Error message when you restore a Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1-based backup on a Windows Server 2003-based computer: "Windows could not start because of an error in the software"

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Article ID: 914049 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

You restore a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1)-based backup on a computer that is running Windows Server 2003. After you restart the computer, you may receive the following error message:
Windows could not start because of an error in the software. Please report this problem as : load needed DLLs for kernel. Please contact your support person to report this problem.

CAUSE

This problem may occur if the Hal.dll and Ntoskrnl.exe files are mismatched.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this problem, use one of the following methods:
  • Expand and copy the correct Hal.dll and Ntoskrnl.exe files from the Windows Server 2003 SP1 CD to the Windows Server 2003-based computer before you restore the backup.

    Use the Setup.log file to determine the correct Hal.dll and Ntoskrnl.exe files to replace. The Setup.log file is located in the C:\Windows\Repair folder. There are different Hal and Ntoskrnl files that can be used, depending on the system type. The Setup.log file shows which files are installed on that specific system.
  • Install Windows Server 2003 SP1 on a new disk drive before you restore the backup. Install Windows Server 2003 SP1 by using Windows Update Web site, the Microsoft Update Web site, or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

    For more information about how to obtain the latest service pack for Windows Server 2003, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    889100 How to obtain the latest service pack for Windows Server 2003

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about a similar issue in Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
326671 Error message: Windows could not start because of an error in...

Properties

Article ID: 914049 - Last Review: October 11, 2007 - Revision: 2.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
Keywords: 
kbserver kbwindowsupdate kbmsg kbtshoot kbprb KB914049

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