Help with NTLDR missing


hi folks need help my girlfriend has a Dell inspiron with vista and now turns on the laptop & it says "NTLDR missing press any key to restart" what does this mean & how can i fix it for her without her losing all her stuff? i tried running the diagnostics thingy on the laptop but with no success

she still has all the discs that came with the laptop can i use any of these to fix the problem? not too clued up on the whole technical speak so help in simple terms would be great if anyone has any

Hi loudon, welcome to NST
NTLDR is the XP boot manager/loader, nothing to do with Vista at all.
If you're getting that message, it indicates that you're booting from a HDD with an XP MBR, i.e. Not the Vista HDD.
Do you have a 2nd HDD on this system ? If so it looks like the Vista HDD is not being detected, and the boot is attempting to use another HDD which had XP on it once upon a time.
First thing to try is power off the PC and disconnect/reconnect all the HDD leads to clean the contacts, check in the BIOS that the Vista HDD is first in the boot sequence, then try booting again.
Hi there thanks

no the laptop was purchased brand new and came with vista home premium pre-installed and never had xp on not aware of a 2nd HDD to my knowledge....i have been contemplating trying to re-install vista with the Dell discs that were provided but worried about losing her things and getting my backside toed! but i will try what you said and leave another post if its successful
The fact that you're here means that you're aware of EasyBCD. Has anybody used it on the laptop ?
If so did they "uninstall Vista bootloader" ?
That's a facility provided to revert to the XP bootloader for someone who's tried Vista in a dual-boot with XP and decided to abandon it and go back to XP alone.
It would have the effect you describe if someone were to use it unwisely on a system where Vista was still wanted.
i am aware of that program (tho only today because ive been trying to find a solution for it) but she hasnt used any program like that that im aware of, she was always funny about adding new stuff or downloading things that i hadnt already used n would usually ask me beforehand whether it was ok n what to do when installing it.....
If you have a read of this, you'll see how the boot process works, and you can see that to get an XP boot error message on a Vista PC, implies corruption of the MBR IPL and/or the PBR.
If you haven't been doing anything, there's another possibility that a malware infection has corrupted your boot sector.