Oh guys what a mess in the middle of the night.
My cousin's computer wouldn't boot up, it would get stuck on the XP loading screen and just freeze. Then trying to boot into safe mode, it would get stuck on mup.sys
He needed some important files, so i said put HD into another computer and copy across. He does that and so is happy. But now we want to try to fix what the problem (without worry about loosing data)... So i plug the HD back into the computer and start up in safe mode... it takes a bit long on mup.sys, but then loads fine... restart in normal mode and everything is fine! Go figure...
Anyway, now that the computer is running fine, lets start tweaking... he has trendmicro suite and couldnt get internet access. He installed a new wireless router (he's connect with LAN) and the TMicro firewall wasnt configured for HOME network. SO changed that, all is good, and gets internet and all updates. He has wireless laptop so i configure WEP 128, and all the SPI firewall etc etc... everything is sweet and only took a couple of hours with a delicious home cooked dinner thrown in
Now, getting too confident, we want to install some new printers (HP a-i-o 2710 with wireless)... try installing the driver, and it fails. It says reboot the computer and try again. Reboot and now Lavasoft Ad-aware is playing up (the ad-watch component is maxing CPU and just lagging).. i check the version and definition date and it is 12mths old... I say its no good, we've got spybot and tmicro etc... so lets un-install. Everything is removed, and reboots.
On reboot i get black screen saying windows is corrupt, missing HAL.DLL !!! argh!! Was just about to pack up and go home! now, we're in for the long haul.
I read through some forums, and find that most times its caused by dodgy boot.ini file. So i try to get into recovery console. Tried with xp cd splimstreamed with sp2, no go, as it didnt give the 'R' option. So i found old version 1 XP cd. get into console. Forum said, delete boot.ini, the do bootcfg /rebuild ... this returned an error saying it couldnt find any windows installations!!
Oh no.. i've deleted boot.ini and cant get it back... i reboot and black screen saying cant find boot.ini... i go back into recovery console, and create a new boot.ini file from scratch. i do the bootcfg /list command, and says cant find windows. even /rebuild didnt work again.
Still no HAL.DLL file.... another thread said to simply copy and paste a sp2 hal.dll from another computer into the system32 directory. I copy that file onto a usb disk. I start the computer with MiniPE, but it doesnt have USB support!
Next comes the trusty PCLinuxOS LiveCD! this boots no probs, even configures the network for internet access! I can see the c drive, even the sata raid 0 and even the USB drive. sweet... i navigate to c:\windows.. then try opening system32 and it says 'stalled' ... i try going through the konsole, no luck...
Frustrated, i shutdown, and remove the HD and put back into an external case. I connect to the laptop, and all the files are visible... sweet, i'll just copy the file directly... when i try to access system32... it errors saying that directory is corrupt and unreadable!!
In desparation, i try to delete the whole system32 directory, and simply copy/paste my whole directory... no go, directory is not empty... but also, it cant be read ?!?!
The main question is How do we fix this?? Has anyone experienced this before? Where do we go from here?