Solved File missing or corrupt: Windows root\system32\hal.dll

December 6, 2013 at 06:18:46
Specs: Windows XP Pro SP-3, Intel Core Duo T2450 / 2 GB
Tried to use the laptop on battery - it tried to start then shut down - evidently destructively. Plugged it in to AC for about 4 Hrs; on startup error message was "Windows could not start because following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM."

This laptop has a recovery partition (D:\); I don't think it came with a Windows Setup CD ROM. Using the Compaq PC Recovery on D:\, I ran Windows System Restore with the result: "Windows could not start because of an error in the software. Please report this problem as: load needed DLLs for kernel. Please contact your support person, etc."

The BIOS Disk Check was run and the drive passed both the Quick and Comprehensive tests. The Windows System Restore was repeated and provided a different 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."

The BIOS Disk Check and Windows System Restore were repeated a couple of times with the same result. The drive passed the tests, and the error continued to be a corrupt or missing hal.dll.

During the above, the BIOS Boot Order was changed to put the CD/DVD ROM drive first. I don't have a boot disk, but did a reboot with a formatted CD in place, and the drive did spin up.

At this point, I think I need a boot CD that will let me get the laptop started, at least in safe mode, and a copy of hal.dll. Is this file generic, or does it have to match this particular hardware and software configuration of this laptop? I have not tried going back to HP or Microsoft yet - since the laptop is around 7 years old, I don't know how far I would get. I have the Windows XP Pro product key from the tag on the bottom of the laptop - would that help me get any help from either of these companies?

Thanks for any help that you can provide!


See More: File missing or corrupt: Windows root\system32\hal.dll

December 6, 2013 at 10:38:42
✔ Best Answer
You might manage it with an old repair disk that was made by Winternals and Sysinternals… It was called an ERD Commander and was around during XP (and earlier) days for a modest sum… The company and the ERD were taken over by M$ and the later versions of it are only available (if at all these days) to techs registered with M$-land… A classic case of a big outfit restricting useful stuff/utilities etc. that once were readily available to all (for a modest sum…)

However… it can be found around - still… I did a quick trawl via google - using:

winternals ERD commander

and found a lot out there…

is one possible source - there is download link near the top… Don't be put off buy the German site version. It's likely the same ERD Commander that "may" help you…

The site above (and various others too) discusses how to use it of course (in English).

And if you pursue the trawl/search a little more then likely you can find other download sources too.

You need an ISO which burn to DVD; boot with that DVD… At the least you may be able to recover data (unless you've already overwritten and lost it all…).

Also a possible trawl around HP/Comaq for your model's support info. may bring up an ISO download for a recovery disk. Likewise a phone call may produce one?

If you use a "standard" XP cd.. it will have to be an OEM as your system was almost certainly an OEM installation; and a retail version won't accept your (OEM) key… If you look at the key sticker on your pc likely it will include the letter OEM; and even if it doesn't the one buried within the original XP installation more than likely will.

Do any repair/recovery routine with mains power applied; don't try them on battery power...

If you're in the UK, and can't secure an ISO download etc. let me know your whereabouts; general location at this stage (don't post a specific address and/or email - here).

message edited by trvlr

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December 6, 2013 at 11:06:10
trvlr - Thanks for the leads. Good point on the OEM issue - it most likely was. The MS tag on the bottom that has the product key has a title of "Windows (r) XP Professional," with "HP" immediately below the title. Forgot to mention this before, but the BIOS claims "Factory Installed OS: Vista." Not sure what that means.

Thanks again

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December 6, 2013 at 13:52:32
Are you in the UK?

OEM disks can often be found in computer fairs and clearance houses/sites....; also eBay. But... if it's badged (has a specific manufacturer's name on it - Dell, HP etc...) then likely it will not work for you. Sometimes in days of XP and certainly by Vista... M$ insisted all manufacturers bios locked their OS cd to the system shipped; .
meaning it would only work with that computer (or others of the same model etc...).

There are some out there though that may be unbadged; or at least not bios locked...

And there is at least one site that sells (legally they say) an ISO OEM download for most M$ windows OS. They say they are a legal clearance outlet recognised/authorised by M$.

A possible trawl for XP and/or Vista OEM may bring it up. Their prices are pretty good too as I recall.!

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Related Solutions

December 6, 2013 at 17:30:13
Error: Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \system32\hal.dll
This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop computers with Windows XP.

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December 7, 2013 at 05:51:38
Not in UK, in US (Maryland). Thanks for the ISO OEM suggestion; I did a quick search, and found a number of these - need to go back to reading in more detail.

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December 7, 2013 at 05:55:44
Thanks for the link. Did not know HP had that much info available. Per an earlier suggestion on this forum, I did phone them about a boot disk and got to learn about their "HP Expert" support system ($$, but not too bad). For the time being, I will be reading their free publications, however.

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