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windows/root/system32 file missing or corrupt


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#1
POTO234

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I was recently using my Dell Inspiron 1525 in a local Starbucks, connecting to a free wireless network that was available. At one point the laptop froze, so I turned it off and tried to restart. However, it would not start up and kept getting stuck on a blank screen. I tried several times, and finally started getting the error message that said something like "windows/root/32/etc. file missing, please reinstall." I called Dell and was informed that someone had most likely tried to hack into my computer through the wireless network, and that I should have purchased an anti-virus software for the computer since the protection that it came with was not enough.

The computer is not even a year old (I bought it last July). They said that I have two options: the first is to reinstall Windows for no charge but lose all of my files, and the second is to purchase their warranty for $225 in order to have an on-call expert walk me through the process of saving my files.

I am wondering if others have seen this error message, and if there is something I can do to fix it without losing my files? I have googled the error but it seems that most responses are from people with Windows XP. I am not very tech-savvy and thus need to be walked through what to do step-by-step. I tried booting my computer from the windows CD and running the system repair, but after a couple of hours I gave up because it didn't seem to be doing anything. Any suggestions? Thanks!
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#2
Murray S.

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Howdy and welcome to GTG:

We need the entire error message please.

Murray
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#3
usasma

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You can get a backup cheaper at BestBuy!
Or, you can purchase a USB caddy for your hard drive, slave it to another computer - and we'll help you do that for free (presuming that this isn't a hard drive problem).
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#4
POTO234

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The entire error message is:

"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."
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#5
Murray S.

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Take a look at the Microsft fix.. they have a couple possibilities.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314477

Murray
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#6
POTO234

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This is similar to something I found on about.com, but I am wondering if it is different for Windows Vista (as this microsoft site says it applies only to Windows XP). When I boot from the Windows Vista CD, instead of having the option to enter the recovery console, it gives me the option of either installing windows or repairing the system. When I chose to repair the system, I let it run for a couple hours and nothing seemed to be happening.
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#7
Murray S.

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When you first boot your system, doo you get any options such as press F11 to enter setup?

Murray
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#8
POTO234

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I changed the boot order so that it boots from the CD automatically, and I don't get any options like that. It just goes straight into a startup screen asking me to choose a language, and whether I would like to install windows or repair the system.
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#9
usasma

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Usually, with a Dell, it's F2 to enter setup.
You'll have to tap this key repeatedly as the first Dell screen shows up.
(the F2/F12 prompts don't seem to be present on some of the newer Dells)
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#10
POTO234

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Yup F2 gets me to a blue System screen, which is where I went before to change the boot order to boot from the CD. The categories on the left are System, Onboard Devices, Video, Security, Performance, Power Management, Maintenance, POST Behavior, and Wireless. Is there anything I can try here that might help?
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