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On XP Start up - "Cannot Find \Windows\System32\hal.dll"


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#1 gobcross

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 07:53 PM

Hi all,

 

     Recently I tried booting up my PC, running XP, and still message came up..."cannot find \windows\system32\hal.dll."  As a result I cannot get Windows to start.  I tried pulling the hard drive and attaching to laptop as an external device but it only recognizes the recovery partition of the drive.  When I run Disk Manager it sees the partition with the system files and my personal docs but it can't access them.  I get a message that the disk is unreadable or corrupt.

 

     Since this system did not come with XP disks and only has a recovery partition I can't use a disk to run recovery.  At startup I tried to access the recovery console with no success. 

 

     Any other ideas on how to repair the missing hall.dll file? Or am I past that part and looking more at recover software that can recover my files?

 

 

Thanks



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 08:32 PM

<<I get a message that the disk is unreadable or corrupt.>>

 

 

That would seem to be a more important problem...than the file mentioned.  For data-recovery efforts, I have seen others post success with:

 

PartedMagic - http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/73085.html

 

Partition Find and Mount — free partition recovery software - http://findandmount.com/

 

Recover Files Using Puppy Linux (Artrooks) - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic431221.html

 

Recovery Software, Partition Table Doctor - http://www.ptdd.com/

 

Recovery Software, Recover My Files - http://www.recovermyfiles.com/

 

Recuva - Undelete, Unerase, File and Disk Recovery - Free Download - http://www.piriform.com/recuva

 

Louis



#3 gobcross

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:14 PM

Louis,

 

     Thanks for the recommendations.  Are you suggesting that the partition is not recoverable as a working OS again and that my best bet here it to just try and recover the files?



#4 joseibarra

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:40 AM

It is extremely unlike that your hal.dll is missing or corrupt.

 

I have never replaced a hal.dll file in my life for this problem.  And there is much bad advice on the Internet about how to do it.

 

This error usually means that XP just can't find the file due to some minor corruption in your NT File System (NTFS) or your boot.ini file has somehow been changed and XP is looking for the file in the wrong place.

 

Please answer the following questions as best you can:

What is your system make and model?

What is your XP Version and Service Pack?

Describe your current antivirus and anti malware situation:  Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), McAfee, Symantec, Norton, Spybot, AVG, Avira!,  avast!. Panda, Trend Micro, CA, Defender, ZoneAlarm, PC Tools, Comodo, etc.

Was the issue preceded by a power interruption, aborted restart, or improper shutdown?  (this includes plug pulling, power buttons, removing the battery, etc.)

Does the afflicted system have a working CD/DVD drive (internal or external)?

Do you have a genuine bootable XP installation CD that is the same Service Pack as your installed Service Pack (this is not the same as any Recovery CDs that came with your system)?

 

If the system used to work properly, what do you think might have changed since the last time it did work properly?

 

 

Put everthing back together the way it was, then make yourelf a Hiren's Boot CD and from there, run a chkdsk with error correction (chkdsk  /r).  That may be all you need to do (and you may need to run it more than once).

 

From Hiren's you will be able to access your personal files if you care to copy them off to an external device, but start with the chkdsk first and report back what happens.

 

Here's how:

Make yourself a Hiren's Boot CD which you can download from here:

http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

The ZIP file is large, so the download will probably take a little while to complete bit it is worth it.  Then unzip the download to extract the Hirens.BootCD.ISO file that will be used to create your new bootable CD.

Creating a bootable CD from a .ISO file is not the same as just copying the .ISO file to a blank CD.  You have to use software that understands how to burn a .ISO file to a CD to create a bootable CD.

In the Hiren's ZIP file are the BurnToCD.cmd file that you can double click to launch it, but I have never used it and prefer to use ImgBurn.

If you need a free and easy CD burning software package, here is a popular free program:

http://www.imgburn.com/

Like many third party programs you might install, the ImgBurn installation defaults to installing things you probably don't want installed on your system in the form of extra Internet browser toolbars or may make other adjustments to your browser.  You don't want to install any of that so you have to pay attention during the installation.

When clicking through the installation screens be sure to pay attention to the screens and always choose a Custom install and UNcheck the following (or any other things like it):

UNcheck:

Install the AVG toolbar and set AVG Secure Search as my default search provider
Set AVG Secure Search as my homepage and newly opened tabs

Choose custom installation again and UNcheck the following:

Uncheck:
Install QuickShare

There could be other things too.

Here are some instructions for ImgBurn:

http://forum.imgburn.com/index.php?showtopic=61

It would be a good idea to test your new bootable CD on a computer that is working.

You may need to adjust the computer BIOS settings to use the CD ROM drive as the first boot device instead of the hard disk. 

These adjustments are  made before Windows tries to load.  If you miss it, you will have to reboot the system again.

When booting on the Hiren's CD you will see a menu of options.  Choose the Mini XP option.  Then it will appear that Windows is being loaded and you will be presented with a desktop that has the look and feel of the Windows Explorer interface you are already used to using.

Remember:  You did not boot on your hard disk - you booted into the Hiren's desktop.

One way to check the disk for errors is to open My Computer and right click your afflicted drive and choose Properties, Tools, Error-checking, Check Now... put a check mark in both the boxes and then Start.

