{ 23 Intelligent Comments }

Invalid Boot.ini or Missing Windows/System32/Hal.dll

Windows is Missing Operating System Not Found

Windows Won’t Boot?

After switching on your computer or after restarting Windows XP you receive either of the error messages below and cannot get into Windows.

These errors are usually shown on a black screen with white writing and you cannot get anywhere further.

You have no choice but to shutdown or restart the computer.

Symptoms

You get one of the following error messages when attempting to boot into Windows XP:

  • Invalid Boot.ini
  • Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: Windows/System32/Hal.dll

Explanation

The above error message is usually caused by the boot.ini file missing the correct entries in it following an upgrade but can also be caused by a hardware problem or a missing or corrupt Ntoskrnl.exe file.

Solution – Correct the Boot.ini file entries

  1. Insert your Windows XP CD and start your computer and press any key when you see the message – “Press any key to boot from CD” message.
  2. At the welcome screen press ‘R’ to enter the Recovery Console
  3. At the recovery console, select your Windows XP installation and enter your Administrator password if requested
  4. At the prompt issue the following command and press ENTER:
  5. bootcfg /rebuild

  6. When the bootcfg tool finds your Windows XP installation you will be asked the following:
  7. [1] C:\Windows

    Add installation to boot list?

    (Yes/No/All)

    Note:The above text may look different for you depending on your installation type.

  8. Type Yes and press ENTER
  9. You will now be asked to Enter Load Identifier (message may differ)
  10. Enter the version of Windows XP that you own
  11. Example: Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition

  12. You will now be asked to Enter OS Load options
  13. Issue the following and press ENTER:
  14. /fastdetect

  15. Remove your Windows XP CD, issue the following command and press ENTER:
  16. exit

Discussion


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  1. Brian says:

    this fixed my problem thank you but i need to do this every time i reboot any suggestions

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Brian,
      Which error are you getting? There are two possible errors for this solution.
      Describe the sequence of events please?

      Thanks
      Rosco

  2. Bryan M says:

    I am having the same issue, and have followed the rebuild procedure twice, both times successfully restoring Windows and allowing me to boot up completely. However, as soon as I restart again the same error messages appear (I receive both the errors listed above, Invalid Boot.ini,
    and Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: Windows/System32/Hal.dll). Is there anything else I can do, or is it probably due to the hard drive beginning to fail?

  3. Brian says:

    Bryon M I fixed mine by inserting boot disc that came with computer. Then in the I386 folder i found all the boot files (they say boot in name) copied all of them I think theres was 5. Then droped them in 386 folder on my computer theres were only 2 in there it asked if I wanted to replace those 2 i said yes. It has been fine since.

  4. Gina says:

    What if I can’t boot from CD?
    I have tried changing bios to boot from CD first but it doesn’t work.

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Gina…

      Can you give me some info on your system? i.e. make/model of PC, message on screen, etc

      R.

  5. Bryan M says:

    Thank you for your response Brian. I have a OS cd-rom and Recovery cd from another PC, but the computer I am having problems with did not come with any OS or Recovery cd’s (came with XPH pre-installed). I was able to use the OS & Recovery cd to follow the rebuild steps to allow me to login to Windows again, however when I tried to use the same “foreign” OS CD from within Windows it recognized that the OS CD was not compatible with the existing installation of XP.

    I haven’t tried dragging the boot files from the i386 folder on the OS cd yet. Do you think that it will still work even if the OS cd is from another PC’s version of XPH? Thanks again, and thanks in advance for your help.

  6. This article describes how to view and manually configure the Boot.ini file in Windows XP from within the Startup and Recovery dialog.

    In Windows XP, you can quickly and easily locate the Boot.ini to verify and/or edit the file.

    It is suggested to backup the Boot.ini file before editing. The first tasks will involve modifying folder option so as to view hidden files and then backing up the Boot.ini file.

    Back to the top
    Save a Backup Copy of Boot.ini
    Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
    -or-
    Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
    On the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
    Under System Startup, click Edit. This opens the file in Notepad ready for editing.
    In Notepad, click File on the Menu bar, and then click Save As.
    Right click in an empty area of the Save As dialog box, point to New in the context menu, and then click Folder.
    Type a name for the new folder, for example temp, and then press the ENTER key to create the folder named temp.
    Double-click the new folder named temp, and then click the Save button to save a backup copy of the Boot.ini file.

    Back to the top
    Edit the Boot.ini File
    To view and edit the Boot.ini file:
    Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
    -or-
    Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
    On the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
    Under System Startup, click Edit.

