It appears that there is an issue with some systems after installing internet explorer 8. Users get an error message stating that hal.dll is missing or corrupt. IE8 is actually deleting the boot.ini file. Here’s what I did to fix it.
1. Insert the Windows CD and boot from it. (Dell systems use F12 at blue dell logo to get to the boot menu.)
2. Press R at the first prompt to get to the recovery console.
3. When asked about which OS you would like to repair press 1 and enter (if there is only 1 OS.)
4. Enter the administrator password as requested. (this is for the machine’s local administrator account.)
5. Type bootcfg /rebuild.
6. When asked “Add installation to boot list?” answer yes.
7. At the “Enter Load Identifier” prompt, type the name of the OS (this is the display name the you see when the PC boots so enter something like Windows XP Professional.
8. At the “Enter OS Load options” type /Fastdetect
9. reboot and remove the CD to boot into Windows.
10. Once in Windows, uninstall IE8, this will revert you back to IE7.
11. You can reboot at this point, I had to perform steps 1-9 again after uninstalling IE8