Get the fix for the error  the HAL is missing or corrupt on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 and the fix for the error Windows could not start because the following file is missing on Windows XP.

About “hal.dll is missing or corrupt”

Our researchers and technicians have gathered and compiled the following information about this error.

Synopsis

Hal.dll is a critical file in all Windows installations, and if it cannot be correctly loaded, Windows fail to start. HAL is short for “Hardware Abstraction Layer” and hal.dll is Microsoft’s implementation of the HAL concept. Communication between Windows and different hardware platforms is facilitated by hal.dll.

Symptom 1: “The HAL is missing, or corrupt” on Windows Vista, 7, and 8

Attempting to start your Windows PC running Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 presents a Windows Boot Manager error screen similar to the one below:

Windows failed to load because the HAL is missing, or corrupt.  File: \Windows\system32\hall.dll

Windows Boot Manager

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the 
cause. To fix the problem:

   1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
   2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next."
   3. Click "Repair your computer."

If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer 
manufacturer for assistance

     File: \Windows\system32\hal.dll
     Status: 0xc0000221
     Info: Windows failed to load because the HAL is missing, or corrupt.

The “Status” 0x code and the “Info” text may differ, but the file in question is always \Windows\system32\hal.dll

Symptom 2: hal.dll “file is missing or corrupt” on Windows XP

Attempting to start your Windows XP PC presents a boot-time error screen similar to the one below:

Hall.dll file is missing or corrupt error in Windows

Windows could not start because the following file is missing
or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll
Please re-install a copy of the above file.

Causes of this Error

This error has been known to occur as a result of one or more of the following. This message is particularly misleading because normally the fault does not actually lie with hal.dll:

Cause 1: Invalid BOOT.INI file configuration

On Windows XP and other operating systems using the NTLDR bootloader, the boot.ini file configuration has either changed or no longer correct. This means the ARC paths in the [operating systems] section or the default entry in BOOT.INI is incorrect. This can happen if boot.ini is modified (inadvertently or maliciously), if your BIOS settings have changed, or if hardware (especially IDE, SATA, or SCSI disk drives) have been added or removed.

Cause 2: BCD configuration is incorrect

Invalid data in BOOTMGR’s boot configuration data file (BCD) can cause this error to present on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Hal.dll is required for the Windows kernel to communicate with the underlying hardware in a platform-agnostic fashion. Incorrect data in the BCD will cause BOOTMGR to load Windows with the wrong system root set, and hal.dll will not be found. This will cause the “HAL is missing or corrupt” error to appear.

Cause 3: The hal.dll file is in fact corrupted or missing

Failed Windows Updates or Automatic Updates to Windows XP that involve an upgrade of critical system files (especially service pack installations) that update hal.dll may result in this error if hal.dll is not correctly written to the disk or an incompatible version of hal.dll is now used.

Fixing “hal.dll is missing or corrupt” on Windows XP

Windows Setup CD/DVD Required!
Some of the solutions below require the use of the Microsoft Windows setup CD or DVD. If your PC did not come with a Windows installation disc or if you no longer have your Windows setup media, you can use Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows instead. EasyRE will automatically find and fix many problems, and can also be used to solve this problem with the directions below.

Fix #1: Manually attempt rebuild of boot.ini

A boot.ini file is used by Windows to configure and display its operating system options. Instructions on manually recreating the boot.ini file are also available, but require a moderate level of computer expertise. The instructions below will guide you on recreating boot.ini automatically from the Windows XP setup CD.

Unable to boot into the Windows setup CD?
See our guide on setting up a PC to boot from the CD or DVD for troubleshooting and more detailed instructions.

  1. Insert your Windows XP CD and restart your computer.
  2. Press a key to boot into the CD when you see the “Press any key to boot from CD” message.
  3. When you arrive at the “Welcome to Setup” message, press R to start the Recovery Console.
  4. Type in your Administrator password; hit Enter
  5. The next command you need to write is below; hit Enter afterwards:
    bootcfg /rebuild

The above command, bootcfg /rebuild, will scan your computer for installed Windows copies. If you have Windows XP, here are the next steps:

  1. Press Y if the command prompt shows a message similar to the one below:
    Total Identified Windows Installs: 1
    
    [1] C:\Windows
    Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All)
  2. When you receive a message like this:
    Enter Load Identifier

    You are being asked to provide a name to be assigned and shown in the boot menu for the installation you picked in the previous step. Examples:

    Enter Load Identifier: Windows XP Professional (Recovered)
  3. (Optional) When you receive a message like this:
    Enter OS Load options

    Type in /fastdetect followed by Enter

  4. Restart your computer.

Fix #2: Rebuild boot.ini with Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows includes a complete “from-scratch” rebuild of the bootloader and BCD for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 that should take care of this problem, even if other solutions fail.

Easy Recovery Essentials is guaranteed to fix the “hal.dll is missing or corrupt” error automatically using its built-in Automated Repair option. EasyRE is currently available for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and can be downloaded and created on any PC.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials. Make sure to note your Windows version (XP, Vista, 7 or 8) before you download EasyRE. This guide can help you identify what version of Windows you have installed.
  2. Burn the image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  3. Boot up your PC from the Easy Recovery Essentials CD or USB you created.
  4. Once EasyRE is running, choose the “Automated Repair” option and click Continue.
    EasyRE Home

    Choose “Automated Repair” in Easy Recovery Essentials

  5. After EasyRE scans your computer’s drives, identify and select the drive letter for your Windows installation from the list, and then click on the Automated Repair button to begin.
    EasyRE displays a list of found Windows operating systems

    Choose the drive associated with the Windows installation you’re trying to repair.

