Missing Windows hal.dll file

Updated: 07/13/2023 by Computer Hope
Windows hal.dll file

If your Windows computer reports an error that the DLL (dynamic-link library) file hal.dll is missing, follow these steps to help resolve the issue.

Verify the boot.ini is present and not corrupted

  1. Using a boot diskette, verify the boot.ini file is found on the computer, or use your Windows CD (compact disc) to get to the MS-DOS "C:\>" prompt.
  2. From this prompt, edit the boot.ini, verify that it's pointing to the correct operating system, and that no anomalies are found in the file.
  • If only one operating system is on the computer, verify the boot.ini only has one operating system listed. In some situations, an alternate configuration line may be added for the same operating system, leaving the improper line.
  • Verify the "default=" line and the operating system line are the same and pointing to the correct operating system.

Verify that the computer has the hal.dll file

From the MS-DOS "C:\>" prompt, determine if your computer has the hal.dll file by typing dir hal.dll /s at the prompt. If the computer returns a "File not found" message, the hal.dll was deleted.

To recover this file, boot to the Windows operating system CD and choose the option to "Restore," "Repair," or "Recover." This option prompts you for the Windows installation to use, the administrators password, and lets you restore the proper file. At the MS-DOS prompt, type the following command.

expand x:\i386\hal.dl_ y:\windows\system32\

In the example, "x" is the CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory) drive letter and "y" the drive containing the operating system. For example, your disc drive may be D: and your hard drive is likely C:.

Additional information about the expand command is on our expand help page.

Reinstall the operating system

If the boot.ini is found on the computer and is not corrupted, or if the hal.dll file is missing, we recommend you reinstall your Windows operating system.