...i tried that and it went right back to error msg.

I put the XP cd back in and you prob guessed....error msg.

I tried all those drive wipe outs....error msg.

That's all there is so I don't know what else you want to know.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:03:44
This isn't difficult. Just boot off the WinXP CD & follow the on-screen instructions.

Press ENTER to begin the installation...do NOT press R...that's where you're fvcking up! Press F8 to agree to the licensing, then press D to delete the partition. You'll get a warning about it, just go ahead & press ENTER again, then press L to confirm the deletion.

Hopefully you can figure out the rest from there...just read what's on the screen.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:11:58
okay plz read above. when i put the cd in nothing happens

and i did try enter

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:14:58
Go into the bios and change the boot order so the cd/dvd is the first device. If this fails, disable the hard drive from the boot order. Then try the XP disc.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:19:53
How do I disable the hard drive from the boot order?

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:28:35
First:Put the xp disk in cd drive.Reboot the pc and enter the bios(F1, DEL or F2) Set the boot order in bios to the first device to boot from the cd/dvd rom. Press F10 to save.Your Pc will reboot and it will ask if you want to boot off the cd hit any key.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:31:24
"How do I disable the hard drive from the boot order?"

You don't disable it, you change the order. Apparently the HDD is setup to boot before the CD-ROM drive...change the order so that the CD-ROM drive is 1st.

Either that or you're not paying attention to the screen because to be able to boot off the XP CD, you have to "press any key...." when prompted. If you're not pressing a key, the system will bypass the CD & move on to the HDD.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:34:28
I've went in and changed it to boot off the cd rom and then I tried changing it to my external cd rom

I am paying attention to the screen.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:41:33
The only way you can boot off an external drive is if 'USB device' is an option in the boot order & it would have to be listed before the HDD.

In the original post you said you reformated. How did you reformat without booting off the CD?

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:41:47
I understand that all of you are trying to help. but telling me I'm not paying attention to the screen was a bit mean.

I have said over and over it keeps going back to the error msg.

I don't get another screen to press any key.

I did earlier but that was a few hours ago and it won't come up anymore and when I did it it went right back to the error

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:44:49
Before I started this whole mess...I went into the bios and changed it to reboot off of the cd rom. It worked.

Later I started thinking maybe something was wrong with the cd rom since I could not longer get it to boot off of it.....so I went into the bios and changed it to the external

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:45:24
OK, change the order making the internal CD drive 1st, then reboot with the XP CD in the drive & immediately start tapping the space bar.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:48:08
holy crap!! after doing the same thing at least 30 times it is now at a screen saying windows setup!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:51:28
and guess what :(

right back to error msg after going through the agreement screen and all that

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 15:59:15
If you follow the above advise, then it would have tried to boot from the cd. The problem is your answer are short and vague, that with the fact that you need to be more descriptive of the hardware on the pc .Does it have a internal cd-rom drive? Don't use the external cd-rom drive. Keep it simple. You need to make sure the bios recognizes the cd-rom. Usually the first page in bios.Let's assume your right. It bypasses the cd-rom drive and goes right to the hard drive. In the bios you can setup all the boot orders to be anything but the hard drive. Remove it from the boot order(cdrom,floppy,floppy). (The hal.dll is from the hard drive booting.) That removes the hard drive from even attempting to boot. But if the cd drive is not recognized in the first place, it goes straight to the next boot order device. The fact are that you corrupted the install and I have seen it a million times. Windows won't let you format; it won't let you delete the partition and it won't let you install. This is why I suggested wiping the drive because corrupted system files are causing these problems.
So check to see that the cd-rom is recognized. Remove the hard drive from the boot order completely.Make sure your saving the configuration in the bios with F10 and retry the cd.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 16:00:34
Is it the exact same error screen about HAL.dll every time? Did you try cleaning the disc?

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 16:10:16
ok it says its reformatting right now. its on the set up screen.

but it did this before and stopped before it was finished and gave me that error msg

I was able to delete the partitions so i hope this works this time. its at 19% formatting right now from the external

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 17:21:25
Okay it successfully loaded yay!!! I don't know what made a difference this time, I tried the thing over and over but I'm glad it worked,

Thank you for trying to help me and most of all taking me seriously.

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 17:45:07
Well dun! Top marks for hanging in there... So easy to get oneself in a dead-end twist too at times... Remember it's a dumb box with a limited brain capacity... Nonetheless if it can screw up it will - and leave you thinking you dun sumat wrong...!

I would suggest you get yourself a copy of Acronis or similar image software. I like Acronis personally over Ghost; and prefer version-11 too (it's still out there). Then make a restoreable (and bootable too) image onto DVD(s); then if things go down again... restore "your" image to the system.

Also ensure you have the M$ Windows Defender installed; and running all the time (it works...). Likewise good anti-virus util. I prefer avast (avast.com) freebie version. Duz wot it sez on the tin...

And once in a while run a freebie Trend.com "housecall" on-line scan. It will load a few files onto the hard-drive so as to enable a scan. Opt for a full scan!.

Also make regular restore points; and also ensure you have valid copies of all data on the system - on optical media. Verify they play etc. on at least one other system too; and renew/update these copies too regularly...

Report •

March 18, 2010 at 18:23:29
I'll do that thank you!

I know I could have saved hours by taking it in to have it fixed but I'm a stubborn biatch LOL and like to learn to do things for myself.

Report •

March 19, 2010 at 05:07:26
Fixing it oneself is a good way to go; and no harm in searching out resources to help too - and this is one of the better (best?) places to come...

An age ago my MCSE tutor (a Novell man at heart) used to say his first port of call when he had a problem IT related was the www...; as often others would likely have had similar issues which would help him resolve whatever more easily...