    Back to the top
    Sample Boot.ini File
    This is a sample of a default Boot.ini file from a Windows XP Professional computer.
    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect
    This is a sample of the above Boot.ini file with a previous installation of Windows 2000 on a separate partition.
    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT=”Windows 2000 Professional” /fastdetect

    Back to the top
    Modifying the Boot.ini
    While you can modify the Boot.ini file using the Startup and Recovery dialog, where you can select the default operating system, change the timeout value, or manually edit the file, the following method uses the command line utility, Bootcfg.exe.

    Note The Bootcfg.exe utility is only available in Windows XP Professional. This utility is not available in Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition. Therefore, this section does not apply to Windows XP Home Edition.
    Click Start, and then click Run.
    In the Open text box, type cmd.
    At the command prompt, type bootcfg /?.
    The help and parameters for BOOTCFG.exe will display.

    Adding an Operating System
    At the command prompt, type:
    bootcfg /copy /d Operating System Description /ID#
    Where Operating System Description is a text description (e.g. Windows XP Home Edition), and where # specifies the boot entry ID in the operating systems section of the BOOT.INI file from which the copy has to be made.

    Removing an Operating System
    At the command prompt, type:
    bootcfg /delete /ID#
    Where # specifies the boot entry ID that you want to be deleted from the operating systems section of the BOOT.INI file (e.g. 2 for the second Operating system that is listed.

    Setting the Default Operating System
    At the command prompt, type:
    bootcfg /default /ID#
    Where # specifies the boot entry id in the operating systems section of the BOOT.INI file to be made the default operating system.

    Setting the Time Out
    At the command prompt, type: bootcfg /timeout# Where # specifies the time in seconds after which default operating system will be loaded.

    Back to the top
    Open the Boot.ini File to Verify Changes
    Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
    -or-
    Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
    On the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
    Under System Startup, click Edit.

  7. freedom says:

    where can i get a boot.ini for my flashdrive to be inserted to my computer….i cant insert the windows xp cd….due to….my computers harddrive is not available…
    tnx in advance..

  8. Dutch says:

    Even worse problem!!!!!!!!!!
    Hi i have a bigger problem… i cant start from my windows xp sp2 cd because it doesnt load it… it keeps saying that there isnt a disc in it! Im pretty okay with my comp so no dirty or damaged disc so on… really weird that it just doesnt load from my cd and to make things worse when it skips the cd and says the boot.ini starting from C:/windows/ it gives me a blue screen… sooo to be clear:
    It wont start on the winXP sp2 cd. so i can’t format or what so ever. and now it keeps giving me blue screens when i start without it… Any1? Thnx in advance!

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Dutch…

      Sounds like your BIOS isn’t configured to boot from CD. Have you set the startup device order or boot order? Post the specs of your PC if you can’t find this and I’ll have a look for you. Also, if you have set the boot order correctly, are you able to boot from a different bootable CD or have you tried booting a different PC with your Windows XP cd and verifed that it works correctly?

      You’ll really need to carry out a process of elimination exercise here to determine the issue.

      Hope this helps.

      Rosco

  9. Steve says:

    how can I get a copy of the boot file if I don’t have my CD?

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi Steve..You can create a recovery console bootable CD by following these directions: http://www.proposedsolution.com/downloads/download-windows-recovery-console/

      R.

      1. Steve says:

        will I lose all my data when I do this? How can I back
        everything up if I can’t load windows?

        1. Rosco says:

          Steve..if you create and boot from a recovery cd to the recovery console and follow the directions in this post then you *shouldn’t* lose any data. Saying that there are things you can do in recovery console to lose everything…just be careful and follow the steps.

          R.

          1. Steve says:

            I am able to hit F10 and go to system recovery. is that
            the same thing as using the recovery cd? Can I use the link you provided and put it on a usb or external and run it that
            way? The only other computer I have is a Netbook which
            doesn’t have a CD drive.

  10. Rosco says:

    Steve, F10 System Recovery is NOT the same as a recovery console CD. System recovery will likely wipe your system and reset it to factory default.
    Yes, you can create a bootable USB or external drive by following these directions: http://www.raymond.cc/blog/archives/2009/05/11/burn-iso-image-to-usb-flash-pen-drive-kon-boot-to-usb/

    R.

  11. hottez22 says:

    I’m still confused. First, I bought a new hard disk and installed it on my pc. Then, after some time, I decide to take off the new hard drive. That’s when I’ve been hit by this problem. When I on my pc, the first error occurs was that ‘ntldr is missing’
    ‘press ctrl+alt+del’
    After i do the recovery with my win xp cd, i have copied the /i386/ntldr c:/ and /i386/ntdetect.com c:/
    After that, this messege appears after i boot again
    missing /system32/hal.dll.
    Feeling lost, i try install back my new hard disk, walla, it load like no problems occurred. Can you tell me how to solve this problem if my new hard disk corrupt or got problems?

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