Microsoft has addressed this problem the the article "Error Message: Windows Could Not Start Because of a Computer Disk Hardware Configuration Problem".
This article addresses the error message,
"Winnt_root\System32\Hal.dll missing or corrupt:
Please re-install a copy of the above file."
Which you described.
If this solution does not help please post back for further assistance.
Method 1 says to edit the boot.ini file by right clicking on my computer and clicking properties, however I cannot do this because I cannot get to the desktop from my laptop.
Method 2 says to do the following:
1. Use the Windows XP CD-ROM to start your computer.
2. When you receive the message to press R to repair Windows by using the Recovery Console, press the R key.
3. Select the Windows installation that you want, and then type the administrator password when prompted.
However, when I press the R key to use the Recovery Console I get this error message: "Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer.
Make sure any hard disk drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer, and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct. This may involve running a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program."
Method 3 says to do the following:
1. Start the computer by using your Windows XP CD-ROM. Press any key to boot from the CD.
2. After the setup files are finished loading press R to repair using Recovery Console.
Again, same problem, I can't use the recovery console.
Start the computer by using the Recovery Console....
Once again, can't do it.