A common error on Windows Vista and Windows 7. In Windows 8 this error is very rare. The main cause for this error is that the system is missing the right c++ runtimes from Microsoft. By installing these the message ” The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect” should no longer appear.
This error can occur on Windows 8(.1) if you try to run an older application which requires previous DirectX versions to run. In this case, you will have to install the DirectX End-User Runtime. By default the latest version of DirectX is already included in Windows 8.1.