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Problem within a problem...

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Hi All,

I'm hoping someone can help me with an issue I'm having with my Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop.

Firstly, my Windows XP isn't starting up. I get an error message saying I have a "missing or corrupt hal.dll file. I've checked quite a few forums on this, as there is a fair bit of literature on this topic, and most suggest I start by getting a Windows XP CD and trying to work through the Windows Recovery Console.

I got this up and running, but most advice states that I would then get a menu asking me which hard drive/partition I wish to work with. I assume I don't get this message because my computer has only one hard drive and no partitions... anyway...

I get my command prompt, and the first time I tried it, there was apparently nothing in my c: drive. I tried to get a directory, and couldn't get any response from the command prompt when I typed anything except 'Help'. Then it gave me a list of all the commands that were supposed to run, but none of them worked.

I then tried to run CHKDSK next, as the advice forums recommended that might correct the problem without having to reinstall Windows from the CD.

CHKDSK got to 87% completed, and then gave me an error message stating that the drive seemed to have one or more unrecoverable errors.

I exited the program, and restarted the computer in the Recovery Console. This time, I could get a C: drive directory, but could not access anything. The command prompt was just C:\>, but no WINDOWS directory active. I tried CD WINDOWS, and the message came up "Access is Denied".

So now I'm stumped. I can't fix the problem, I can't access the drive, and it's not always working.

To summarize...

1. Corrupt or missing hal.dll file.

2. CHKDSK aborted itself ("one or more unrecoverable errors").

3. Cannot access the Windows or any other directory on C: ("access is denied")

So... is my computer now an expensive paperweight? Will reinstalling Windows completely help?

I'd be grateful for any suggestions anyone might be able to offer!
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Well the bad news is that your hard drive might be an expensive paper weight, the good news is not your whole computer. It's not very difficult to replace a hard drive, and it sure sounds like your hard drive failed.
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IF there was a way to defrag your hard drive without booting into Windows, you could move all your windows files away from the bad sectors of the hard disk, possibly enabling you to boot long enough to get all your stuff off of it. I know using BartPE (Google it) and a plug-in you can, but maybe someone else in the forum knows of a way to do it easier.


I'm not sure if you have access to another computer with a cd burner, but if so... You can download the .iso file (cd image) of a Linux Live CD, then use it with a USB Flash Drive to get all your needed files off of the computer. I've used these several times, and I'm a huge fan of Live CDs because of it. They run over your current OS in RAM, so you have no changes made to your hard drive. You can use Google to find simple tutorials on how to feel your way through the Linux OS with no prior knowledge. I would recommend Knoppix if go this route.
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