Windows XP: Fix Startup / Shutdown Problems

How to use the Bootcfg /Rebuild command in the Recovery Console to recover from “Missing or corrupt HAL.DLL,” “Invalid Boot.Ini,” or “Windows could not start…” startup error messages

You have to know how to use the Recovery Console in order to use this method of recovering Windows XP from startup problems. Click here! to go to information on this site on the Recovery Console if you don’t know how to use it.

If Windows XP issues “Missing or corrupt HAL.DLL,” “Invalid Boot.Ini,” or “Windows could not start…” error messages at startup, you can use the Bootcfg /Rebuild to rebuild and recover the system.

The five steps involved are as follows:

1. – Boot from the Windows XP Setup CD and enter the Recovery Console. When the setup program runs, you will have the option to Press R to start the Recovery Console. Note that if, for example, you are using a Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) installation disc and the system has been updated to SP3 (Service Pack 3) you have to use an installation disc that has been ‘slipstreamed’ to incorporate SP3. You must not use an installation CD of an earlier version of Windows XP to repair a later version installed on a computer, because the earlier CD has old files that should not replace newer versions of those files. Search the web for create a slipstreamed windows xp sp3 disc for information on how to do that.

2. – Enter the command Attrib -H -R -S” C:\boot.ini to remove the Hidden, Read-only, and System file attributes so that it can be located, because it is a hidden system file by default. When the recovery process is complete, for security reasons, you should reverse the boot.ini file’s attributes to hide it again by using the Attrib +H +R +S” C:\boot.ini command from the command prompt. (Enter Attrib /? at the command prompt to bring up information on the switches available for it.) You can also do that from within Windows by right-clicking on the boot.ini file and then clicking Properties in the menu that come up. You just have to place check marks with your mouse in the relevant boxes.

3. – Delete the C:\boot.ini file by using the del c:\boot.ini command. Don’t worry about doing that. The file will be rebuilt by the rebuilding process.

4. – Enter the Bootcfg /Rebuild command at the command prompt. Assume that the information that is presented is correct and enter Y for yes.

You should be asked to Enter Load Identifier, which is the name of the operating system that will appear in boot menus. Depending on the version of Windows being used, enter Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition. Next you have to Enter OS Load Options. For normal installations, enter /Fastdetect.

5. – Enter the Fixboot command. This writes a new partition boot sector to the boot drive, which simplifies the boot process and gives the system the best chance of making a successful recovery. Enter Exit to quit the Recovery Console and reboot the computer, which should then restart normally.