JSI Tip 6138. Windows XP issues an 'Invalid Boot.ini' or 'Windows could not start ...' error?

When you start Windows XP, you receive one or both of the following errors:

Invalid Boot.ini

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: Windows\System32\Hal.dll

If the Boot.ini file is missing, corrupt, or contains invalid entries, you will experience this problem.

To fix this problem:

01. Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM.

02. Restart your computer.

03. When prompted to Press any key to boot from CD, press the Space bar.

04. At the Welcome to Setup message, press R to start the Recovery Console.

05. If you multi-boot this computer, select the installation of Windows XP that failed to start.

06. When prompted, type the administrator password and press Enter.

07. When the command prompt opens, type bootcfg /list and press Enter to display the entries in the boot.ini file.

08. Type bootcfg /rebuild and press Enter to scan your hard drives for Windows NT-based installations. Follow the on-screen instructions to add installations to the boot.ini file. Example:

Total Identified Windows Installs: 1

\[1\] C:\Windows 
Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All)
At the (Yes/No/All) prompt, respond with Y.

09. When a you receive a message similar to Enter Load Identifier, type the boot menu description and press Enter.

10. When prompted to Enter OS Load options, type /fastdetect and press Enter.

11. Type Exit to restart your computer normally.

NOTE: See A Discussion About the Windows XP Bootcfg Command and Its Uses.

NOTE: See How do I edit the boot.ini file in Windows XP?

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.