How to Fix Hal.dll Errors in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 & Vista

A troubleshooting guide for missing hal.dll errors

As it would seem, an issue with the hal.dll file might be the root cause of the error, for instance, if the file has been corrupted or deleted. Another possible cause is a damaged hard drive, but in most cases that we've seen, missing hal.dll errors are due to issues with the primary boot code.

When these error messages are seen in Windows XP, they're usually caused by different issues than in later versions of Windows. See How to Fix Hal.dll Errors in Windows XP instead.

Hal.dll Errors

Hal.dll errors may appear in one of several ways:

  • Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: C:\Windows\system32\hal.dll. 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.

The error always displays shortly after the computer is started, but before Windows fully starts.

Screnshot of a 0x5C / HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 8
A Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 8.

How to Fix Hal.dll Errors in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 & Vista

This issue applies to all editions of Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, including both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of these operating systems.

  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.

    Since hal.dll errors appear before Windows has completely started, you probably won't be able to properly restart your computer. Unfortunately, you'll need to force a restart instead, which you can do by pressing or holding down the physical power button.

  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.

    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. Windows startup fix-it tools will often fix hal.dll issues caused by corruption of the 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.

    An issue with the volume boot code is the most common cause of hal.dll errors in Windows 7—11. The reason we 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 on 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 again on the new drive (see Step 6).

  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.

    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.

    As of January 2020, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 or Windows 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

  7. Nothing working? See How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? for a full list of your support options, plus help with everything along the way like figuring out repair costs, getting your files off, choosing a repair service, and a lot more.

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