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How to fix a system configuration error

Troubleshooting problems when dual-booting

QUESTION I've been trying to dual-boot my Windows 7 PC using Acronis Disk Director 11. When I rebooted the PC as prompted, I got an error message reporting a missing ‘hal.dll'. Now, when I try to reboot the PC, it tries to install XP and says a system configuration error has occurred. Nick

HELPROOM ANSWER It's likely that the XP boot loader has overridden the Windows 7 boot loader. Since the XP loader can't recognise Windows 7, it has effectively made it vanish. The PC manufacturer should have placed a recovery partition on your hard drive (although it's possible your partitioning tool has removed it).

If a recovery partition is present, you may be able to boot to it from a boot disc and start the recovery software from there.

Once you've unravelled the boot-loading issue, you might want to opt for free virtualisation package VirtualBox instead (virtualbox.org). This runs in the same way as Windows XP Mode, but also lets you run Linux and other operating systems easily.

See also: How to fix everything: the ultimate guide to fixing technology

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