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How To Fix Hal.dll Errors in Windows 7, 8, and Vista

A Troubleshooting Guide for Missing Hal.dll Errors in Windows 8/7/Vista


Hal.dll Error Message

Hal.dll issues in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows Vista may appear in one of several different ways, the most common of which I've listed here:

  • "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
    Please re-install a copy of the above file."
  • "Cannot find \Windows\System32\hal.dll"
  • "C:\Windows\System32\Hal.dll missing or corrupt:
    Please re-install a copy of the above file."

Hal.dll errors always display shortly after the computer is started but before Windows fully starts.

Windows XP: Hal.dll errors in Windows XP are usually caused by different issues than in later versions of Windows so please see How To Fix Hal.dll Errors in Windows XP instead.

Cause of Hal.dll Errors

Obviously, an issue with the hal.dll DLL file might be the root cause of the hal.dll error, for instance if the file has been corrupted or deleted.

Another possible cause is a damaged hard drive but in most cases that I've seen in Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, missing hal.dll erors are due to issues with the master boot code.

How To Fix Hal.dll Errors in Windows 7, 8, & Vista

  1. Restart your computer. While not very likely, the hal.dll error could be caused by a temporary problem that a reboot might take care of. It's worth a try.
  2. Check the boot sequence in BIOS. If the BIOS is configured so the boot order first lists a hard drive other than the one with your usually-used copy of Windows installed on it, that might be the problem.

    Note: If you've recently installed an internal hard drive, plugged in an external hard drive, made changes in BIOS, or flashed your BIOS, be sure you give proper weight to this possibility!
  3. Perform a Startup Repair. The Startup Repair process in Windows 7 and Vista is an automated Windows startup fix-it tool and will often fix hal.dll issues caused by corruption of the hal.dll file itself.
  4. Update the volume boot code to use BOOTMGR. If the volume boot code has corrupted or is configured for a boot manager other than BOOTMGR then you might see a hal.dll is missing error.

    Note: An issue with the volume boot code is the most common cause of hal.dll errors in Windows 7, 8, or Vista. The reason I list it as the fourth troubleshooting step is because the first three are so simple to try. However, if you're comfortable working with advanced tools in Windows, feel free to give this one a shot first.
  5. Test your hard drive. It's possible at this point that the problem could be hardware related.

    Replace the hard drive if the test you run on your hard drive fails and then install Windows 8, 7, or Vista again on the new drive.
  6. Complete a clean install of Windows. This kind of Windows install method completely erases everything on your hard drive and installs a new copy of Windows.

    Important: A clean install will fix any software-based (corruption, etc.) cause of any hal.dll error you're seeing, but it's something you should only do if you're sure your hard drive is physically working properly and you've tried all other software troubleshooting.

Applies To

This issue applies to all editions of Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, including both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of these operating systems.

See How To Fix Hal.dll Errors in Windows XP if you're receiving hal.dll errors in Windows XP.

Still Having Hal.dll Issues?

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Be sure to let me know what steps you've already taken to fix the hal.dll issue and be sure to include which version of Windows you're using.

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