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Blue Screen, " missing or corrupt ... hal.dll " ; machine won't boot


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#1 gregger77

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 07:35 PM

Hi

I have a five-year old eMachines PC running Windows XP on an AMD Athlon 64 chipset.

We turned it off for a week and went on vacation (I always get an uneasy feeling turning off a PC for a long period, and here's another reason why:) When I returned and turned on the PC, all seemed to go well, but I threw a complex task at it: Connected my Blackberry via USB cable, started up Picasa, and proceeded to begin importing photos. While doing so, also hit “Library” tab (should have known, not enough memory to do this, too!) and computer bluescreened. I don't recall the specific error, but PC was frozen and required manual restart.

On reboot, computer bluescreened again during “Windows is starting” screen. Message:
Windows could not start bcause the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root/system32\hal.dll.
Please reinstall a copy of the above file.


I went to Advanced Options during reboot and tried starting again in “Safe Mode” and also in “Last Known Good Configuration” modes; each time, machine restarted in middle of “Windows is starting”, bluescreen flashed for just an instant, and then the boot option screen came up again. (If no selection is made, the computer will attempt to restart Windows normally after 20 secs. I let the computer alone for about 15 mins and it just cycled through this routine endlessly.)

Since I am wondering how to check whether the .hll file is in fact missing/corrupt or if some other problem exists with the boot file.

Note, I do NOT have a Windows XP CD. I know I should have made one before this. I do have an Ultimate Boot CD and am currently into a very long memory diagnostic test, as I read somewhere that a memory fault could be at issue.

I'd love advice on what the most likely cause of the issue might be so as to help in prioritizing all of the possible troubleshooting routines.

Thanks for any help.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 08:14 PM

Hal.dll Corrupt Or Missing - http://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/Fowler.Computer.603-343-8331/2009/2/Hal.dll-errors...What-to-try-when-Hal.dll-is-corrupted-or-missing./175165

Hal.dll Missing Or Corrupt - http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00044897&lc=en&dlc=de&cc=de&lang=de&product=3962105
Hal.dll Problems - http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_haldll_missing.htm

How to fix – hal.dll is missing or corrupt in windows - http://www.troublefixers.com/how-to-fix-haldll-is-missing-or-corrupt-in-windows/

HP Hal.dll Problems - http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00044897&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN

Missing Hal.dll - Missing Or Corrupt Hal.dll Error Message in Windows XP - Fix Hal.dll - http://pcsupport.about.com/od/findbyerrormessage/a/missinghaldll.htm

Missing Windows hal.dll file - http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000490.htm

Louis

#3 joseibarra

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 07:01 AM

Louis:

That first link is wrong and I am not reading the rest of them.

First of all, the syntax to expand the hal.dl_ file is wrong.

Second of all, it is extremely unlikely that the hal.dl_ file from the XP installation CD is the one you are going to nee (if you pursue this course).

If you just expand the hal.dl_ from the Windows installation CD i386 folder you will get:

hal.dll which is the most generic and boring of all the possible hal.dlls

My current motherboard hal.dll with this MSI motherboard has a Properties, Internal Name of halmacpi.dll

From the XP installation CD, that mean that I would have to expand this file:

48,531 HALMACPI.DL_ 134,400 (multiprocessor) 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)


My old motherboard hal.dll is the halaacpi.dl_ from the i386 folder

131,840 halaacpi.dll <---mine in c:\windows\i386

Possibilities of hal.dlls to expand from the XP installation CD:

On XP DISK Expanded

53,248 HAL.DL_ 105,344 (generic) 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)
47,091 HALAACPI.DL_ 131,840 (my old one)
40,194 HALACPI.DL_ 81,152
51,368 HALAPIC.DL_ 150,528
48,531 HALMACPI.DL_ 134,400 (my current one)
52,563 HALMPS.DL_ 152.576 (multiprocessor)
37,780 HALSP.DL_ 77,696

More information about the different kinds of hal.dlls:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309283

The Technet version
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457123.aspx

How to force a hal.dll during installation:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299340/


You probably don't want the hal.dl_ file from the XP installation CD and here's why:

First take a look at the Properties of the hal.dll on your system and look at the "Internal Name" on the Version tab.

Does it say hal.dll? It probably says something else, so if you took the hal.dl_ from an XP installation disk and expanded it onto your system, you would then have a file called hal.dll, but it would be the wrong hal.dll.

