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"
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.