I received the error on Windows XP startup that my hal.dll file (hardware abstraction layer) was missing and Windows would not boot. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how I fixed it.
Boot from your Windows CD and follow the directions to start the Recovery Console. When asked for your Administrator password, enter that in. In my case I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have one so I left it blank.
I then navigate to the system32 folder by typing Ã¢â‚¬Å“cd windows/system32? to get into the system32 directory and type Ã¢â‚¬Å“dirÃ¢â‚¬Â to get a list of directory files to confirm that the hal.dll file was there. In which case it was. This tells me that there is a problem with my boot.ini file.
I then typed the following:
Attrib -H -R -S C:\Boot.ini
The Attrib command I entered made the file editable. The DEL command deleted the Boot.ini file and the BootCfg /Rebuild created a new Boot.ini file based on my partition tables. The exit command reboots the PC.
If you ever run into this and the hal.dll file is truely missing, you can extract a copy from your Windows CD by typing the following from the recovery console.
This will copy the file from the CD to your system32 directory and reboot. You should be up and running again.
I hope this helps someone that has the same problems I encountered with Windows and hal.