Error Loading operating system

Im getting an error loading operating system. I dont have any discs for it or anything i want on it. Its an older compaq with windows xp or vista. I just want it to get running. Thanks
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More about error loading operating system
  1. Does the hdd show in the bios? When booting press F2 or DEL.
  2. Would you describe the error more detailed ?
    A good start is to try and repair the bootloader but you have to know what OS your running, since Windows XP and Windows Vista use different bootloader
  3. When i press F2 or DEL it does nothing. The operating system that was on it was xp. The error comes up right after it says press F1 for setup, if that helps. How do i get a bootloader? i hav no clue what i am doing so if you could stupidify anything that would be great
  4. doesn't look good. You should be able to enter the setup/bios.
    Press F1 to enter the setup and look if your Bios shows your hard disk. Checks your boot priority and move your hard disk on top.

    You could also download knoppix a free linux live boot cd. You can boot out of your disk (no installation required) and after booting up, see if you can access your hard disk.

    These are just ideas, but iam afraid a Windows reinstallation might be necessary or at least an Repair installaton, both requires the Windows Xp CD
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