Fix: HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED BSOD

The Blue screen of death (HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED) usually occurs when your system is turned on from ‘sleep’ state or when booting Windows from an old virtual machine. This error mostly experienced with ‘old’ computers out there running Windows 8 or 10.

The workarounds for this issue are quite simple and are listed below. However, if they do not work for you, consider performing a fresh install of the Windows operating system on your system or upgrade your system’s specifications. If you are using a virtual machine, make sure it is updated to the latest build available and your computer has enough capacity to handle it.

What causes HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED in Windows 10?

As mentioned earlier, this issue can be because of hardware problems, but in the majority of the cases, the problem corresponds to software components in your computer. Here are some of the most popular causes which came across during our investigation:

  • Corrupted, outdated, or incorrectly configured drivers: Drivers are the main components which communicate information between the hardware and the operating system. If the very drivers in your computer are somehow corrupt or not configured properly, you will experience the BSOD.
  • Damaged system files: This cause is infrequent but is still present. System files usually get corrupt when you are moving operating systems, or there is a corrupt Windows Update.
  • Malware infection: Malware attacks to Windows are nothing new in the world of computing. If your computer contains malware or viruses, they will have modified the system settings and will cause the BSOD under discussion.
  • A corrupted or damaged hard disk: Hard drives are the backbone of any operating system. If the hard drive in which Windows is installed is damaged physically or has some of its sectors corrupt, you will experience the HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED blue screen of death.
  • Power Options problem: The power options in your computer dictate the power input to the computer and all other components. If the power input itself isn’t configured properly, it might sometimes clash with your operating system and cause your computer to throw a BSOD.
  • Conflicting Virtual Machine Application: Virtual Machines might have made our lives easier, but they aren’t without their complications. If there is a conflicting virtual machine on your computer which isn’t working properly with the parent OS, you will experience the blue screen.

Before we start with the solutions, there are some steps which you can perform to make the troubleshooting process simpler and easier. Here are some of them:

  1. Remove any hardware that is not crucial to startup the system, e.g. DVD drives, Wi-Fi cards etc.
  2. You should remove mouse and keyboard and plug back in when they are required to communicate with the system.
  3. Clear USB slots and also clear SD card slots.
  4. Also, if you have a laptop with a removable battery, then remove the battery and then proceed with the undermentioned steps of troubleshooting by just using the AC power.
  5. If you have more than one RAM in the system, then remove all except one.
  6. If you have more than one storage drive either HDDs or SSDs, remove all, except one with the OS.
  7. If you have a separate Graphics card, remove it (if possible) and go with the built-in graphics card.
  8. When you are able to solve the problem, then add removed hardware one by one to identify if any of the removed hardware was the problem.
  9. If the computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from performing the solutions steps. In that case, try to remove the problematic PC from the network for troubleshooting and may join back the network after troubleshooting.
  10. Make sure that you have administrator access to the system.

When this error occurs, some users can boot in the system, and some users cannot boot in the system.

Now if you cannot boot normally in the system then troubleshooting OS is not possible for a common user, in that case, you should boot the system into safe mode with networking, which is now a part of Automatic Repair Mode.

Solution 1: Setting ‘useplatformclock’ to True

This workaround is marked the ‘best’ for this BSOD when the computer randomly crashes after being brought back from sleep mode. According to online documentation, the command we are about to execute is related to High Precision Event Timer which is a hardware timer present on our computers. Let’s take a look.

  1. Press Windows + R, type “command prompt” in the dialogue box, right-click on the application and select “Run as administrator”.
  2. Once in elevated command prompt, execute the following command:
bcdedit /set useplatformclock true

  1. Now the command is executed. To make sure that the value is changed to true, type the command “bcdedit /enum” in the command prompt. Navigate to the sub-heading of “Windows boot loader” and make sure that the value of useplatformclock is set to Yes.
  2. Restart your computer completely and check if this made any difference.

