My computer has been displaying the error "Bootmgr is missing press ctrl-alt-del to restart, but this just loops and goes nowhere. I have no idea where the original disks are that came with the computer so I ordered a copy of Windows Vista Home Basic to repair the bootmgr on my computer. I hit F12 once it powers on. Select my language and currency, then hit repair my computer. The system recovery options screen is blank, and it says that I can browse for drivers but I dont know how to map it correctly, it seems all the files are empty. When I click next (no OS selected) The 1st option "System repair"...or something like that says that the issues with my computer cannot be fixed automatically...and that 0 installations of windows can be found on my computer. ive tried rebuilding in the command prompt but that does not work either...Im guessing it has to do with there being no OS in that menu. PLEASE HELP!!! ITS BEEN MONTHS!!! I went to the geek squad and they told me it will cost $200 for them to transfer the harddrive to another computer, reinstall windows on mine, and then transfer my files back. WITH NO GUARANTEE that there are even files to transfer on my computer, so they are basically charging $200 to install a windows cd that I already went out and paid for.
It sounds like your hard drive is toast. If you want to be absolutely certain, download and burn Dell Diagnostics to a CD and boot off the CD.
Otherwise, buy a new hard drive and install Windows Vista Home Basic to it. Be sure to download drivers for your laptop beforehand and save the drivers to a USB stick. You will also need to read http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/kcs/document?c=us&l=en&s=gen&docid=DSN_1A...
As for trying to recover data files from your old hard drive, buy http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812156102