Report •

March 19, 2010 at 07:59:32
"I'm hitting R when it shows the start screen....its the only screen I have other than the error msg."

Ok, sorry you posted after I went to school so I was not able to get back to you. I read all the posts and you got some good advice and bad.

First, your problem was as I suspected that you where not booting from the CD because you needed to change your BIOS which it apears some one helped you.

Second, you got bad advice by some one saying NOT TO PRESS R. You can not delete and format a partion on a drive that is failing which is what you just found out. You need to Press R to get to the recovery console so you can run Disk Repair utilities before you can format or the format will fail when it runs into bad sectors on the drive.

So again I apologize for not catching you before you went through all of this. You need to boot to the Recovery Console by pressing R when it says then run the following command and hope...


If it is unable to repair your drive then you may have to replace it.

Report •

March 19, 2010 at 08:11:24
Thank you for your response.

It is reformatted and now has XP pro installed. but it's an older machine and I'm finding it hard to find an anti virus (free) to put in it. It says it needs the service pack but that won't install either because it says my system is out of date. right now it has service pack 1 but says it needs 4.

I like and have used AGV and it's worked well. I have Norton now for my machines but I'm looking for one to put on the one I just fixed.

I know you probably need more info about the machine to give me any advice so if you can tell me what you need and where to find it I will.

thank you again

Report •

March 19, 2010 at 09:49:49
avast.com supports W2K, XP and Vista at least; and I think also still '98/ME...

I use avast freebie (home use) and it's does what it sez...

Also as already suggested install Windows Defender (from M$-land); it's also free and does actually do a good job.

What make is the PC in question?

To the best of my knowledge - there is no genuine SP-4 for XP; M$-land refer upto SP-3 only...


It can be downloaded as complete file; which save to a hard drive; then install from there...

There are a couple of things one is advised to do before installing SP-3 but in your situation I doubt they are necessary...; so I won't go there...


is where to download it from $-land... Copy/paste the above "link" into your browser etc.. Sorry it's a long one..

Get the full version at the above location; save it your drive and install from there; or copy to a CD/DVD and install that way?.

Another source is:


To install/run avast version 5x (latest) you will need to be at least SP-2 in XP. So install SP-3 first; then go after avast...

W2K has its SP-4; but no such animal for XP (officially...; unless I missed it?)

XP also requires a minimum of 128Meg RAM; but it will be a little slow... 256Meg is "a little better" but 512Meg is a good number to start with; and 1Gig - even nicer...

Norton is regarded by many as true resource hog; which is why many remove it and use avast or avg... Personally I prefer avast over avg. I had a few problems with avg on '9x/ME system a year or so back; and also on one XP-Pro installation. To date none with avast on any system/OS ('9x, NT4, W2K, and XP-Home/Pro).

Report •

March 19, 2010 at 11:20:48
Thank you for your response. I know when I did my other computer SP3 was the only one available so 4 made no sense to me.

here are the specs on the computer I am now working on. I hope you can read it lol. I copy and pasted so it looks jumbled....sorry but I dont have time right now to type it all out :)

Operating System System Model
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 (build 2600)
Install Language: English (United States)
System Locale: English (United States) Gateway 830GM
Enclosure Type: Desktop
Processor a Main Circuit Board b
3.00 gigahertz Intel Pentium 4
16 kilobyte primary memory cache
2048 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Hyper-threaded (2 total) Board: Intel Corporation D915GAG AAC77881-304
Serial Number: FCAG45210301
Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
BIOS: Intel Corp. AG91510J.15A.0816.2005.0214.1818 02/14/2005
Drives Memory Modules c,d
200.04 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
196.96 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space

TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-H552B [CD-ROM drive]

Generic USB CF Reader USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 2
Generic USB MS Reader USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 4
Generic USB SD Reader USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 1
Generic USB SM Reader USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 3
ST3200822AS [Hard drive] (200.05 GB) -- drive 0, SMART Status: Healthy 1014 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory

Slot 'J6H1' has 512 MB (serial number 0xF10564FD)
Slot 'J6H2' is Empty
Slot 'J6J1' has 512 MB (serial number 0xF3024FE8)
Slot 'J6J2' is Empty
Local Drive Volumes

c: (NTFS on drive 0) 200.04 GB 196.96 GB free
Network Drives

Report •

March 19, 2010 at 11:47:20
You suggest it's an olde... system.. Not that olde as the specs are pretty good - and more than enuff for XP...

If you go to crucial.com and let it scan your system (it's a well known and safe site) it will tell you how much RAM you have; what you install and offer you the arious types of RAM it has...

If - as it appears from your info above - you have already 2 x 512 Meg installed.. then unless you're into serious number crunching or super fast games (and then likely you would also need a fast/current graphics card) that totla of 1Gig RAM will be fine; the preferred min of 512 (rather than 256) is "OK" for general not too heavy use...; and you appear to have 1Gig... so you're wll stocked...

Based on the info you post... I would suggest you don't need to spend anything more on the system - other than perhaps install another hard-drive for data only? Possibly a second CD/DVD drive (burner) so you can read from one and burn to the other "on the fly" which is faster; than a single burner approach (and one presumes you have CD/DVD burner already installed).

This is useful (freebie) util to run as it will tell you what's i the system; hardware and software; and produce all the "registration" keys as appropriate for software...; and it useful/wise to copy these to somewhere safe; and also make hard-copies too. Then you have them all for future use (if needs-be)?


and another is SiSoftware Sandra Lite at:


If you go for the second one - ensure you get the lite version (it's freebie); and the download button does say that's what you're going for...

and if you go to Start\Run and type in the "box":


that freebie util within XP etc... will generate much of the same useful info...

Report •

Ask Question