Something deleted ntldr.com off my C:\ drive, so I'm basically stuck right after the BIOS boots. Only way I can fix this it seems is by reinstalling the OS. So, is there any way I can do this WITHOUT wiping my HDD? There are about 4GB worth of irreplaceable pictures that are stuck on the drive. I don't have the recovery disk, either (which I think wipes it anyway)
Before you do anything else, remove the drive, mount it in a 2.5" USB 2.0 shell ($20 or less, try newegg.com) and attach it to a working system. Make a backup of your files to that system's hard drive.
You can do an install over (you'll have to call Dell for the disc), which if done correctly won't overwrite your data - but it's just a matter of time before you WILL lose it to drive failure - back it up NOW.
If anything, I just want to get the laptop running again. Once I get it back, I can use my 30GB MP3 player like a giant flash drive to move the files across to the main computer.