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Hickoryvet

Dell Optiplex 320 not able to boot

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When I got to work yesterday my partner left me a project - one of our systems was unable to boot. He'd already swapped it out, and wanted me to look into reviving the computer (I'm the more technically skilled of the two of us). Booting stalls with the error "hal.dll is missing or corrupt". I figured a repair install would be the way to go - quick fix, right? I put in an XP install disc, and it stops after displaying "Setup is inspecting your hardware". Out of curiosity, I tried to start with a Vista disc I had on hand. It booted fine, and got to the point of asking if I wanted to install. I didn't since the license is in use elsewhere and the computer wouldn't handle Vista. Tested the memory with Dell's provided diagnostics - no problems detected. My attempts at booting with a flash drive weren't successful either.

Outside of locating a PC with a floppy drive and making a bootable disc to put the file back on, I'm not sure what else to try.

Suggestions?

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When I got to work yesterday my partner left me a project - one of our systems was unable to boot. He'd already swapped it out, and wanted me to look into reviving the computer (I'm the more technically skilled of the two of us). Booting stalls with the error "hal.dll is missing or corrupt". I figured a repair install would be the way to go - quick fix, right? I put in an XP install disc, and it stops after displaying "Setup is inspecting your hardware". Out of curiosity, I tried to start with a Vista disc I had on hand. It booted fine, and got to the point of asking if I wanted to install. I didn't since the license is in use elsewhere and the computer wouldn't handle Vista. Tested the memory with Dell's provided diagnostics - no problems detected. My attempts at booting with a flash drive weren't successful either.

Outside of locating a PC with a floppy drive and making a bootable disc to put the file back on, I'm not sure what else to try.

Suggestions?

Can you boot a linux live CD? maybe you can access the hard drive, and put the hal.dll file in the proper place (C:\windows\system32\hal.dll). You should be able to find a copy of it somewhere on the internet. If that doesn't work, take a look at this article: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/findbyerrormessage/a/missinghaldll.htm

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Curious. If the computer had already been swapped, why not scrub the drive and fresh install for the next user?

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Curious. If the computer had already been swapped, why not scrub the drive and fresh install for the next user?

Hai, there see if this could help.

There are few different ways that the "missing or corrupt hal.dll" error may present itself, with the first listing being the most common:

?"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."

?"<Winnt_root>\System32\Hal.dll missing or corrupt:

Please re-install a copy of the above file."

?"Cannot find \Windows\System32\hal.dll"

?"Cannot find hal.dll"

The "missing or corrupt hal.dll" error displays shortly after the computer is first started. Windows XP has not yet fully loaded when this error message appears.

Cause

Causes of the "missing or corrupt hal.dll" error include, naturally, a damaged hal.dll DLL file or a hal.dll file that has been deleted or moved from its intended location.

Additional causes may include a damaged or missing boot.ini file or possibly a physically damaged hard drive.

Resolution

1.Restart the PC. The hal.dll error could be a fluke.

2.Check for proper boot order in BIOS. You might see the hal.dll error if the boot order in BIOS is first looking at a hard drive other than your main hard drive.

Note: If you've recently changed your boot order or recently flashed your BIOS, this may be what's causing your problem.

3.Run Windows XP System Restore from a command prompt. If this doesn't work or you're receiving the hal.dll error message before you're able to complete this process, move on to the next step.

4.Repair or replace the boot.ini file. This will work if the cause of the problem is actually Windows XP's boot.ini file and not the hal.dll file, which is often times the case.

Note: If repairing the boot.ini does correct the hal.dll issue but the problem reappears after a reboot and you've recently installed Internet Explorer 8 in Windows XP, uninstall IE8. In this specific situation, IE8 could be the root cause of your hal.dll problem.

5.Write a new partition boot sector to the Windows XP system partition. If the partition boot sector has become corrupt or isn't properly configured, you may receive the hal.dll error.

6.Recover data from any bad sectors on your hard drive. If the physical part of your hard drive that stores any part of the hal.dll file has been damaged, you're likely to see errors like this.

7.Restore the hal.dll file from the Windows XP CD. If the hal.dll file is truly the cause of the problem, restoring it from the original Windows XP CD may do the trick.

8.Perform a repair installation of Windows XP. This type of installation should replace any missing or corrupt files. Continue troubleshooting if this does not resolve the issue.

9.Perform a clean installation of Windows XP. This type of installation will completely remove Windows XP from your PC and install it again from scratch.

Note: While this will almost certainly resolve any hal.dll errors, it is a time consuming process due to the fact that all of your data must be backed up and then later restored.

Important: If you can't gain access to your files to back them up, you should understand that you will lose them all if you continue with a clean installation of Windows XP.

10.Test the hard drive. If all else has failed, including the clean installation from the last step, you're most likely facing a hardware issue with your hard drive but you'll want to test it to be sure.

If the drive fails any of your tests, replace the hard drive and then complete a "new" installation of Windows XP.

All the best :)

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Have you tried doing a www.memtest.org?

It may not be the cause though as you booted from the Vista CD okay.

Could likely be a dead/dying hard drive though, if the memtest comes up clean, try putting the drive in another computer and see if you can do a chkdsk on it (and/or recover any data needed).

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Seeing its a Dell Optiplex 320, the main hard drive is SATA correct? Look in the BIOS and see what mote it is in [RAID, ACHI,ATA]. If it is in RAID or ACHI change it to ATA (or autodetect) save settings and see if there is any change. Could be why Vista setup reaches further than XP setup does.

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if you have a copy of spinrite lying around run that first.

Any computer that comes into my office that won't boot for what ever reason gets a spinrite scan before i'll even touch it. I want to make sure the hard drive is in good shape before wasting my time trouble shooting an issue that could be hard drive related.

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