  6. Easy Recovery Essentials will start analyzing the selected drive for problems. EasyRE will test for and attempt to automatically correct errors with the disk, partition, bootsector, filesystem, bootloader, and registry. No intervention is required, as EasyRE’s repair is fully automated:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Easy Recovery Essentials searches for errors and makes corrections to the selected Windows installation.

  7. Once the process is complete, EasyRE will report its findings. Click on the Restart button to reboot your PC and test the changes.
  8. The “hal.dll is missing or corrupt” error should now be fixed as your PC begins to load:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Windows, booting up successfully.

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials from here.

Fix #2: Replace hal.dll

If hal.dll is in fact missing or corrupt, you can restore the original hal.dll file back from your Windows XP installation disc.

Unable to boot into the Windows setup CD?
See our guide on setting up a PC to boot from the CD or DVD for troubleshooting and more detailed instructions.

  1. Insert your XP CD into the computer.
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Press any key to boot into the CD when you see the “Press any key to boot from CD” message.
  4. Press R to start Recovery Console when the Options screen appears.
  5. Type in your Administrator password followed by the Enter key to submit it.
  6. You’ll reach the Command Prompt now, type the following command, where D:\ is your CD’s drive letter and C:\ is the letter of the drive you installed Windows to:
    expand D:\i386\hal.dl_ C:\Windows\system32\
  7. Press Y when you are asked if you want to overwrite this file and then hit Enter to submit the command.
  8. Restart your computer.

Fixing “HAL is missing or corrupt” on Windows Vista, 7, and 8

Windows Setup CD/DVD Required!
Some of the solutions below require the use of the Microsoft Windows setup CD or DVD. If your PC did not come with a Windows installation disc or if you no longer have your Windows setup media, you can use Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows instead. EasyRE will automatically find and fix many problems, and can also be used to solve this problem with the directions below.

Fix #1: Correct HAL location with Easy Recovery Essentials

As a HAL error can present itself on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 as a result of a misconfigured BCD when Windows attempts to load the HAL from an incorrect partition, the automatic boot repair module of EasyRE can usually take care of this error quickly. Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows includes a complete “from-scratch” rebuild of the bootloader and BCD for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 that should take care of this problem, even if other solutions fail.

Easy Recovery Essentials is guaranteed to fix the “HAL is missing or corrupt” error automatically using its built-in Automated Repair option. EasyRE is currently available for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and can be downloaded and created on any PC.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials. Make sure to note your Windows version (XP, Vista, 7 or 8) before you download EasyRE. This guide can help you identify what version of Windows you have installed.
  2. Burn the image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  3. Boot up your PC from the Easy Recovery Essentials CD or USB you created.
  4. Once EasyRE is running, choose the “Automated Repair” option and click Continue.
    EasyRE Home

    Choose “Automated Repair” in Easy Recovery Essentials

  5. After EasyRE scans your computer’s drives, identify and select the drive letter for your Windows installation from the list, and then click on the Automated Repair button to begin.
    EasyRE displays a list of found Windows operating systems

    Choose the drive associated with the Windows installation you’re trying to repair.

  6. Easy Recovery Essentials will start analyzing the selected drive for problems. EasyRE will test for and attempt to automatically correct errors with the disk, partition, bootsector, filesystem, bootloader, and registry. No intervention is required, as EasyRE’s repair is fully automated:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Easy Recovery Essentials searches for errors and makes corrections to the selected Windows installation.

  7. Once the process is complete, EasyRE will report its findings. Click on the Restart button to reboot your PC and test the changes.
  8. The “HAL is missing or corrupt” error should now be fixed as your PC begins to load:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Windows, booting up successfully.

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials from here.

Fix #2: Use Startup Repair to attempt HAL replacement

Startup Repair is an automated diagnosis and repair tool that is available from the Windows setup disc and can be used to find and repair some common problems. More information about how Startup Repair operates and what it does can be found in our knowledgebase. The following steps will initiate Startup Repair from the Windows setup disc:

Unable to boot into the Windows setup CD?
See our guide on setting up a PC to boot from the CD or DVD for troubleshooting and more detailed instructions.

  1. Insert your Windows installation DVD into your PC’s CD-ROM drive,
  2. Fully power down your PC, and make sure it has fully shut off,
  3. Power up your PC,
  4. Press any key when you see “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..”
  5. Click the link titled “Repair your computer” in the bottom-lefthand corner, after first selecting your language and keyboard options.
    Windows 7 setup Install Now dialog, with repair your computer link
  6. Wait for Startup Repair to scan your PC for Windows installations, then select your install from the list it shows:
    Startup repair lists available operating systems to repair.
  7. Choose “Startup Repair” from the list of available recovery options to begin:
    Startup Repair lists all available recovery options, choose a recovery tool
  8. Startup Repair will begin scanning your installation for known issues and will attempt a repair, if possible.
    Windows Startup Repair is searching for problems

More Information

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2003 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2008 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2012 (all editions)
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