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Windows 7 won't boot

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I am running Windows 7 on a Dell 1545 Inspiron laptop. Yesterday I downloaded software from Virgin Media to enable me to backup photos. Was in the middle of backup when there was a power failure and, as there wasn't much life on laptop battery, it shut down before I realised. When I try to reboot I get a message saying " Windows failed to start. A recent hardware/software change might be the cause. Insert Windows Installation disk and click repair computer.
File: \Boot\BCD
Status: 0xc000000d
Info: The Windows Boot Configuration Data file is missing required information."

I haven't found the disk yet but am worried that following the instructions above will effectively reinstall Windows and I will lose valuable files on the hard drive.

I have tried tapping F8 on startup but can't get into safe mode to back up my files.

If I don't find the disk is there an alternative solution?

Any help appreciated. I am a 60 year old retiree and whilst not a complete novice I would appreciate it if you could reply in laymans terms!

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Hi GrahamH
It is not always F8 to get into the BIOS, try tapping F2 when you next power up, on some computers you can also temporarily boot from the CD/DVD drive by pressing F12, tapping the Del key is also used to enter the BIOS on some computers.
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