In the BIOS configuration, you have to change from AHCI to compatibility mode. However I don't suggest you do this right away. Lets look at your current situation. Do you have personal data stored on the hard drive? Do you have it backed up? Are you willing to lose all that data?
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Thanks for your reply, in the end I played around a bit and reinstalled the factory settings. I didn't really lose anything becasue, strangely enough I copied everything important to an external drive just before things went bad.
neverthelss, the computers back on track now - thanks very much for your willingness to help