A quick solution for "Windows could not start because the following file is ..."

Apr 10, 2011
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Has anyone had this error message during boot time?:

"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"

I had beat my head until I found a quick solution. This only applies
to MOBOS that supports "boot Priority (a sub menu)" in CMOS.

I have a (Gigabyte) GA-880GM-UD2H (rev. 1.4). Here we go;
In CMOS\Advance bios settings\boot priority. there you will see what
HDD is booting first, second, third and so forth. I noticed my Primary
HDD with Windows 7 SP1 OS was at the very bottom of the boot priority.
All I had to do is move my OS HDD to position #1 and that nasty
windows error message disappeared and my system booted correctly!!!

I hope this will help some users, I just had to share my experience in
hopes it will help some. Good Luck!



VIP Member
Jul 20, 2009
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From Windows Vista, hal.dll doesn't exist. It's not in Windows Vista, Windows 7.
I would suspect you were seeing the error, because the previous Boot priority had remnants of XP on it., It most likely meant that , your master boot record on that particular device was, as I say, a remnant from a legacy installation, thus it was seeking hal, which no longer existed..

This can happen under other circumstances, if you have had XP previously on a (any) computer.

The standard remedy is:
Open a Command Prompt with Admin rights.
Ttype the bootsect command as shown and then press Enter:
bootsect /nt60 sys
The bootsect command as used above will overwrite the master boot record on the partition used to boot Windows to the one that's compatible with Windows 7. .

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