Solution 2: Try Windows Automatic Repair & Enable Safe Mode

In Safe Mode, the system starts with a minimum set of drivers, software & services. Usually, when the OS does not start normally, Safe Mode can start without any problem. It will help troubleshoot the system and diagnose which modules are causing the problems.

To use Safe Mode in Windows 10, try to get into “Automatic Repair Mode” when it gets fail to boot three times. When Windows doesn’t boot properly, this screen pops up & Windows attempts to fix the problem by itself.

To turn on the “Automatic repair mode”, you have to press the reset button to perform a Hard Shut Down after viewing the windows logo and repeating it three times which will enable the Automatic Repair Mode. On the 3rd start, you will be taken into the Automatic repair mode and then to the Recovery Environment where you can access Safe Mode, System Repair, Command Prompt etc.

  1. Ensure your PC is off.
  2. Press the power button to turn on your PC and when you see the Windows logo hold the power button down until PC shuts down automatically.
  3. Repeat the above steps.
  4. With the first three steps, we are trying to bring up the Automatic Repair screen. If you’ve seen this screen for the first time then we now need to repeat hard shutdowns.
    Preparing Automatic Repair
  5. Then wait for Windows to diagnose your PC.
    Diagnosing Your PC
  6. When the “Startup Repair” screen appears and says it could not repair your PC then Click Advanced options, which will bring up the Windows RE (Recovery environment.) screen. And if Startup reports that it was able to fix some problem, then restart the system to see if the problem is indeed fixed. If it isn’t, continue. 

    Startup Repair
  7. Click Troubleshoot in the Windows Recovery environment,
    Click on Troubleshoot
  8. On the Troubleshoot screen, click Advanced options.
    Advanced Options in Troubleshoot
  9. Click Startup Settings to continue.
    Startup Settings in Advanced Options
  10. Click Restart which will restart the system and another screen of “Startup Settings” will show up displaying a list of different startup options.
    Startup Settings in Windows RE
  11. On your keyboard, press the 4-number key if you want to enter Safe Mode without network. And the 5number key if you want to enter Safe Mode with network access.
    Enable Safe Mode in Startup Settings

Now, as you are in safe mode, backup your essential data to someplace safe. Also, create a restore point. For detail instructions of creating the restore point, visit the following link on how to create a system restore point.

Keep in mind that if you cannot access the installed OS, then you should use installation media to perform the above steps. Remember that you will need BitLocker Key if you’ve encrypted your device to start in safe mode.

After creating the restore point and backing up your important data, move to the next solutions.

Solution 3: Cleaning Junk files

Junk files are usually old configurations of the system which get accumulated when they are used up or not needed anymore. This also includes old cookies etc. from web browsers. If you are using Microsoft store, it might also deposit junk files with time.

Even though the system does not use junk files, there might be instances where they conflict with the existing settings of applications or the OS itself.  It is always recommended to clean junk files from PC now and then. You can use the built-in Disk cleaner to clean up your system junk files. This cleaning can solve the problem of HAL Initialized Failed.

  1. Press the Windows button and then type “disk cleanup”. Then click on the Disk Cleanup in the list that pops out.
    Disk Cleanup in Windows Search Box
  2. Wait for a little while so Windows can scan all your system files and see which files qualify as junk.
    Disk Cleanup Starting
  3. In the resulting Window, drag down the scroll bar a bit to find the Temporary files. Check the checkBox in front of it and choose OK.
    Check Temporary Files
  4. If you have more space that you would like to release, tick the box in the front to get them clean.
  5. Restart your computer after this step and see if the blue screen of death occurs again.

Solution 4: Run the SFC Command

The missing/corrupted/damaged system files can cause the HAL Initialization Failed error. There is a built-in System File Checker (SFC) that can check and repair any problematic files automatically. This mechanism compares your existing installation files with an online manifest and see’s if anything is missing. If there is, it replaces it with a fresh copy so make sure you have a strong internet connection as well. We will use the SFC tool to fix missing or corrupt system files (if any).

