Computer Newbies forum


Use my WinXP install disc to repair someone else's pc?

by DanceGypsy / October 4, 2012 5:35 AM PDT

Hi. I am trying to get to the Recovery Console feature on my friend's machine (XP home, SP2, like my own) to repair a boot.ini file.

(His Dell didn't come with the actual OS discs.) The process I am following requires booting from the disc. Can I use my CD in his machine, just for this purpose? Ultimately, I'm troubleshooting a missing HAL.dll issue.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

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All Answers

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Before I do that
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 4, 2012 5:39 AM PDT

I have run into the missing HAL when the user had flipped the SATA "MODE" from IDE to another. Usually that results in other stop errors but it did include the HAL issue.

As to repair, the answer is maybe. It's not a sure thing because there are some dozen XP versions if you count Home, Pro and the OEM varieties.

But if the files are safe we can try it.

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If the user made no changes...
by DanceGypsy / October 4, 2012 6:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Before I do that

Bob, thanks for your response. It's 52 miles, round-trip, home to get my disc, so I'm checking my odds before I burn the gas. He made no changes to his machine, was watching a video online when the screen went dark, rebooted, and failed in the reboot. Subsequent attempts to start the machine have all failed.

I can't even get into SafeMode, to try the most recent good restore point. The instructions I'm following say that an issue with the boot.ini file often reports as a missing hal.dll. It's the third step in a 10 point troubleshooting process I'm going through. (Attempts to use the restore point from within the Windows Advanced Options Menu simply reboot the machine again in regular mode, to failure.)

Here is the message:
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll
Please reinstall a copy of the above file.

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Don't be fooled by "no changes."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 4, 2012 7:20 AM PDT
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I didn't even think of this!!!!!
by DanceGypsy / October 4, 2012 7:42 AM PDT

Bob! I love you. Whether it turns out to be the case or not, I completely forgot about the BIOS battery! I remember reading about that over ten years ago in Scott Mueller's 4" thick book on repairing and upgrading PCs, and now it might actually be coming into play. At least it gives me something else likely to check. And thank you for the wiki link. I'll definitely read up on this later tonight.

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For future reference ...
by Edward ODaniel / October 4, 2012 8:24 AM PDT

you can download a Win XP recovery Console ISO from this link:

this 7Mb .iso will give you a bootable Recovery Console rather than using the 6 floppy set above. Unzip and burn the .ISO file to disc. You can boot the CD and run the Recovery Console

The RECOVERY CONSOLE can be used on any Windows XP version for replacing files or another route would be to use a Linux Live CD for the same purpose - saves a long drive.

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Great help! Thank you ~
by DanceGypsy / October 4, 2012 9:12 PM PDT

I am so grateful for the help, Edward. This sounds like exactly what I need for two of the procedures on my list to try. I'll make that disc this morning and will get back to both of you with the results later in the day.
~ Camille

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