Thanks for the rapid reply.
Yes, I followed all the steps - got rid of bootmgr from the root of e:, then ran repair from proper win 7 disk (system is home premium 64), rebooted and got the exact same message. Very annoying, since this has apparently worked for others.
Here may be a clue. Getting rid of bootmgr was not easy. It gave me an "access denied" msg even when trying to change the attributes, so I had to boot from a linux CD to get at that file. This is a Dell machine, and perhaps has a special version of Win 7. I am trying to avoid wiping the disk and reinstalling Win 7, but that is what I will have to do unless you can give me something else to try. By the way, I have also tried the bootcfg command to no avail.
Do you think the file winload.exe is actually bad? Could it simply be replaced with a copy from another Windows 7 home prem 64 installation? Would it be worth trying?