This morning, I turned on my computer, only to have it stop booting before it got to the Windows logo. It then gave me the message: windows cannot start because the following file is mssing or corrupt <windows root>/system32/hal.dll.

I then did "ctrl+alt+del" to restart and received the message one more time. I restarted again, with everything going normally. I then did a search for the file in question and found that is was where it was supposed to be. Does this mean it is not missing, but corrupt?

I don't know if I turn off my computer tonight, it will do the same thing when I try to restart. Obviously, the file is not missing, because I was able to eventually boot up. What do I do?

It's possible that your drive has some corrupt sectors that need to be repaired. The best way to fix this problem is to scan your disks from Recovery Console. After you have loaded the Recovery Console, type in the following command:

chkdsk c: /r

After the scan completes, it will give you a report on its results (it's not important that you understand what it says). To reboot your machine, type "exit" and press enter.

If running chkdsk doesn't help you, you can do a repair install of the operating system. This will install Windows XP over itself but it won't mess up any of your programs or settings. There are detailed instructions on how to do this here.