If you cannot boot into your system normally, execute the following command after accessing the command prompt after opening command prompt when in the recovery environment.

  1. Boot system in Safe Mode.
  2. Type cmd in the search bar on your desktop and right-click Command Prompt & select Run as administrator.
    Run Command Prompt as Administrator
  3. In the Command Prompt, Copy and paste the following command:
sfc /scannow

and press Enter.

Run SFC Command
  1. Wait for the process to 100% complete.
    Verification of SFC Command Completed
  2. Type exit in Command Prompt and press Enter.
    Exit Command Prompt
  3. Please keep in mind that this scan might take time to complete, so please be patient and let it complete. Restart the system and check if the problem is there.

If the problem persists, proceed to the next solution.

Solution 5: Run DISM Command

Deployment Image Servicing and Management is a tool that is used to scan and resolve issues of corrupted system files as well, and thus DISM can fix the HAL Initialization Failed Error if anything was missed by SFC scan. We usually recommend users to run the DISM command after they are done with the SFC scan.

Here’s how to run DISM in Windows:

  1. Press Windows and type “Command Prompt” and in the list appeared, Right-click on the “Command Prompt” and click on “Run as Administrator”.
  2. Copy and paste the following command on the command line:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
Run DISM Command
  1. If the DISM command can’t get files online, then you can use your installation USB/DVD, insert the media and then in the command prompt type the following command:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:RepairSourceWindows /LimitAccess
  1. Ensure you replace
    C:RepairSourceWindows
    

    With the path of your DVD or USB.

After the execution of the DISM command, reboot system normally and see if the problem is solved. If not, move to the next solution.

Note: If you cannot log into the OS, use the command prompt in the recovery environment of Windows.

Solution 6: Checking for Disk Corruption

A broken or corrupt hard drive is alarming. And the first warning messages by the system come in the form of BSOD errors. CHKDSK is a built-in Windows tool that verifies the file system integrity of a volume and fixes logical file system errors. The CHKDSK mechanism checks all the sectors of your disk and see’s if there is any corruption in any slice/sector. If there is, it tries to fix it by resetting. If it doesn’t get fixed, the sector will be blacklisted by the system and will not be used in the future.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Boot system in Safe Mode.
  2. Type command prompt in the windows search box on your desktop, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  3. Click Yes to accept UAC if prompted.
  4. Type (or copy and paste) the following command in Command Prompt. Then press Enter on your keyboard.
chkdsk.exe /f /r
Run chkdsk Command
  1. Type Y in Command Prompt to confirm that you’d like to perform the disk check next time you restart your computer. Then press Enter.
    Confirm to Run chkdsk on next Startup
  2. Then restart the system.
  3. The disk check will start after the system is booted. This disk checking scanning does not take a long time to complete but once any errors are detected, then the fixing procedure can take HOURS to complete. Make sure you have enough time to spare.

Note: As with the previous solutions, if you are not able to access the operating system, you should use the command prompt in the recovery environment and execute the following commands.

Solution 7: Update the Virtual Machine (if any)

Virtual Machine Applications are known to create specific problems with their host environments. They are updated on a regular bases to patch any loopholes in the system. So, updating Virtual Machine to the latest version may solve the problem. Keep in mind that the steps in updating your VM might be slightly different than the undermentioned depending upon your VM machine.

  1. Open your Virtual Machine application.
  2. Click on the File menu, then click on Check for updates.
    Check For Updates of VirtualBox
  3. Then you will be prompted to update if your VM is not updated to the latest update or you will be told that you already are using the latest version.
    Checking For Updates of VirtualBox
  4. After the update process has completed, check if the problem is solved.

Solution 8: Update Windows to the Latest Build

Many BSOD error messages that are encountered can be contributed to an outdated Windows Operating System. Checking Windows for updates can be a way to fix the issue of HAL Initialization Failed BSOD. Even if Windows offer an optional update, install it.