When XP gets installed, it selects and expands the proper hal.dll from seven possibilities of compressed hal.dll files on the installation CD:

Size On XP Disk Expanded

53,248 HAL.DL_ 105,344 (generic for VMWare) 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)
47,091 HALAACPI.DL_ 131,840 (likely for some systems and laptops)
40,194 HALACPI.DL_ 81,152
51,368 HALAPIC.DL_ 150,528
48,531 HALMACPI.DL_ 134,400 (Likely for more robust systems)
52,563 HALMPS.DL_ 152.576 (multiprocessor)
37,780 HALSP.DL_ 77,696

Each one of those can expand into a file called hal.dll file, so if it is your intent to replace your hal.dll, you would have to either figure out or know in advance which one is the right one for your hardware, motherboard and CPU. If you just picked one at random, you would have a one in seven chance (14%) of getting the correct one. Maybe you will get lucky.

If you just expand the hal.dl_ from the XP installation CD, that is the simplest, most generic of all the choices (probably not the right one).

The hal.dl_ file on the CD is the most boring of them all:

HAL.DL_

* Standard PC


That is a good choice for some virtual machines where there is no real "hardware" (like VMWare), but it is a very poor choice for most other environments.

You system may in fact boot with it, but you will be missing a lot of functionality that is built in to the other hal.dll files.

For example, if I wanted to replace the hal.dll file on one system here, I would need to expand this file:

HALMACPI.DL_

* Standard PC
* Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC
* ACPI Multiprocessor
* MPS Multiprocessor


If I wanted to replace the hal.dll file on another system here, I would need to expand this file:

HALAACPI.DL_

* Standard PC
* Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC
* ACPI Uniprocessor
* ACPI Multiprocessor


One of those two are what you will probably find on most modern systems desktops/laptops.

If you check the Properties, Version, Internal Name of the hal.dll on your working system, you can see which kind of hal.dll file you have and it is probably not going to be just "hal.dll" (check yours and see). It is either probably halmacpi.dll or ha;aacpi.dll.

If you are so sure that is the thing to do, why don't you follow your own advice and go ahead and expand your hal.dl_ file and check the Internal Name and it will be hal.dll. Then replace your current one with that one, reboot and report the results.

If the thought is that you need to replace your hal.dll because your system was complaining that the hal.dll file was missing or corrupt, the message is usually misleading and the real problem is usually the file system is corrupted (power failure perhaps) or the boot.ini file is afflicted and the message has nothing to do with the hal.dll file.

It usually just means that XP can't find the file because the file system is corrupted and you just need to run chkdsk /r from the XP Recovery Console so XP can find the file again.

I would always start with a chkdsk /r first (it will not hurt to run chkdsk /r even if it finds nothing to do), then take a look at the boot.ini file.

This is also why when folks trying to help give you instructions to put in your XP CD and expand the hal.dl_ file to replace yours, it is generally weak advice from a well meaning novice. The hal.dl_ file on the XP installation CD is the least likely to be the right choice of the possible hal.dll files on the CD.

The second problem with that advice is most people do not have an XP installation CD to begin with.

That kind of help is usually going to be very wrong - although it sort of makes sense at first and is "logical", but it will never work out favorably and that is generally not the problem anyway. You can learn about all the different hal.dll files on the XP installation CD and then figure out which one is the right one for your system, but that file is probably not really missing or corrupt.

Start with a chkdsk /r first (that may fix it), then take a look at the boot.ini file (or make a new one).


I have never needed to replace a hal.dll file to resolve this issue - that is never really the problem.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 07:20 AM

Jose...it's not my explanation...I just posted the references to hal.dll which I happen to keep on hand for ready reference.

If you want to take issue with it...I suggest that you address the author. No one is compelling you to read any of the links posted, they were posted for the possible use of the OP...as information/suggestions from some who think that they have something to contribute to those who encounter the described error message.

Since there are varying ideas about how to overcome that particular error message...I post all links that I have which pertain to such. I could have the member use Google to look up such links...but I try to save some members that experience of wading through the vast assortment of items which Google dredges up.

Good to see that you are still alive and well :).

Louis

#5 joseibarra

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 07:37 AM

I know (and I know you know), but the first link is a bunch of hooey. :hysterical:

It "sounds" like a good idea, but it is always the wrong idea. It is even a recommendation from Microsoft Support Engineer "experts" which tells me they are not experts at all.

