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Fatal Startup Solutions
     
 

missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll

 
  Description  
     
 

The hardware Abstraction Layer file hal.dll is either missing or corrupt. This file is used to interface to hardware such as the keyboard and mouse ports on your system. Most desktops use a common hardware platform supported by a default hal.dll file. Many laptop manufacturers will replace this file with their own custom hal.dll file. Without this file, Windows cannot be run, even in Safe mode.

Aside from the file actually missing or corrupt, it can also be caused by hard drive problems, a damaged boot record or a damaged ntoskrnl.exe file.

 
   
  Sample Screen  
     
 

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.





 
   
  Key Facts  
     
 
Full Title
  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.


Type
  Fatal Loading 

occurance meter
Windows
  All

Vendor
  Microsoft Corporation
 
   
  Solutions and Fixes  
     
 
  Date votes Ratings
Repair File System (XP/2003)
8
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You'll use the Recovery Console to check and fix file system problems. To get to the Recovery Console prompt. insert the XP installation CD and reboot the system. Assuming the BIOS defaults to booting from the media (usually the default) a "Welcome to Setup" screen appears. Press R to load the Recovery Console.

At the prompt, type:  chkdsk /r

For detailed instructions with screen shots to run the recovery console, go to Using System Restore XP/2003

 
   
 
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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 16-Oct-2008
 
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Repair Damaged or Missing OS Files
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Use the Windows RE (Repair Environment) under Window 7/Vista to repair and replace missing or damaged files. For XP users, you can re-install XP without erasing applications or settings, or use the XP Recovery Console to fix some problems. Pick the OS solution below.

Using Windows RE for Windows 7/Vista/Server 2008

For detailed instructions with screen shots, go to Using System Restore 7/Vista/2008, or use the brief summary here:

You'll need the Windows installation DVD. Note that many OEM manufactures leave out the installation DVD, which has to be purchased separately, or they only include a limited restore DVD that just erases the system and starts over (often a poor choice). All retail copies of Windows include this bootable DVD.

Insert the Windows DVD and reboot the system. Assuming the BIOS defaults to booting from the DVD (usually the default) then select the language. Next click on Repair your computer. A list of Windows installations should appear. Select your installation (typically there will only be one).

A list of recovery options will appear including an automatic repair function, restore from a previous system restore point, restore the computer from a backup (assuming one is available), run the memory diagnostic tool, or go to a command prompt (for advanced users).

Using Windows Recovery for XP

For detailed instructions with screen shots, go to Using System Restore XP.

As a reminder, not all hal.dll files are the same and if the system was using a different version or one provided by the PC manufacturer that is different than the one you copied, it may cause odd behavior and/or hang at a later point.

 
   
 
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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 5-Oct-2008
 
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Run Startup Repair (Windows 7/Vista)
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Windows 7/Vista/2008 offer a semi-automatic way to fix a range of startup and file problems.

  1. Boot from your bootable Windows installation DVD and go into the 7/Vista Recovery Console.
  2. At the System Recovery Options menu, select Startup Repair.
  3. Remove the DVD and select the Restart button.

With luck this will correct the problem.

 
   
 
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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 6-Oct-2008
 
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Fix Missing or Damaged Ntoskrl.exe File
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You can use Windows Recovery Console to fix a missing or damaged ntoskrnl.exe file. First boot from your Windows boot CD/DVD. We recommend you use a version that matches the OS service pack installed on your system (i.e. if you have Vista SP2, use a Vista SP2 DVD).

For Windows 7/Vista/2008, go to the page 7/Vista Recovery Console . Using the option "Startup Repair" should take care of it.

For XP/2003, go to the page XP Recovery Console . You'll need to go through the command prompt and expand and copy the ntoskrnl.ex_ file from the CD to  WindowsSystem32 toskrnl.exe. Instructions are in the XP Recovery Console guide, under Fix a Damaged or Missing File.

 
   
 
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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 6-Oct-2008
 
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Fix Boot.ini (XP/2003)
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If the Boot.ini file points off to the wrong partition or drive, this error can occur.

If you have Fix-It Utilities Professional or SystemSuite Professional, we suggest using it's BOOT.INI repair tool as it is much faster and deals with some special situations. Simply boot from the Rescue CD or diskette and at the menu, select BootFixer. Remove the CD and select Exit.

To fix Boot.ini using the Windows boot CD:

  1. Boot from your bootable XP/2003 installation CD and go into the XP Recovery Console. Follow our guide and you'll end up at a command prompt.
  2. At the prompt, type: bootcfg /rebuild
  3. This will locate any XP installations and display them. At the prompt Add installation to boot list? enter Y and press Enter.
  4. Next it asks for you to enter the text to use for the OS Enter Load Identifier. For example type Windows XP Professional and press Enter.
  5. One last prompt asks you to Enter OS Load Options. Type /Fastdetect and press Enter. (View Boot.ini options at Microsoft).
  6. Remove the boot CD and type Exit and press Enter.

If the BOOT.INI was the cause of the problem, Windows will boot normally.

 
   
 
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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 6-Oct-2008
 
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  Technical Details  
     
 
  technical details

Windows begins by running the NTLDR program, which in turn brings in other necessary files to bring up the operating system, including hal.dll. The hall.dll file is critical in the startup process to access hardware.

More information is available from Microsoft knowledgebase article: 945380

 
   
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  Microsoft Corporation (more info...)

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