My special (see below) Windows XP doesn't load normally: system32\hal.dll is missing or corrupt.

However, it does boot from the installation USB stick! which means the installation is fine, just the boot process is stuck somewhere (needless to say, "hal.dll" is present and healthy).

another symptom is that it's mysteriously installed on D: drive, while C is not even present (if i insert the SD card, it mounts as C:)

apparently, since i installed from a USB stick, Windows thought it as C:, hence the HD was named D:.

the question is

how can i fix the boot.ini, mbr, and/or whatever needs to be fixed?

how can I see what's wrong? here's the stick's boot.ini:
[boot loader] timeout=30 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

the usb is using GRUB4DOS. grub's options for this HDD are:
root (hd0,0) chainloader (hd0,0)/NTLDR savedefault

the rest of the details are

  • WinXP sp3,
  • on eeePC, on its internal 2GB "hard drive"
  • self-customized using nLite.
  • I installed from USB using WinSetupFromUSB (since i don't have a CDROM)
  • I installed it on the 2GB hard-disk, NTFS formatted,
  • Strangely enough, The setup files mysteriously disappeared from the installation USB stick after the isntallation had finished.

thank you for looking at such an inconceivable situation :-)

1 Answer 1


by simply stretching out my question on the board, i was able to see how to fix it ...

first, before I posted the question, I had already copied all the files from the bootable USB stick's root dir onto the "hard drive", included the missing boot.ini and ntldr.

after i wrote the question, i edited the BOOT.INI, and changed




the reason was, if the installation process mounted winroot as D, then it thought it's the 2nd disk. but it isn't, it's the first disk, which is why i tried a zero (0)

and it now works!

and boots well enough.

i decided to leave this post for the community, in case another advanturous hero will find it useful.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.