Windows XP Rebuild Command
Have you ever run into a “Missing HAL.DLL,” “Invalid Boot.Ini,” or “Windows could not start…” message?
That was when I learned about XP’s built-in “Rebuild” command. It often can easily fix “missing HAL,” “Invalid Boot.Ini,” “Windows could not start…” and similar problems in just a minute or two.
Found this post on digg.com this afternoon, I know I’ve probably posted links to a tip like this one before, but this definitely deserves repeating.
It usually takes a lot to stop XP in its tracks. Even in those rare cases when the operating system is badly damaged, you’ll usually at least have the option of booting into the “Last Known Good” configuration, or to Safe Mode. But sometimes, especially after major hardware failures or part swaps (e.g. moving the operating system to a new hard drive), or after problems with dual- or multi-booting software, you may encounter seemingly intractable errors such as “Missing or corrupt HAL.DLL,” “Invalid Boot.Ini,” or “Windows could not start…”
These problems can seem hard to get past. For example, the first time I got a “Cannot find \Windows\System32\hal.dll” error message, I thought I’d be clever and replace the missing file via a simple Copy command from the Recovery Console. I booted the PC, switched to the \Windows\System32 folder, and there it was: The HAL.DLL was already there. It wasn’t missing at all. Why couldn’t the operating system find it?
I tried copying a fresh version of the file to \Windows\System32. No dice. I tried renaming it all uppercase and then all lowercase. Nothing. I put a copy in the root directory. No effect. I tried everything I could think of, but nothing worked.
Then–doh!–I stopped thrashing and did what I should have done initially: I dug into the Microsoft Knowledge Base and learned about XP’s built-in Rebuild command. It can often easily fix “Missing HAL” and similar problems in just a minute or two. If you know about this command and how to use it, you can potentially save yourself hours and hours of manually reinstalling or rebuilding a failed operating system.
He basically mention these commands being all that you will need in some situations,
Boot from your XP Setup CD and enter the Recovery Console
Run “Attrib -H -R -S” on the C:\Boot.ini file
Delete the C:\Boot.ini file
Run “Bootcfg /Rebuild”
Sounds like a piece of cake, and it is. Try this the next time you get one of those error messages, before you reinstall the whole operating system, AGAIN!