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System won't boot. "missing or corrupt hal.dll" (recurring


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#1
NorrinRadd

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I hope this isn't too wordy. I'm going to be as thorough as possible.





2006 Dell desktop, Windows XP with SP3 and all subsequent MS updates that the system automatically downloads and installs.



System was running normally until about a month ago. It froze, and the only choice was to reboot via the power button. When it tried to boot, it paused and eventually coughed up the infamous "missing or corrupt hal.dll" message. AFAIK, I had made no changes to the system; I think it may have occurred right after the latest round of updates from MS, but I'm not certain.



Ran a couple of different virus scanners, nothing found.



After Googling the error message, I tried everything listed on this page:



1) Just try rebooting again.



2) Verify boot order in BIOS



3) Run System Restore from command prompt. (Not possible; the error does not let me get that far.)



4) Run bootcfg /rebuild from the Repair Console



5) Run fixboot from the Repair Console



6) Run chkdsk /r from the Repair Console (It took a long time, it appeared to stall for a while around 70%, but ultimately it "found and repaired errors," and completed.



7) Expand a clean hal.dll from the CD



8) Perform a "Repair Installation" from CD



9) Perform "Clean" installation.



That final step was the only one that worked. I reinstalled the OS, drivers, SP3, other updates from MS, and some of my software. Everything seemed to be going well. Last night, Firefox froze. Task Manager was unable to terminate it, and after several tries, the entire system froze. The ony option was again the power button, and on reboot, the hal.dll error returned.



I would *like* to be able to fix it without another reinstall.



This time, I have tried a few other steps:



-- I downloaded the SeaTools disk diagnostics. (The hard drives in the Dell are Seagate drives.) Ran the "short" or "quick" test, found no problems. Ran the "long" test; it took about two and a half hours to complete on the 1 TB drive, and found no errors.



-- I tried the specific advice from Dell relative to the missing hal.dll error, found here. They are essentially an abbreviated subset of the steps I tried above.

-- I tried Fred Langa's No-Reformat Nondestructive Total Rebuild option. That did not work. When it got to the first reboot during Setup, when the CD is out of the drive, it returns to the missing hal.dll error.


-- Tried to do these simple steps recommended by Fred Langa:


Boot from your XP Setup CD and enter the Recovery Console
Run "Attrib -H -R -S" on the C:\Boot.ini file
Delete the C:\Boot.ini file
Run "Bootcfg /Rebuild"
Run Fixboot



Unfortunately, I never got beyond the second step. From the Rescue Console, ran attrib boot.ini at C:\. Showed r a s h attributes all set. Tried attrib -r -s -h boot.ini (since the Rescue Console attrib command does not include the "archive" parameter). Tried repeatedly, in upper and lower case, and in different orders, and in all cases, it tells me I'm using an invalid paramenter, but I can't tell from attrib /? what I'm doing wrong.


-- Verified that hal.dll is indeed present in system32 folder, and that boot.ini is indeed present in C:\.


Given the fact that XP expires in about six months, I know I'm ultimately going to need to replace the system, but I'd like to get a bit more time out of it. But I hate the thought of completely starting over from zero again, since it appears the hal.dll issue could crop up repeatedly.

FYI, I'm posting this from a laptop running Linux Mint. The Windows(7) installation on it is ALSO having issues, but I'd like to get one Windows system running before I risk making this one totally unusable.


Soooo... Any ideas?

I suspect the fact that attrib doesn't work means something -- but I don't know WHAT it means, or what to do about it.

Edited by NorrinRadd, 06 September 2013 - 10:52 AM.

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#2
Machiavelli

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Topic goes to SleepyDude.

PS: We could look for replacement files for hal.dll but since the OP said that he reinstalled the System I think this isn't usefull.

Edited by Machiavelli, 07 September 2013 - 01:55 PM.

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#3
Machiavelli

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Edited by Machiavelli, 07 September 2013 - 10:05 AM.

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#4
SleepyDude

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- Tried to do these simple steps recommended by Fred Langa:


Boot from your XP Setup CD and enter the Recovery Console
Run "Attrib -H -R -S" on the C:\Boot.ini file
Delete the C:\Boot.ini file
Run "Bootcfg /Rebuild"
Run Fixboot



Unfortunately, I never got beyond the second step. From the Rescue Console, ran attrib boot.ini at C:\. Showed r a s h attributes all set. Tried attrib -r -s -h boot.ini (since the Rescue Console attrib command does not include the "archive" parameter). Tried repeatedly, in upper and lower case, and in different orders, and in all cases, it tells me I'm using an invalid paramenter, but I can't tell from attrib /? what I'm doing wrong.

Hi,

For the attrib command to work you need to use:
attrib -h-r-s c:\boot.ini
I'm not sure about including the path... if you get an error change to the root with cd.. and then type the same command only with the file name boot.ini and no path c:\

It's strange to have the hal.dll problem just like that on two consecutive installs! you already tested the Hard Disk, I will suggest to test also the RAM with Memtest86. Let the test run until you see the message: Pass Complete...
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#5
NorrinRadd

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- Tried to do these simple steps recommended by Fred Langa:


Boot from your XP Setup CD and enter the Recovery Console
Run "Attrib -H -R -S" on the C:\Boot.ini file
Delete the C:\Boot.ini file
Run "Bootcfg /Rebuild"
Run Fixboot



Unfortunately, I never got beyond the second step. From the Rescue Console, ran attrib boot.ini at C:\. Showed r a s h attributes all set. Tried attrib -r -s -h boot.ini (since the Rescue Console attrib command does not include the "archive" parameter). Tried repeatedly, in upper and lower case, and in different orders, and in all cases, it tells me I'm using an invalid paramenter, but I can't tell from attrib /? what I'm doing wrong.

