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Computer won't boot (bad hal.dll)


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#1 MaxPower42069

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 06:13 PM

Hello, everyone. This is my first post to your forum. I wish it were under better circumstances. I'm trying to help my friend's dad with his Dell laptop. He was performing system maintenance of some kind, and managed to corrupt his hal.dll file. Now the computer won't boot at all. Safe mode leads to a BSOD, and regular booting informs me that the hal.dll is missing or corrupt. To make matters worse, my friend's dad doesn't have any of the software that came with the laptop. This means Recovery Console is not an option.

The computer has already been to a repair tech at some big box store. He told my friend's dad that the harddrive had failed, and needed to be replaced. Knowing what I know now, I can say that this is most certainly not the case. I scanned with the Ultimate Boot CD, and discovered a grand total of ONE bad sector. I'm guessing it's the sector where the hal.dll is located.

My next step was to download a clean version of the hal.dll file. I burned it onto a CD and saved to my 1 gig USB drive as well.

I booted with Knoppix 5.1 and located the corrupted file within windows/system32. Unfortunately, I get a message that a dirty mount was forced. I'm thinking this has to do with the bad sector. Regardless of the dirty mount, I can still see ALL of the files and folders on the harddrive. I even copied some of the important stuff to my USB card reader. Unfortunately, I can NOT delete the old file or overwrite it.

Can I fix this computer? You guys have never steered me wrong in the past. But I've never had a problem this specific (a forum search didn't yield much help).

The following tools are available to me:

1. Knoppix 5.1
2. UBCD
3. Clean version of the bad file.
4. USB drive

The following things are not available/ do not work:

1. Reinstall or repair installation of XP (no disks, no recovery console)
2. Return to Dell factory settings (it doesn't boot enough to access this option apparently).

I would really like to help my friend out with this. The family is on a limited budget and would prefer to avoid purchasing a whole new copy of XP just because of one file error. Thanks in advance for any insight you might have.

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#2 tg1911

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 07:06 PM

See if this helps:
Error Message: Cannot Find \Windows\System32\hal.dll

Scroll down to Update:, near the bottom.
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#3 MaxPower42069

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:16 AM

Thank you for your prompt reply. That link seems to outline a very similar situation. I have to admit I'm a bit squeamish about taking apart a laptop that doesn't belong to me. I'm going to ask my friend's dad how he wants to proceed. This would be so much easier if it was a desktop. I'll need to invest in an IDE SATA cable, I suppose.

The real question is, how do I get at the hard drive on this thing? It's a Dell Latitude D610. What tools do I need? I've never had to take a laptop apart before. Is this going to be a major operation?

#4 Romeo29

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 05:08 AM

If you have bad sectors in your hard drive, it can cause more problems in future. Its better to get a new one than trying to repair this.

#5 hamluis

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:00 AM

FWIW: Bad Sectors On Hard Drives - http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?art...1583&page=3 AND What is a bad sector - http://www.tech-faq.com/bad-sector.shtml

Louis

#6 MaxPower42069

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 11:53 AM

I've had bad sectors develop on drives before, but never such that they forced me to get new hardware. Usually scandisk corrects it (not an option here since I can't boot). It seems like a shame to trash a 40 gig drive, when 37 gigs have never even been used. Especially when only one sector is bad.

If I was able to correct the DLL prob and actually boot, could scandisk repair the error? Or will the act of booting up actually cause more errors?

At any rate, the computer is way more functonal now than when I got a hold of it (not saying much, it was a paperwieght on Friday). If I can't resolve this problem, I'm just going to give him back his PC with copies of the Knoppix and Ubuntu Live. He'll be able to boot from disk and surf the web, check emails and whatnot. I'll show him how to write to his removable USB drives in case he needs to save anything.

#7 OldGrumpyBastard

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:26 PM

You could try this:

http://www.support.dell.com/support/topics...mp;toggle=false
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#8 OldGrumpyBastard

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:39 PM

Should have noticed that you don't have recovery CD's....Sorry...But all may not be lost because the link that I provided provides a link to get Recovery CD's for that particular model....Farther down the page...
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#9 OldGrumpyBastard

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:55 PM

Another option for installing Recovery Console:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/138692/xp-boot-fixes/

Pay close attention to burning an iso imagine....Once tthe rc.iso cd is created then the recovery console can be installed and you can fix it from there...
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#10 MaxPower42069

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:45 PM

Thank you Grumpy Old Bastard. That .iso might be just what I need. I'm downloading it now, will burn it with BurnAware. I'll post in a bit to let everyone know if it worked...

#11 MaxPower42069

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:53 AM

Bad news. Hal has been swapped, but the system still won't boot. Here's what happened...

The Recovery Console CD booted up fine. Ran chkdsk with no problem. I moved on to swapping out the bad file, which went off without a hitch.

So I exited and rebooted. For my troubles I got a fancy new BSOD. Here's what it said:

STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
\systemroot\system32\config\SOFTWARE
or its log or alternate.
It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

Beginning dump of physical memory
Physical memory dump complete.
Contact your system administrator or technical support group for further assistance.


---

Obviously, this operating system is fubar and needs to be reinstalled. My friend's dad needs to save up for a fresh copy of XP. Luckily, I've already saved his work files to disk with Knoppix. Thanks again for the help.

#12 Stang777

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 06:19 AM

That stinks especially since from what I have been told, XP is no longer available for purchase :thumbsup:

#13 OldGrumpyBastard

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:28 AM

You are indeed right about XP no longer being available for purchase....The following article describes that the hard drive might be failing although I remember that it only showed one bad sector ( as was previously stated from OP)...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830084
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#14 RknRusty

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:35 AM

If you can borrow or copy a Windows cd, the key might be on a sticker somewhere on the computer or in the info that came with the computer. He is already registered with that key, otherwise any old XP cd is the same as the next, aside from adding all the updates... or so I've been led to believe.

#15 OldGrumpyBastard

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:57 AM

For the most part you are correct....The only drawback about borrowing a CD from someone else is that the service pack versions must be the same...I think that if they aren't the same Windows won't install or even repair....Because of versions being different...I may be wrong though....
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