I have a Toshiba Portege that had Windows 7 on it, the laptop was very slow due to the fact that all of it's drivers were for vista and not 7 (no drivers for Windows 7), so I've decided to install XP on it, the laptop doesn't have an internal CD/DVD drive, and doesn't boot via USB, I've grabbed my external HDD and copied the xp installation files from my desktop (which is running Windows 7), then I ran the installation file (setup.exe) from my Portege's internal disk, after the laptop rebooted, I got the error message (Error reading Operating system - press Ctrl+Alt+Delete).
So I removed the Portege's hard disk, grabbed my other laptop (HP compaq Nc8620 I think) and put the Portege's HDD in it, I installed XP, everything went smooth alright, XP ran and all, I removed the HDD and put it back in the Portege....
Didn't work!, it now says NTLDR is missing!.
ReRemoved the HDD and put it back into the HP laptop, it works!, back in portege it doesn't!, NTLDR is missing!.
I went into the Portege M200 Bios, Changed the HDD from Enhanced IDE to Standard IDE, the error became:
Disk read error - press Ctrl+Alt+delete.
Back to Enhanced IDE and HP laptop, Installed XP recovery console, didn't work (NTLDR is missing), On Standard IDE it gave (Disk read error).
I really need help on this, I have a toshiba external HDD but not an external CD/DVD that works with it.
Ok, the technician said that it wasn't the IDE Cable, he said that the BIOS is VERY old, in the past, the laptop had Windows 7 working on it, but no drivers are compatible for the m200, vista ones give 25% of their capabilities and the GPU didn't work well, am going to try installing Vista, more details later.
The installation you made on the HP left the MBR on that machine so expecting the system to work in another machine was a feint hope, I'm afraid. You could try parachuting ntldr and ntdetect in through a flash drive, copied from another system but I think you need to overcome the installation problems and start again.
Using a proper XP CD on a borrowed or cheaply acquired external will help, of course but if the BIOS really is sooo old that it can't support Legacy USB, the machine has had its day.