Hi,

For the attrib command to work you need to use:
attrib -h-r-s c:\boot.ini
I'm not sure about including the path... if you get an error change to the root with cd.. and then type the same command only with the file name boot.ini and no path c:\


I believe I tried it both ways, but I will do so again to verify.



It's strange to have the hal.dll problem just like that on two consecutive installs! you already tested the Hard Disk, I will suggest to test also the RAM with Memtest86. Let the test run until you see the message: Pass Complete...
Posted Image


My apologies -- I tried to be thorough in my explanation, but I forgot to mention that running Memtest86 was one of the first things I did. It found no errors after one full pass. Not sure what would happened if I had run multiple passes.

Before seeing the replies to this thread, I decided to take another shot at scanning for malware. Avira booted but never got to the scanning portion. It stalled at 5% while mounting the secondary hard drive.

Dr. Web booted but took quite a while to get to the GUI. It then downloaded needed updates from the Internet, which also took quite a while. When it completed, I told it to scan. As I type this, it has been scanning for over 5 hours. According to its own progress reports, it has scanned over 930,000 "objects," and is still only 1% done; at that rate -- barely 1% in 5 hours -- it will take at least 20 days to complete. That seems slightly unreasonable. So far, it reports 0 "threats," 0 "malicious" items, 0 "infected" items, 0 "suspicious" items. However, it reports 48 items it has been unable to scan for one reason or another.

I'm not sure how long I'm willing to let it run before I cancel it to try something else. I'm certain I'm not going to wait 20 days or more!
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#6
NorrinRadd

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Topic goes to SleepyDude.

PS: We could look for replacement files for hal.dll but since the OP said that he reinstalled the System I think this isn't usefull.


Yeah, one of the things I did the first time this happened was to expand a clean copy of hal.dll from the OEM installation CD. Didn't help.
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#7
NorrinRadd

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Ok, Dr Web took about a day to complete its scan. It completed while I was asleep and exited the "control panel." I know it had found at least 3 malware items while it was still running, but I don't know what it did about them. After the control panel closed, I was unable to reopen it.

I then re-ran Memtest86+. I let it run a few hours for a bit over 3 full passes, and it found no memory errors.

I tried attrib again. I finally got it to work by leaving no spaces between the parameters -- i.e., attrib -r-h-s instead of attrib -r -h -s. Then I followed the rest of Langa's steps for rebuilding boot.ini. Did not fix the hal.dll error.

Finally I ran F-Prot. It ran about 16 hours, and found and renamed 4 items of malware, none of them on the primary drive. The hal.dll error persists.


I think I'm about ready to wave the white flag and just get a new system.
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#8
SleepyDude

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Hi,

I'm not sure the problem is the corrupted hal.dll the problem is most likely another... I've seen it but right now I don't remember the cause...

Let's try to replace the file and see how it goes:

Boot from the Windows XP CD and access the Recovery Console, now type the following commands:
cd "c:\windows\Driver Cache\i386"

expand sp3.cab /f:halacpi.dll c:\

cd c:\windows\system32

ren hal.dll hal.old

ren c:\halacpi.dll hal.dll

Execute the commands on the order listed you have to press Enter after each command and none of them should give you any error, if you get an error stop and let me know where it fails.

If all the commands run correctly restart the computer and let me know the result.
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#9
NorrinRadd

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When I execute the "expand" command, I get "The system cannot find the file or directory specified."

There is no "sp3.cab" file in that folder. I have a separate CD for Service Pack 3. There is an sp2.cab file in the folder. Should I use that?
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#10
SleepyDude

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When I execute the "expand" command, I get "The system cannot find the file or directory specified."

There is no "sp3.cab" file in that folder. I have a separate CD for Service Pack 3. There is an sp2.cab file in the folder. Should I use that?


Do you have an Windows XP CD with SP3? or a standalone CD only with Service Pack 3?

I have a XP CD with SP3 and inside the i386 folder there is a SP3.CAB file with the halacpi.dll

If you have only the standalone SP3 try to extract the file from the sp2.cab I suppose it should work.
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#11
NorrinRadd

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I have a Dell OS installation CD that has Windows XP including SP2. I have SP3 on a separate CD that I burned after SP3 was released.

I followed your instructions as above with hal.dll from sp2.cab and rebooted. The missing hal.dll error persists.

FWIW, I verified that both hal.dll and hal.old are present in the system32 directory.
hal.dll shows a size of 81280 bytes.
hal.old shows a size of 134400 bytes.
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#12
SleepyDude

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I have a Dell OS installation CD that has Windows XP including SP2. I have SP3 on a separate CD that I burned after SP3 was released.

I followed your instructions as above with hal.dll from sp2.cab and rebooted. The missing hal.dll error persists.

FWIW, I verified that both hal.dll and hal.old are present in the system32 directory.
hal.dll shows a size of 81280 bytes.
hal.old shows a size of 134400 bytes.


Can you copy the hal.old file to another computer to check it's properties?
Right click on the file and select Properties we need to check the Original File Name value it will say the original dll file that was renamed to hal.dll because the hal.dll present on the c:\windows\system32 folder normally is not the hal.dl_ found on the windows CD!

During install the windows setup select the correct dll according to the machine hardware and configuration, the dll file is then renamed as hal.dll
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#13
NorrinRadd

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I copied them to a thumb drive, but the Properties available under Linux Mint don't seem to provide that information.
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#14
SleepyDude

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I copied them to a thumb drive, but the Properties available under Linux Mint don't seem to provide that information.


The easy way to check the properties is using Windows I'm not sure if it's possible to do it on windows.
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#15
NorrinRadd

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Thanks for your time and efforts to help. After wrestling with this thing for several weeks, I'm ready to declare it a lost cause and look for a replacement.
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