What is the hal.dll file and how do I repair or replace it?
HAL is an acronym for hardware abstraction layer. The hal.dll file is a Windows NT file that is used by windows when communicating with your computer's hardware. It enables hardware from different vendors to allow them to accept a common set of Windows commands. If it is missing Windows will not function.
In situations where it has become damaged, either from virus activity or hardware failure, it may be necessary to replace it with an undamaged copy. Here are the steps necessary to replace the hal.dll file with an undamaged copy from the Windows CD:
As above, insert and boot from your Windows XP CD.
When you receive the "Press any key to boot from CD" message, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD-ROM.
When you receive the "Welcome to Setup" message, press R to start the Recovery Console.
Press the number that corresponds to the correct location for the installation of Windows you want to repair, typically this will be #1.
At the command prompt type: expand d:\i386\hal.dl_ c:\windows\system32\hal.dll. (where d: is the drive letter of your CD and c:\windows is the location for your Windows installation folder.) If prompted for permission to overwrite an existing version of the hal.dll file select yes.
Once you have expanded the file type "exit" to exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer.
In rare cases this will not replace the hal.dll file. In those cases you have three choices.
Remove your hard drive and install it in another computer with the same OS as a slave or D drive, so that you can copy an undamaged hal.dll file from that system to your hard drive. In this case Hal.dll may or may not be found in: D:\WINDOWS\System32 but regardless if found it will need to be replaced. A working copy of hal.dll will be found in: C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386. Copy that version of the file to: D:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\hal.dll as well as the D:\WINDOWS\System32 folder; if it asks to overwrite say YES.
Perform a repair installation of Windows.
Reformat and perform a complete installation of Windows.