  1. Press the Windows button and type Check for updates. Open the settings icon which returns as a result.
  2. Now, click on Check for updates.
    Updating Windows
  3. If updates are available, they will begin installing automatically.

If Windows Update failed to resolve the problem, please try the next solution.

Solution 9: Updating Drivers

Like mentioned earlier, this BSOD also occurs if you have bad or outdated drivers installed on your computer. Now here you have to manually check each driver yourself and make sure it is updated. Either you can use Windows update to check that for you by updating automatically or you can update the drivers manually by downloading them first from the manufacturer’s website.

  1. Follow the instructions on our article on how to boot your computer in safe mode.
  2. Once you are in safe mode, press Windows + R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  3. Once in the device manager, expand the drivers one by one and click on Update Driver.

  1. Now there are two options. Either you can automatically update the drivers using Windows update or update them manually. Automatic update will search the Windows database against your hardware and download any latest drivers available for you.

  1. Select the first option Search automatically for updated driver software for automatic updates and the second option Browse my computer for driver software for manually updating. If you are updating manually, first download the driver to an accessible location and browse to it to install.
  2. Restart your computer after updating all the drivers and see if this fixes anything.

Also, if a driver is having a problem during installation/updating, try using the compatibility mode to install that driver. The compatibility mode creates an environment which belongs to a previous version of Windows. Follow the steps listed below:

  1. Right-click on the Setup File of the problematic driver and click on the “Properties”.
  2. Move to the “Compatibility” tab & check the checkbox on the left of the “Run this program in compatibility mode for”.
    Compatibility Tab
  3. Now click on the dropdown box & choose “Windows 8″, then click on “Apply” & click on “OK”.

    Run this Program in Compatibility Mode For
  4. Install the driver and check its proper operation.
  5. If not, repeat the above steps this time for Windows 7 from the drop-down list.

After updating drivers or compatibility testing, check if the problem is solved.

Solution 10: Disable Antivirus

It is always a good idea to temporarily disable the Anti-Virus and Security software while troubleshooting BSOD errors. You firstly disable such software and if the problem is solved then you should replace the Anti-Virus. For complete details on how to turn off/temporarily disable the Anti-Virus, please check our article on How to disable Antivirus software.

After disabling the Anti-Virus check if the problem is solved. If the issue remains and you still experience the blue screen after intervals, you can re-enable the Anti-Virus and proceed. Do note that it is okay to re-enable the Antivirus software, but we still recommend to keep it disabled during the rest of the troubleshooting process.

Solution 11: Turn off Fast Startup

Fast Startup is a Windows 10 feature that allows a PC to boot up rapidly, which is quite helpful for systems that are still using a mechanical hard drive. It also allows the machine to boot faster after turning it on. But this power option sometimes is known to have issues with sleep mode. Users reported that after putting their computer in sleep mode, they got HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED when they tried to turn on their computer again. Here are the steps on how you can disable fast startup on your computer.

  1. Press the Windows Button and then type ‘Control Panel’ and in the results click on “Control Panel.
    Control Panel in Windows Search Box
  2. In the Control Panel, near the top right side of the window click on the “View By” and then in the drop-down menu, click on the “Large Icons”.
    View By Large Icons in Control Panel
  3. Then click on the “Power Options”.
    Click Power Options in Control Panel
  4. Then on the left side menu, click on the “Choose what the power buttons do”.
    Choose what the power buttons do
  5. Hit “Change settings that are currently unavailable
    Change settings that are currently unavailable
  6. Then uncheck the “Turn on fast startup”.
    Uncheck the Turn on fast startup
  7. Save your changes.

Restart the system and then check if the problem is solved. If it is not resolved, keep the fast startup disabled and proceed with the next solutions.