For the hal.dll missing or corrupt issue, it is usually easy to fix:

1. Run chkdsk /r from the Recovery Console (if you don't have any bootable XP media, make a bootable XP Recovery Console CD - no XP media required).
2. Now that you are in the Recovery Console and chkdsk has run clean, take a look at and evaluate and make a new boot.ini file if needed.
3. Get some lunch and take the rest of the day off.

I'm still kickin' over here...

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#6 abauw

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 08:27 AM

@joseibarra
It's better to focus to help gregger77 rather than argue about what Louis do or the link that he give.
And please remember that what you think easy it very difficult for someone that doesn't know how to do it.
Hope you understand about this.

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You don't have to close your eyes to dream :busy:
You can find escape inside this moment :smash:
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#7 gregger77

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 09:47 PM

Okay...thanks for the debate (wish I understood a word of it...)

So...here's what's up.

I am in a "BSOD boot loop" no matter whether trying to boot in safe mode, last-known-good config, etc. In fact I get BSOD about half the time when entering Repair mode in the Windows XP Recovery Console. (Typical BSOD message at this stage: "CDFS_FILE_SYSTEM ... STOP: 0x00000026 etc")

However, the 50% of the time that I am able to stay in Repair mode, I have done the following:

1) Ran chkdsk /r and got no errors. Still no boot.
2) Ran fixboot, all normal. Still no boot.
3) Ran fixmbr (backed up mbr first using mbrtool from UBCD). Still no boot.
4) Ran bootcfg /rebuilt and got message that tool cold not scan for Windows installs due to disk errors, and to please run chkdsk.
5) Ran chkdsk /p and got message, "Found one or more errors on the first volume."
6) Ran chkdsk /r again. This time, tool ran slowly and/or stalled in the midst of checks (percent completed "hung" at 55% on the fifth check.)

Before running recovery disk, I did run SeaTools from the UBCD and both short and long test came up ok. Not sure why I am now crawling/hanging in chkdsk.

No fun here. Wife is out pricing a new PC. This POS has been a lot of trouble from the get-go (right after warranty expired, so did the power supply, taking the motherboard with it....Replaced both at my own expense, ran okay for a few years, then MBR was somehow wiped...probably a power supply issue or powerline spike...and I had the joy of having to manually recover all files from an unbootable and unaccessable disk. Lesson learned: No more POS power supplies...)

Advice?

Thanks,

--G.

#8 AustrAlien

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:00 AM

I went to Advanced Options during reboot and tried starting again in “Safe Mode” and also in “Last Known Good Configuration” modes; each time, machine restarted in middle of “Windows is starting”, bluescreen flashed for just an instant, and then the boot option screen came up again.

Please do the following:

:step1: Get a look at the error message presented by the BSOD (blue screen of death) ....
  • Start tapping the F8 key after you press the ON button, and continue tapping until you are presented with the "Windows Advanced Options Menu" screen.

    Posted Image
  • Use the UP/DOWN arrow keys to select "Disable automatic restart on system failure" and press the <ENTER> key.
  • Your system will attempt to restart normally, but when it fails, it will not re-start: Instead, you will see a BSOD (blue screen of death) with error message, such as the example shown below.


    Posted Image
  • Record the error message details, which will be contained in the areas indicated within the red lines in the above image.

    Please post the error details in your next reply.
You may need to press and hold for 5 seconds, the ON/OFF button, to switch off your computer.


:step2: Try the following ...
  • Start tapping the F8 key after you press the ON button, and continue tapping until you are presented with the "Windows Advanced Options Menu" screen.
  • Use the UP/DOWN arrow keys to select "Last known good configuration", and press the <ENTER> key.
  • The computer will attempt to load Windows.
  • If Windows does not start, try the same thing again .... and continue trying for at least 10 times, before you rule that option out as a means of getting your OS up and running again, normally.
Why 10 times? Based on past experience, a successful result is sometimes achieved after several consecutive failed attempts.
EXAMPLE OF A CASE IN POINT: Why 10 times?
christiedell ... "L K G C worked on try 5!"
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic267221.html


:step3: If you have files on the hard drive that you wish to save, now may be a good time to retrieve them ...

If your computer is not able to boot into Windows or simply not able to access the internet, you can use a LIVE Linux operating system run from a bootable CD or flashdrive instead of Windows, to access the internet, to access files on the HDD(s) and do other tasks.

