Dell desktop with XP boot issue

A friend's computer is having trouble booting. I get to a page that tells me Primary drive 1 not found. I only have the to option to F1 - resume or F2 - boot setup. Resume results in an error for the partition.

I checked the boot sequence and the hard drive is last. Would this affect it?

Is Hirens the best for this? Should I wipe the OS and reinstall XP?
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  1. Could be a bad hard drive, a missing master boot record (MBR) on the disk, or non-connected drive.

    Boot into the BIOS and ensure the drive is recognized by the computer. If not, it's probably bad (you can test it by connecting it to another computer and seeing if it is recognized by it). Check all cables to ensure they're properly connected.

    If the drive is recognized by the computer, it could be a bad MBR or other software error. If the drive appears ok I would reformat it and reinstall XP. I'd probably run disk tests (SMART test or tests from Hiren's) first to ensure the drive is still good.
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