Hal.dll and Ntoskrnl.exe Cause BSOD

PC Repair Windows
The Blue Screen of Death

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is something that no computer user wishes to encounter. This is a delicate issue that can be triggered by various causes. It just keeps evolving over the years. If you’re encountering the same problem and suspect hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe as the primary causes, this article will help you solve the issue.

Before sharing solutions, it’s best to understand the functionalities of these two sorts of files and how they can end up causing BSODs.

What Is Hal.dll?

Hardware Abstraction Layer acts as a middle channel for kernel and raw metal. It is an abstract core kernel driver which permits a system running on Windows OS to be compatible with Intel as well as AMD CPUs. Without this file type, the system wouldn’t be able to interface with various motherboard chipsets. The only way a system can function without hal.dll is if the operating system is tailored for that specific motherboard manufacturer and model.

Hal.dll is important during the system boot process regardless of the Windows version in use. It acts as the kernel between hardware and software. Whenever this file is in use, apps communicate with system hardware through a proxy layer offered by the HAL environment.

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What Is Ntoskrnl.exe?

Ntoskrnl.exe is also similar to hal.dll in the sense that it also provides kernel layers for a couple of services including hardware abstraction and memory management. Indeed, it is a crucial part of the computer. Ntoskrnl.exe features the kernel, executive, cache manager, dispatcher, as well as memory manager.

How to Fix a BSOD Caused by Hal.dll and Ntoskrnl.exe

Since both of these files are fundamental to Windows OS functionality, any discrepancies among them may cause your computer to crash or show a BSOD. Hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe error causes vary as they can be related to either software or hardware issues. In most cases, the possible culprits that may lead to hal.dll and ntosknrl.exe causing BSOD include:

  1. Outdated device drivers
  2. Malfunctioning RAM device
  3. Inadequate storage or RAM devices
  4. Overclocked devices
  5. Corrupt or missing system files related to hal.dll and ntosknrl.exe.

Although these causes may seem like a lot, the good news is that there is a solution to each of them. Identifying the cause will also help to quickly find the solution. However, even if you have no clue what triggered it, following the listed solutions below in a chronological manner can help solve the issue.

You can attempt to solve this issue by applying these tricks:

Solution #1: Check the BIOS Boot Order

If the primary drive where your OS files are stored is not set as the preferred boot drive, you’re likely to encounter a BSOD caused by hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe. Now, to fix this issue you need to launch the system using a Windows 10/11 repair ISO file. The image can be created using another computer to a USB or portable drive with a storage capacity of no less than 8 GB. Once you have created the Disc image for Windows 10/11, insert the USB drive to the affected PC and follow the instructions below:

  1. During boot, press F2, Delete, or any other key necessary to lead you to the BIOS window.
  2. In the BIOS window, locate the Boot tab and check if the boot sequence is correctly set. If not, use the up and down arrow keys to choose your primary drive and the + or – keys to place the selected drive in the first order.
  3. When done, hit the F10 key to Save and Exit the window.

Solution #2: Execute a Surface Test

Despite the scenario of a faulty storage drive leading to hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe error issues, it can still happen. To find out if your hard drive has bad sectors, you need to utilize a disk defragmenter tool to check the health of your disk, improve disk performance, as well as defrag files.

Solution #3: Perform a Volume Boot Code (VBC) Update

If the VBC is outdated or corrupted, the chances of encountering hal.dll are high. In such a scenario, you should update the VBC to utilize BOOTMGR. The VBC can be updated via the Command Prompt by following the instructions below:

  1. Access Command Prompt by typing “cmd” (no quotes) in the search field, right-click on the results and select Run as Administrator.
  2. Insert the following command and hit Enter
    bootsect /nt60 sys
  3. The program will begin to update VBC on the drive used to boot Windows OS.
  4. Reboot the system when done for the changes to take effect and check whether the issue persists.

Solution #4: Perform SFC and DISM Scans

If any of the files related to hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe are corrupted, you’re likely to face BSOD issues. Since both of these files are essentials and fall under system files, if damaged, any program that depends on them may fail to launch or function properly. In this scenario, if either of the hal.dll or ntoskrnl.exe files have been corrupted or gone missing, the system is likely to display a BSOD.

System files can get corrupted if tempered by someone with no in-depth knowledge. A malicious program can also tamper with system files, making them inaccessible. So, if you’re not sure what the cause of system files to get corrupted or missing is, we advise running a strong anti-malware security tool to detect and get rid of any malware. After that, you may proceed and run SFC and DISM scans to replace corrupt or missing system files.

To run the scans, follow the steps below:

  1. Simultaneously press Windows + R keys to launch the Run window. Type “cmd” (no quotes) in the search field before pressing Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys simultaneously to launch an elevated Command Prompt. If prompted to give permission, click Yes to proceed.
  2. Once on the elevated Command Prompt, insert the following command before hitting the Enter key.
    sfc /scannow
  3. When the SFC scan has completed, close the window and reboot the system. Check if the issue hasn’t been resolved by performing the same action that previously triggered it.
  4. If the issue persists, run the DISM scan by following Step 1 to launch elevated Command Prompt.
  5. Once inside the elevated Command Prompt, insert the following command before hitting Enter:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    Note that DISM scan requires a stable Internet connection and may fail to complete if your connection is unstable.
  6. Wait for the procedure to complete before restarting your system.

There isn’t one solution fix-all when it comes to the BSOD caused by hal.dll or ntoskrnl.exe. Therefore, if not sure of the cause of your system’s BSOD related to hal.dll or ntoskrnl.exe files, we advise following the provided solutions above chronologically to achieve efficiency and effectiveness.

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