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 ( This runs in the same way as Windows XP Mode, but also lets you run Linux and other operating systems easily.

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