Sometimes that doesn't work, so you can also click Start, Run and in the box enter:

cmd

Click OK to open a Command Prompt window and enter the following command (assuming XP is installed on your C drive)

chkdsk  c:  /r

This disk checking can take a long time (perhaps several to many hours) depending on the size of the volume, the amount of data on the volume and what the disk checking finds to do.
 

Let chkdsk finish and correct any problems it might find. 

 

Depending on the the speed of your system, the size of the volume, the amount of data on the volume and what chkdsk finds to do, it may take a long time for chkdsk with error correction to complete (several to many hours) or it may appear to be 'stuck'.  Be patient.  If the HDD light is still flashing, chkdsk is doing something so don't interrupt it.  It will finish eventually one way or the other.  Keep an eye on the percentage amount to be sure it is still making progress.  It may even appear to go backwards sometimes.

 

You may have to run the chkdsk  /r  it more than once.

When the chkdsk runs clean, remove the CD and restart your system.


Edited by joseibarra, 21 January 2014 - 08:42 AM.

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


#5 hamluis

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:06 AM

Put everthing back together the way it was, then make yourelf a Hiren's Boot CD and from there, run a chkdsk with error correction (chkdsk  /r).  That may be all you need to do (and you may need to run it more than once).

 

From Hiren's you will be able to access your personal files if you care to copy them off to an external device, but start with the chkdsk first and report back what happens.

 

Here's how:

Make yourself a Hiren's Boot CD which you can download from here:

http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

 

Jose, please...read the following:  Recommending ISOs of Windows Recovery Discs or pre-made ISOs of WinPE-BartPE - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic382841.html .

 

Louis



#6 gobcross

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:32 PM

Jose,

 

     I already tried using a HirenBootCD (usb flash).  I was not able to access the partition with all of my files using it.  I answered your questions below...

 


 

Please answer the following questions as best you can:

What is your system make and model? HP Pavilion a1030n  (yes, it's old)

What is your XP Version and Service Pack?  I believe it was Service Pack 2 but most likely 3.

Describe your current antivirus and anti malware situation:  Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), McAfee, Symantec, Norton, Spybot, AVG, Avira!,  avast!. Panda, Trend Micro, CA, Defender, ZoneAlarm, PC Tools, Comodo, etc.

 

Avast.

Was the issue preceded by a power interruption, aborted restart, or improper shutdown?  (this includes plug pulling, power buttons, removing the battery, etc.)

 

Most likely an improper shutdown since my 20 month old powers the thing on and off at will.  I received an improper shutdown message preceding this. 

Does the afflicted system have a working CD/DVD drive (internal or external)?  CD/DVD does not work.


Do you have a genuine bootable XP installation CD that is the same Service Pack as your installed Service Pack (this is not the same as any Recovery CDs that came with your system)?

 

No.  Recovery is on other partition

 

If the system used to work properly, what do you think might have changed since the last time it did work properly?

 

No clue.

 

Put everthing back together the way it was, then make yourelf a Hiren's Boot CD and from there, run a chkdsk with error correction (chkdsk  /r).  That may be all you need to do (and you may need to run it more than once).

 

If I can't see the partition info (like the size) with the Hiren's Boot CD (flashdrive) then can I run a checkdisk on it?

 

 

 

 

Thanks



#7 hamluis

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 09:43 AM

Louis,

 

     Thanks for the recommendations.  Are you suggesting that the partition is not recoverable as a working OS again and that my best bet here it to just try and recover the files?

 

It's always a good idea to try to recover valued data files to another drive/partition...when such messages occur, IMO.  The reasons for the error message can vary but my opinion is to suspect the worst...that the hard drive itself has problems...and prepare accordingly before attempting any troubleshooting.

 

If the partition is damaged...the hard drive could be damaged.  Typically...an unreadable partition/drive is either damaged (corrupt is just another term for damaged) or something has occurred which makes it unreadable by Windows.  If the partition was properly formatted and Windows installed, then a user should be alarmed when it suddenly becomes unreadable, IMO.

 

In any case...every step taken to troubleshoot such situations are, IMO, likely to increase the nonfunctional status of the partition, IMO.  If precautions are not taken before trying to troubleshoot/"fix", then loss of valued data is a distinct possibllity.  Things tend to go downhill faster than they go uphill.

 

Louis



#8 gobcross

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 12:54 PM

@ Louis - In that case I will give it a go tonight and try to recover the files.  I was hoping to be able to restore the OS for convenience but If the partition is corrupt then I'd be content with recovering the files and trashing the drive afterwards.



#9 hamluis

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:32 PM

:thumbup2:

 

Louis



#10 gobcross

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 02:08 PM

@Louis - I ran Data Recovery 3 via my Macbook and it recognized and found a ton of files.  It seems that in order to catalog the files, the program renames them and sorts by files type.  Using the preview tool, some of the pics look like they have data loss, as in they are cut off in many places.  Not all of the files though.  I've experienced this before on a flash card but because I took a shot after the card was corrupted, thus overwriting the part of the card that the still good files were residing on.  Almost seems like a similar thing here but at no time did I ever write to the disk once I started experiencing issues.

 

Am I looking at file loss or do you think another recovery program may be able to recover some of that apparent data loss?

 

 

Thanks



#11 hamluis

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 05:01 PM

IME...every data-recovery effort is...just an effort.  Every computer user is looking at possible data-loss each day...that's the fundamental concept behind backing up routinely.

 

You can try whatever, as often as you like....there is no way to predict the result.

 

Louis






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