Windows could not start because the following file is missing
Please re-install a copy of the above file.
(note: there is a split-second mention of the BOOT.INI file just before the previous message is displayed. It's not on the screen long enough for me to read it all though)
Now, I spent a lot of time searching the Internet for this error and I found many indications that this is likely tied to IE8, and that uninstalling IE8 might help for the time being. Every discussion I've found, however, recommends using the Recovery Console tool to fix the current hal.dll problem, so that I can log in and fix the larger issue. I'm unable to access the Recovery Console, though, because I can't get passed the Administrator Password prompt. I've been using a Dell XP disc, since she can't find her Gateway disc. I'm still able to boot from the CD and get to the Recovery Console option. I've tried the two administrator passwords used on the computer (one for myself and another for my mother's account) and I've also simply hit Enter without entering anything, but nothing works. After three attempts, I'm prompted to restart the computer.
I've been searching the Internet for this issue now, and it seems that a fix from MS might work. Here's the link to the Microsoft Help and Support article: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;en-us;308402. This article mentions a Q308402 hotfix, but states that I have to contact MS in order to obtain it. I've tried calling, but Microsoft wants me to pay for support before even hearing what the problem is. If I have to, I'll pay to get this fixed, but I'd rather not fork over more $ to MS if all this was started by installing one of their updates. Now, they do include this note on that same page:
Note In special cases, charges that are ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for the specific update in question.
...but it seems as if I'm going to get charged initially.
Are there any other options to get around this password issue? I've tried repeatedly to log into the Recovery Console, but I haven't had any luck at all. As mentioned, I'll pay the ransom to Microsoft if that's my only option, but I thought I'd ask around first.
Thank you very much!