Hal.dll & recovery console errors

Hello all -

I booted up one day last week to the following:
"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll"

So I tried a couple solutions from the Windows recovery console, including FIXBOOT and FIXMBR, which did not work. When I went to try CHKDSK, I got this message:
"The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems."

The machine is a Dell dimension 8400 running Windows XP. It has a newer 500 GB hard drive that was working well for over a year.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance -
Thanks for the fast response. I had worked through that already, but I learned something along the way.
The hard drives show up in the BIOS, but do not under the Windows Recovery Console. So I tried a disconnecting the drives, and starting Windows XP setup. Neither drive could be seen by the Windows Pro Setup, as the only thing in the list is 'Unknown Disk'. Hitting enter yielded an error caused by the following file: setupdd.sys (page fault in nonpaged area)

So I'm wondering what would make this happen? Have 2 hard drives gone bad in less than a year? Could this be caused by something else, such as malware? Should I just get another machine and start doing file recovery?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Try a web-search using "page fault in nonpaged area".
There was a piece of malware on XP systems, undetected for a long time, which was suddenly "broken" by a Windows Update which replaced one of the infected modules, disrupting its logic chain and causing that message as the malware malfunctioned. (In its own terms. I suppose in MS terms, it's always malfunctioning !)
I spent some time earlier in the year helping a cousin disinfect his XP PC.
He was a Norton subscriber, which had not noticed it, but is now an MSE convert.
I don't think it affected setup, but some malware does have the characteristic of disabling all the system tools which might be used to remove it (WUD, download, AV,system restore etc).
From your OP, it seems pretty equivocal that there's a HDD problem.
The best way to check that is to go to the website of the HDD OEM and pick up their HDD analysis utility download. That will tell you if there is damage to the HDD or just corrupted software.
Great, thanks again. I will check out the hard drive and hopefully figure this out. I was also told that it might be a motherboard issue which causes the BIOS to detect the hard drives but not actually do anything with them. I thought it was odd, but at this point I'm trying a lot of options.
I'm trying to install the windows xp but after i pass the txt mode i enter to gui mode and then show me this error "windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <windows root >\system32\hal.dll ." what can I do to resolve this problem....
Last edited:


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member