I recently completely reformatted my computer and reinstalled everything. I used to have my Windows installation on my C Drive (40GB), but when I did this re-install, I put it on my D Drive (250GB). It all worked perfectly fine, for about a month. I have been suffering from a missing or corrupted hal.dll file for about 2 weeks now, and none of the typical solutions are working. Here is what I have done:
* Boot onto d:\windows in Safe Mode with or without a command prompt. This does not work. I get the hal.dll error before it can load Windows.
* From the XP cd, boot into the Recovery Console. I was able to do this. The Recovery Console can log onto the D installation. So I tried replacing the file with the one on the disk, with the following command "expand f:\i386\hal.dl_ d:\windows\system23\hal.dll" It tells me something along the lines of "Cannot expand file."
* Also from the Recovery Console, I used "bootcfg /rebuild" and "fixboot" to no avail. I still get the hal.dll error.
* Eventually, booting from the XP cd, I put a clean installation onto my C drive. I can now boot into that one with no problems. So now when I start up, I choose whether to boot onto my C installation (which works) or my D installation (which does not work).
* I have replaced d:\windows\system32\hal.dll with c:\windows\system32\hal.dll multiple times, all to no avail. I still get the same error when I try to boot onto the d installation. I have done this in and out of Safe Mode.
* Booting into the c installation, I have deleted and rebuilt boot.ini. Still get the same problem.
* Booting from the XP cd, I have tried to "Repair" my d installation. It does all the preliminary copying of files, then after the first reboot, I get the hal.dll error.
I can't seem to kill this bug, and it's really bothering me! I have even had a few more tech-savvy friends look at it, and they can't even figure out what's wrong. I am informed that it's not a hardware problem, as my c installation loads just fine.
Ideally, I would like to get my d installation working as it was before (without loss of data or personal settings). My second choice of solution would be to copy all the settings from the d installation to the c installation, so I would be running Windows from my c drive and everything else from my d drive. What I really want to avoid is having to re-install all my programs and re-set all my personal settings, rebuild my iTunes music library, re-download and customize all my Firefox extensions, etc.
Although the cause of this problem is secondary to the solution, I would be interested in knowing what would cause such a thing. The only thing I can come up with is a MS Hotfix I installed recently. I was having troubles running a program, and the tech support of that program told me to download this Hotfix, which apparently corrects errors introduced in an earlier security update. However, I'm not really sure that it was caused by the Hotfix, since the computer restarted after installing the Hotfix and that restart went just fine. I didn't experience this problem at all until I hibernated my computer after the Hotfix, and then turned it back on the next day.
Any suggestions would be very much appreciated! As you can see, I have done everything one would normally do to fix this problem. It's time to start breaking out the high-end fixes!
Thanks in advance.