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I'm working on a problem in which my wired usb keyboard andmouse do not work after boot into Windows XP Home (Safe mode or regular mode -- keyboard works in BIOS and when booted into other environments like UBCD or Setup.)

I've seen chatter here and there about restoring the original hal.dll from i386, but I'm wondering what that does, if anything. Does going back to the original hal.dll force a reload of all devices?

-- Edit:

Well, it does nothing. At least, the hal.dll is recreated and I still cannot access the workstation with my USB keyboard and mouse.

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Did the KB/mouse (which make/model?) come with a driver disc and if so, did you use it? AFAIK restoring hal.dll will only work if the file is missing or corrupted, not in situations like this. – Karan Sep 28 '12 at 19:26
Gosh, it's just a Dell branded keyboard. Nothing terribly exciting I'm afraid. – tcv Sep 28 '12 at 21:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

HAL is short for Hardware Abstraction Layer. It contains programming for the Windows operating system to function as an interface between your hardware and software. Applications don't access hardware directly, they access HAL, which then passes on the information to the hardware. HAL allow applications to be device-independent.

If you're having problems with HAL, you will need to boot from the recovery disk that came with your computer. If you don't have one, contact the manufacturer and they will sell you one for a small fee.

With the recovery you can reinstall your operating system without losing any data. You also have the option to format your harddrive completely before the operating system is reinstalled— it would cause all data to be lost, but would give you a fresh start.

It's common for HAL to become corrupted because of a virus or malware. If you suspect that a virus or malware caused this problem, a fresh start would be the better choice to reduce the chance of becoming reinfected.

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Thanks. The story is way long to go into here, so I won't bore you. Suffice it to say that the things you've mentioned I've tried and the customer did quite a number on this workstation. :-) I've rebuilt it. – tcv Oct 3 '12 at 2:52

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