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  • Information
    Information regarding recent vulnerabilities

    HP is aware of the recent vulnerabilities commonly referred to as "Spectre" and "Meltdown". HP has published a security bulletin with patches for these issues and a list of impacted systems. We will continue to update the bulletin as more information becomes available and encourage customers to check the bulletin frequently.

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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Error: Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll

This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop computers with Windows XP.
When Windows starts, the following error message displays:
"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."
Use the following steps to resolve this error:
Step 1: Opening a command prompt
This error prevents Windows XP from opening. This problem has to be addressed from a command prompt environment.
Use the following steps to open a command prompt environment:
  1. Turn on the computer and press the F8 key repeatedly when the first screen displays.
    The Windows Advanced Options menu displays.
  2. Use the Up and Down Arrow and Enter keys to select Return to OS choices.
  3. Select Microsoft Windows Recovery Console.
      note:
    If Microsoft Windows XP Recovery Console is not listed, restart the computer with a Windows XP CD, Recovery Console CD, or Recovery Tools CD in the top CD or DVD drive and open Microsoft Windows Recovery Console. If a Windows XP Setup screen displays when using Recovery Console CDs, press the R key to open the Recovery Console.
      note:
    If Microsoft Windows XP Recovery Console is not listed and you do not have a Recovery Console CD, try the following:
    1. Turn on the computer, and press the F10 key repeatedly at the first screen.
    2. At the Recovery screen, click Advanced Options.
    3. Press the Alt + D keys at the same time to open a command prompt window. Then skip to Step 5.
  4. When the login prompt displays, press the number next to the Windows version (minint or Windows) and type the login password. Try pressing Enter if you do not know the password.
  5. At the command prompt, type the following: diskpart
  6. Press Enter, and do one the following:
    • If a table of volume names displays, remember the drive letter next to the main drive volume name (usually D or H next to HP_PAVILION or PRESARIO), and press the Esc key.
    • If a diskpart prompt displays, type list volume, press Enter, remember the drive letter next to the main drive volume name (usually D or H next to HP_PAVILION or PRESARIO), type exit when done, and then press Enter.
      note:
    If the main drive volume name does not display in the list, the computer needs to be recovered. For more information, see Performing a Full System Recovery in XP.
Step 2: Restoring boot.ini
Use the following steps to replace the boot.ini file with the backup boot.ini file:
  1. Type the following at the command prompt: X: (where X is the drive letter).
  2. Press Enter and type the following at the command prompt: attrib -h -s -r boot.ini
  3. At the prompt, type the following: ren boot.ini boot.in2
  4. Press Enter
  5. At the prompt, type the following: ren boot.bak boot.ini
  6. Type the following at the command prompt: attrib +h +s +r boot.ini
  7. Press Enter.
  8. At the prompt, type the following: exit
  9. Press Enter.
    The system automatically restarts. If Windows XP does not open, continue to the next step.
Step 3: Editing boot.ini
If the steps above fail to resolve the error, use the following steps:
  note:
The following steps use the recovery partition on the hard drive. If the recovery partition has been removed, these steps will not work and you should recover the computer using recovery discs.
  1. Turn on the computer. When the initial logo screen displays, press the F10 key repeatedly until a message about starting recovery displays.
  2. At the Recovery screen, click Advanced Options and then press the Alt and D keys at the same time to go to a command prompt.
  3. At the command prompt, type the following: diskpart
  4. Press Enter and type the following at the diskpart prompt: list volume
    A table of drive volumes and names displays.
  5. Note the drive letter next to the main drive volume name (usually D or H next to HP_PAVILION or PRESARIO).
  6. Type the following at the diskpart prompt: Exit
  7. Press Enter and type the drive letter for the main drive volume followed by a colon (:) at the command prompt. For example, D:.
  8. Press Enter and type the following at the command prompt: attrib -h -s -r boot.ini
  9. Press Enter and type the following at the command prompt: boot.ini
  10. The file opens for editing in Notepad. Edit the boot.ini file to read exactly as follows:
    [boot loader]
    timeout=0
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect
    C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
      note:
    If your computer came with Windows XP Professional, edit the line referring to Home Edition under [operating systems] to read as follows: multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
  11. Save the file and then Exit from the menu.
  12. Type the following at the command prompt: attrib +h +s +r boot.ini
  13. Press Enter and type the following at the command prompt: Exit
  14. Click Quit on the recovery screen to restart the computer.
    The computer should now restart without the error message. If the error still occurs, perform a full system recovery. For more information, see Performing a System Recovery in Microsoft Windows XP"

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