HAL.DLL not found on first bootup

article #10, updated 4861 days ago

Sometimes, right after XP or 2000 are installed, at first boot, there will be an error like one of these:

  • Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:\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

HAL.DLL is the Hardware Abstraction Layer library. In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, there are several possible HAL.DLL’s which Windows may install. If a message such as the above is seen at first bootup, it is very likely that the Windows installer put in the wrong one for your hardware. It tries to figure it out automatically, and sometimes, fails, especially if your copy of Windows is older and your hardware, newer. Especially this is relevant with multiprocessor systems and ACPI (and lack thereof).

Happily, there is a way to override the auto-figure-it-outer. When the installer first runs, it asks if we want to press F6 to install third-party drivers for RAID or hard drives et cetera. Don’t press F6 — press F5! You will then be able to choose which HAL.DLL to use.

More info is here: