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From the sound of it, it appears the boot sector in your system has been damaged, or the boot loader files have been removed. You are correct for checking the removable drivers first, as if you leave a floppy disk in the system that has been formatted by NT/2K, you will get this error if you try to boot it by mistake. Repairing a problem like this isn't too difficult -- boot the CD and run the Repair option, and the boot sector files should be fixed automatically.
Dig Deeper on Windows Operating System Management
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