Using a working computer:
  • If you wish to use a LIVE CD ...
  • Download the Linux version of your choice (usually an .ISO image file).
  • There are many options to use for a LIVE CD. I suggest that you try one of the following:
  • Puppy Linux (download file size 128 MB)
  • Ubuntu (download file size almost 700 MB)
[*]Burn the .ISO image to CD: If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
  • Download and install ImgBurn.
  • Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
  • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
  • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image
[*]When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.
[/list][*]OR ... if you wish to use a LIVE flashdrive ...
  • Go to UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads and at the top of the page, click on Download (for Windows) to download the application.
  • Follow the instructions further down the page under the heading Installation & Screenshots.
  • Run the application to download and install the Linux version of choice to your flashdrive.
  • I suggest that you try one of the following:
  • Puppy Linux (download file size 128 MB)
  • Ubuntu (download file size almost 700 MB).
[/list][/list]Boot the problematic machine from the LIVE CD or flashdrive.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD drive or the flashdrive, which ever you are using.)
  • Choose to run the Linux operating system from the CD or flashdrive without making any changes to your computer.
    Do NOT install Linux on your hard drive.
  • When the Linux operating system loads ...
  • You will be able to navigate to all the files on your HDD.
  • You can backup your files by copying them to a flashdrive or an external hard drive.

:step4: There does seem to be a problem with the disk file system that attempting to run chkdsk /r from the XP Recovery Console is not able to resolve, so I offer the following alternative for you to try. (Allow it to run to completion without interruption, as you should also do for any other chkdsk scan, no matter how long it may take to complete!)

Download NTBR_CD.exe and create a bootable CD.
  • Save the file to your Desktop and double-click it. This will create a folder named NTBR_CD.
  • Open the folder and locate BurnItCD. Launch it by double-clicking it.
  • When BurnCDCC opens, click Start - the CD tray will open.
  • Insert blank CD and click OK.
  • The tray will close, burn the image then eject the disk.
Run chkdsk.
  • Boot the affected computer with the new CD.
  • Once presented with the boot screen please hit <ENTER> to boot from CD.
  • After a warning screen there is a keyboard language options screen - press <ENTER> to leave it at EN-US.
    You should now be at the Tool options screen.
  • Type 5 and press <ENTER> to go to a command prompt.
    At the command prompt type the following bolded command then press <ENTER>

    tools\ntfs4dos\chkdsk

    You will be prompted (in German) to press Enter.
  • Press <ENTER> to start the check disk utility.
    Check Disk will check all attached drives and attempt to correct any errors.
    Please make a note of any errors found or corrections made.
  • When it completes type "menu" and press <ENTER> to return to the tools menu.
  • Type 6 and press <ENTER> to quit, then Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.
:spacer: (With thanks to noahdfear for the above tool and instructions.)

Please let me know if chkdsk reports any errors or corrections made, or if it completes without incident.

Allow the computer to attempt booting normally and let me know the outcome.

Edited by AustrAlien, 16 August 2011 - 12:09 AM.

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#9 joseibarra

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:49 AM

chkdsk can take a long time to complete depending on the size of the volume, the amount of data on the volume, the speed of the machine and what chkdsk finds to do and if you are watching the percentage it can appear to hang for a long time and even appear to go backwards at times.

Like Microsoft says "As you can see, running CHKDSK can take anywhere from a few seconds to several days..." I think there is some article that says it could even take weeks, but that was a long time ago (maybe in the 286 days thank goodness). It takes about 5 hours to check one of my 1TB drives even when there is nothing "wrong" with it (I was just timing it) and it looks like it is hung and the percentage does go backwards sometimes, so I just leave it alone and go off and do something else - it always finishes eventually.

I just think to wait it out. I have never seen chkdsk hang forever... it either finishes or it ends compaining. Then you run it again.

My thought is if the HDD light is still blinking, chkdsk is still doing something, so wait it out.

It could be too that the drive is just kaput.

Of course the CDFS_FILE_SYSTEM BSOD has a story of it's own.

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#10 AustrAlien

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:55 AM

@ joseibarra

Good to see you around!

I want to thank you for your posts in this topic: I liked 'em! I learned!

Regards.
AustrAlien
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#11 joseibarra

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:25 PM

I know sometimes I talk too much, but I hate too see folks wasting time and if I can help, I am always glad to.

And I ain't in no competition with hamluis or anybody either... Someday, we will all be good friends (hopefully sooner rather than later).

I'm just trying to share what I think I know.

If I get out of line, Grinler let's me know. :thumbsup:

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