Re: Installing Ubuntu if hal.dll is "missing or corrupt"
Were any partitions changed on the computer, because when I had that issue on a computer that I had use PING on (partition image is not ghost) it changed boot.ini to point to a different partition before it made the partition images, thinking that you would not reinstall a Dell recovery partition, but it forgot to change boot.ini back to what it was. So with boot.ini in the WinXP partition pointing at the wrong partition, I got the missing hal.dll error, until I somehow figured that out and corrected boot.ini.
But if you are going to install Ubuntu from CD (or bootable USB), don't even worry about that bacause it you can chose to use the entire drive and it will totally reformat it. All that matters is whether the drive was developing bad sectors, which is a bad sign that the drive is failing. Normally a drive transparently remaps bad sectors to reserved good sectors, and if you start seeing bad sectors because it ran out of spares, it can only get worse.
i5 650 3.2 GHz, 8 GB, nvidia GTX 550 Ti 32" 1080p | i7-4700, 8 GB, Intel HD 4600/nvidia GTX 765M 15.6" 1080p | etc.