Solution 12: Uninstall Update

If the problem started to happen after a particular update, then uninstalling that particular update can solve the problem. Windows is notorious for releasing unstable updates to the computer and then releasing a fix later on. We also came across some instances where a specific update was clashing with some applications/programs in the computer causing it to crash and displaying the Blue Screen of Death. To uninstall an update on your Windows, follow our article on How to Uninstall a Windows Update.

After uninstalling if you are still facing HAL Initialization Failed error, proceed to the next solution.

Solution 13: Changing Sleep Settings

In sleep mode, the system goes to a low power consuming state & the display is turned off. The system can be resumed, or the PC can be woken up by hitting any key on the keyboard or the mouse. Many times this blue screen of death is said to occur when resuming from Sleep Mode. Disabling sleep mode may solve the problem.

Even though this might rip of you of the accessibility where you can expect your computer to go into sleep mode automatically, it will avoid the Blue screen of death from occurring again.

  1. Press the Windows key and then in the pop-up menu, click on the “Settings”.
    Settings in Windows Search Box
  2. In the Settings, click on system

    System in Settings
  3. Now, click on power & sleep in the left menu.

    Power & Sleep in System
  4. On the right side of the opened window, under sleep, just click on timing options & select never in the dropdown.
    Change Sleep to Never
  5. Check if the problem is solved.

Solution 14: Performing a System Restore

If all the above methods don’t work, it is worth a shot restoring back before any latest Windows 10 updates were installed on your computer. If you don’t have a last restore point, you can install a clean version of Windows. You can use the utility “Belarc” to get all your licenses saved, backup your data using external storage and then perform a clean install.

Note: Performing a system restore is only valid if this error started to come after a windows update. If this isn’t the case, you can go ahead and perform a new install of Windows after backing your data.

Here is the method on how to restore Windows from the last restore point.

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the start menu’s search bar. Type “restore” in the dialogue box and select the first program which comes in the result.

  1. One in the restore settings, press System Restore present at the beginning of the window under the tab of System Protection.

  1. Now a wizard will open navigating you through all the steps to restore your system. You can either select the recommended restore point or choose a different restore point. Press Next and proceed with all the further instructions.
  2. Now select the restore point from the list of options available. If you have more than one system restore points, they will be listed here.

  1. Now windows will confirm your actions for the last time before it starts the system restore process. Save all your work and backup important files just in case and proceed with the process.

You can learn more about system restore to gain more knowledge about what it does and what are the processes involved.

  1. Once you have restored successfully, log into the system and see if you still get the blue screen of death.

If you don’t have any restore points or if the system restore doesn’t work, you can do a clean install of Windows using bootable media. You check our article on how to create a bootable media. There are two ways: by using media creation tool by Microsoft and by using Rufus.

Solution 15: Reset Windows 10

Windows 10 allows its users to reset their systems which will return the computer’s OS to its factory settings and all the applications/drivers/services that did not come with the computer will be uninstalled. All changes made by the user to the system’s settings & preferences are nullified. As far as the user’s files and data stored on the computer are concerned, the user will be prompted to either to keep them or remove them while resetting the computer

  1. Navigate to the recovery environment as we did in the earlier solutions and wait until Windows starts diagnosing your PC.
  2. When the “Startup Repair” screen appears and says it could not repair your PC then Click Advanced options.
    Startup Repair
  3. Click Troubleshoot in the Windows Recovery Environment.
    Click on Troubleshoot
  4. On the Troubleshoot screen, click Reset this PC.
    Reset This PC
  5. Choose whether you want to keep or delete your files and apps.
  6. Click “Reset” to proceed

Solution 16: Clean Installation of Windows

If still, nothing has helped you so far then it is time to move to the last resort, which is the re-installation of Windows itself. The clean installation refers to the process where you completely reset the computer by removing all the files and applications from it and installing Windows files from scratch. You can check more detailed steps in our article on How to install Windows 10.

Hopefully, your HAL Initialization Failed in Windows 10 BSOD error is solved and you can use your system without any interruption.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED BSOD

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Reimage Plus which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Reimage by clicking the Download button below.

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