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Recover partitions when the HAL file is missing in Windows

by anonymous

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In the Windows systems, the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) is the file that acts as a abstraction layer between the hardware components and the software applications. Its main feature is to hide the hardware parts from the kernel so that it can be used on different types of hardware configurations without much difficulty. Hence, when this file is missing or is corrupt then you would not be able to access the system. In these cases, you should try to fix the problem using appropriate corrective measures failing which you would have to resort to using a third-party partition recovery software to recover partitions in the system.

Consider a scenario in which you are trying to start your Windows XP system but unable to do so. The following error message is getting displayed in this case:

Winnt_root\System32\Hal.dll missing or corrupt:


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


This error can appear because of the following reasons:

  • There is hardware failure in the hard drive. Because of this, the mentioned file has corrupted.

  • The partition path in the boot.ini file is incorrectly set.

  • The ntoskrnl.exe file is either damaged or missing.

  • You have not installed Windows XP in the location that is provided in the boot.ini file.

  • The Default value in the [Boot Loader] section is missing or incorrect.


To resolve this problem, you can perform the following methods according to the given cause, respectively:

  • You can modify the boot.ini file to correct the [Default] entry. Also, check other directories in the boot.ini file.

  • You can use the 'bootcfg' utility to modify the boot.ini file in the Recovery Console.

  • You can use the Windows XP Setup CD to replace the copy of ntoskrnl.exe with the existing file.

  • For the hardware damage, you should run the 'chkdsk /r' command to scan and fix the disk-related errors.

However, if you still are unable to access the system then you would need to use a third-party partition recovery utility to recover all the inaccessible data. These read-only tools are extremely non-destructive in nature that do not damage the storage media or any files while recovering Windows partitions.

The most reliable partition recovery software that is able to recover data from most storage devices is Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery. Supporting exFAT, FAT, and NTFS file systems, this Windows partition recovery software can also recover deleted emails from MS Outlook and Outlook Express. In addition, this software is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, Server 2003, XP, 2000, and NT4(SP6).

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