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Message 'Error loading operating system' after installing Windows XP


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I bought a computer from FRY's - brand "Great Quality" that came preinstalled came with Linspire (Linux). I used this Linux for a few days and now tried to install Windows XP Professional from a bootable CD.
The Windows Installer deletes the Linux partitions, I create a big NTFS partition, Windows files are copied and everything seems to go fine until the system is booted.
Then I get the message "Error loading operating system" and it only offers to boot from the installation CDROM again.
I tried a different version of Windows XP (another CDROM) and the error message was effectively the same ("Missing operating system")

Any suggestions for a successful installation?


Probably the Linux boot loader (either LILO = Linux Loader or Grub = GRand Unified Bootloader) has not completely released the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the disk drive.
There are tools for download (see the links below) that will completely wipe out the MBR by writing zeros to this section of your disk drive. Alternatively you can also use FDISK /MBR

You need to boot the computer from another media that lets you start such a tool. If your computer has a floppy disk drive, try to create a DOS boot disk. An ancient DOS 6.22 did the trick for me once in this situation.

After deleting the MBR completely try to install again, it should work then.

Links to wipe out the MBR: (3kB)

You could also download the Ultimate Boot CD from here (it is completely free):

This CD has many useful, typically floppy-based diagnostic and disk repair tools on one CDROM.