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Hi

I'm unable to boot to Windows XP Pro. I get the message that Windows is unable to load because <Windows root>System32\hal.dll is missing or corrupt.

I called Dell, but my warranty is up and they want to charge me $129 likely to tell me that I'll have to reload Windows (which I know how to do).

They tell me that I can recover my data (which I sorely want to do) if I do a "parallel installation" of Windows. I've never heard of this. What on earth does that mean?

I have an XPS 600, I've tried safe mode, no luck. HELP!! (Please).

k.
 

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There are a few different ways you can recover you data.
1. You can remove the drive and put it into an external enclosure to copy the files to a safe location.
2. You can add it to another machine internal and copy the data.
3. You can use a Linux Live CD to browse the file system and save your files
4. You can use Symantec ghost to recover your files

To fix Windows, you can try doing a "Repair Install" which will install Windows again without damaging your data. You'll have to get all of the patches that came after whatever service pack is on your XP CD but the data should not be deleted or overwritten when doing this type of install.

Here's information on repairing or restoring the hal.dll file:
Error message: "Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem"
 
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