11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 25, 2013 6:38 PM by pwm56
pwm56 Level 1 Level 1

My imac has been running without problems under OS X Snow Leopard and bootcamp running Windows XP for a long time. I had received a Sony MP3 player and wanted to install the software on my computer. At the time I had a CD in my drive slot because I was getting ready to install some brother's software for a printer I wanted to use. I restarted my imac under bootcamp and started installing the Sony software in Windows XP. I was having problems with the install  and decided to restart XP to see if that would help. It's been several days since this originally happened so I'm not of sure of any more specifics at this point other than I've had to use windows machines for a long time and know that basically when in doubt "restart".


When my imac was restarting I heard everything spinning up, the white light came on, but I heard no chime, a blue screen came up for about 15 to 30 sec. and then it went to a black screen with DOS characters giving the following message:


Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll. Please re-install a copy of the above file.


I do have a copy of Windows XP, but my first problem was that I still had a CD in the slot and it would not eject. I tried every keyboard combination I could find including: eject button, F12 and holding down the mouse button at start-up and nothing worked. I also tried every other start-up keyboard combination I could find at Apple Support jut to see if I could get my imac to start up under OS X . I finally went on youtube to find out how to remove the CD. I ended up opening up my imac and taking off the cover of the CD drive to remove the disk. After putting everything back together I put in my Windows CD and tried restarting again. The exact same thing happened and I ended up at the DOS screen. Then I thought maybe my keyboard wasn't working so I replaced it with a new one. Same result. I also thought to plug both of my apple keyboards into my windows 8 laptop (hate it!) to see if they worked there at all. They both did so I'm sure the keyboards are not the problem.


At this point, since I do now have a windows 8 laptop (hate it!) there is no remaining reason for me to keep a bootcamp partition on my hard drive. My question is where do I go from here? I have a current time machine back-up on an external hard drive and I have my install CD for OS X Snow Leopard. How do I get my imac back up and running? Thanks.

iMac G5, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10

    Can you OPTION boot? If so, then choose the OS X volume to boot back into OS X. From there you can use Boot Camp Assistant to remove the Windows volume and restore the drive.


    Boot Using OPTION key:


      1. Restart the computer.

      2. Immediately after the chime press and hold down the

          "OPTION" key.

      3. Release the key when the boot manager appears.

      4. Select the desired disk icon from which you want to boot.

      5. Click on the arrow button below the icon.



    Five ways to eject a stuck CD or DVD from the optical drive


    Ejecting the stuck disc can usually be done in one of the following ways:


      1. Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the

          left mouse button until the disc ejects.


      2. Press the Eject button on your keyboard.


      3. Click on the Eject button in the menubar.


      4. Press COMMAND-E.


      5. If none of the above work try this: Open the Terminal application in

          your Utilities folder. At the prompt enter or paste the following:


            /usr/bin/drutil eject


    If this fails then try this:


    Boot the computer into Single-user Mode. At the prompt enter the same command as used above. To restart the computer enter "reboot" at the prompt without quotes.

  • pwm56 Level 1 Level 1

    I've already tried using the option key. No change. I've also tried all of the ways you suggested to remove a stuck CD as I mentioned in my initial post. I don't know how to do the fifth option on ejecting a stuck disk since I can't get the computer to start-up. I can get a stuck disk out manually if I have to, so I'm not as concerned about that right now as I am about getting my imac to restart in OS X. Thanks.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10

    Try Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM


    You can also try removing that disc, then try booting from the Leopard installer DVD:


    Booting From An OS X Installer Disc


    1. Insert OS X Installer Disc into the optical drive.

      2. Restart the computer.

      3. Immediately after the chime press and hold down the "C" key.

      4. Release the key when the spinning gear below the dark gray Apple

          logo appears.

      5. Wait for installer to finish loading.


    It this works, then you can reset the Startup Disk from the installer's screen menus.

  • pwm56 Level 1 Level 1

    The first article is a variation on using the Option key to restart my mac, but I have the same problem that I can't get past the black screen. The second article suggests resetting the PRAM which I have also previously tried without any change. I will try removing the Windows XP install disk that is now in my optical drive, but since I'm not hearing a chime at start-up I'm not sure this is going to make any difference either. However, nothing ventured nothing gained. For the record I've also tried pressing the following keys or combinations at start-up:


    C, D, Option, Shift, Command-V, Command-S and Command-R


    None of these had any effect.

  • pwm56 Level 1 Level 1

    I removed the windows installer disk. Still no change in my imac's behavior. Every keyboard combination I try does nothing and I end up at the black DOS screen. I then inserted my Snow Leopard install CD and pressed C after pressing the power button, but that does nothing either. I'm not getting a start-up chime so I'm wondering if there is some hardware problem involved. At this point I don't know what else to do. I don't mind opening back up my mac and replacing parts. I'd really like to avoid have to take it in to a tech person.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10

    Can't overlook the possibility  that you do have a hardware problem, but I couldn't tell you what that may be. Could be a bad hard drive.

  • Jamie Telford Level 1 Level 1

    does your keyboard work?  seems weird that you can't access any of the hardware triggered modes..


    if you can boot into OSX you can go into diskutil and run a scan and repair on your HDD.. this will fix the boot order entries and allow you to use XP again..

  • pwm56 Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for the response. I was worried about the same thing so I went out and purchased a new apple keyboard and I had the same results. I then thought that maybe both keyboards were bad so I tried plugging each of them into my windows laptop to see if they would operate on that machine. Both keyboards, in fact, seemed to work fine. I've also tried plugging the keyboard into each of the different USB ports on the back of my imac thinking maybe the port was bad, but still no results. Right now I have my OS X Snow Leopard CD in the optical drive, but can't get the computer to switch to that startup disk. It bothers me that I don't hear the normal chim at startup, but I do hear "things" powering up inside the imac and the computer is reading something because it keeps taking me from a blue screen to a black screen with the DOS error message. Any other suggestions?

  • Jamie Telford Level 1 Level 1

    Wow.. seems that you somehow have wiped and replaced your original osx boot partiton when uou first installed xp.. I have no friggen idea how that happened.


    Anyhow.. try holding down F8


    This will launch the XP boot menu and hopefully you can find osx listed to boot


    If that works run diskutil in osx and repair ur hdd

  • pwm56 Level 1 Level 1

    I tried F8 and it still went to the DOS screen. A couple of things that may or may not help:

    1) I install XP on Bootcamp a few years ago and have had no problems until now.

    2) The error message I get at the DOS screen says I have a corrupt file (<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll. Please re-install a copy of the above file.) and I need to replace it so I don't think I'm going to get to the XP boot menu (at least not via the F8 key).

    3)  At this point I don't really care about keeping XP or Bootcamp on this computer so is there a way to either reformat or replace my current hard drive and reinstall OSX?

    4) I'm also wondering if I shouldn't replace my optical drive at the same time.


    I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have.