Windows Vista/XP startup problem

By whizzer86
Jan 10, 2009
  1. Bear with me, I'm trying to help my parents with their Dell laptop after they tried to fix it themselves. Here's the info I have from my dad. Apparently their power cord disconnected during startup yesterday and when they rebooted, they got the dreaded "missing hal.dll" error message. He tried to repair the Windows installation but used an XP CD and his computer has Vista on it.

    Now when I came to reboot the computer, it goes to a screen to choose which OS, and it shows vista and XP Home Edition, but when I choose either it goes to an XP startup screen then to a bluescreen error reading STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error}.

    Is there anyway to get back to Vista, or do I have to do a reinstall of the OS? They don't want to lose the pics and whatever else they have on the computer, but I have no idea where to go from here.

    I know my info is limited here, but without being here during their attempted fix I can only assume they got on the desktop and tried to find a fix online only to botch it. Any help would be great!
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Is there any way to scan for infections? That error can be caused by a virus, trojan, etc.
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