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HP Notebook PCs - "Missing Operating System" Error Message Appears On Black Screen

HP recommends the following resolutions for "Missing Operating System" or "Operating System Not Found" error messages that may occur before Windows XP or Windows 2000 is started.

Missing Operating System

This error message may appear for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The notebook BIOS does not detect the hard drive.

  • The hard drive is physically damaged.

  • The Windows Master Boot Record (MBR) located on the hard drive is corrupted.

  • The partition or section of the hard drive containing the Windows MBR is no longer active.

Use one of the following steps to resolve the error:

Step 1: Test the Hard Drive

Use the steps below to test the hard drive in a Notebook PC using the HP Hard Drive Self Test.
  1. Plug the AC Adapter into the Notebook PC.

  2. Press and hold the Power button for 5 Seconds to turn off the PC.

  3. Press and hold the F10 key while you press the Power button to turn on the PC. Release the F10 key after text is displayed on the screen of the PC.

  4. After the BIOS Setup Utility is displayed, use the Right Arrow key to select the Tools menu.

  5. Select Hard Drive Self Test

  6. Press the Enter key to start the test.

The Hard Drive Self Test will provide an Estimated test time. A Quick test, a Comprehensive test, and a SMART test will execute when the Enter key is pressed.

If any test fails, contact HP service and support for instructions on how to order a replacement hard drive.

If all of the tests pass, the hard drive is not damaged. As a rule, HP will not replace a hard drive under warranty that does not fail the HP Hard Drive Self Test.

NOTE: Many PC problems are related to soft failures on the hard drive. The comprehensive portion of the HP Hard Drive Self Test will repair soft errors on the hard drive, but it will not report the errors. After the test is complete, be sure to restart the PC to see if test repaired the problem you may be experiencing with your PC.

If all the tests pass, press the power button to restart the PC. If the error still occurs proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Repair the Master Boot Record

The Master Boot Record (MBR) is a section of the hard drive that is used by the PC to start the Windows operating system. If the MBR is corrupt, the PC will not start. The Windows Operating System Disc (OSD) provided with your HP notebook PC can be used to repair the Master Boot Record (MBR). Follow the steps below carefully to repair the MBR.

  1. Insert the Windows Operating System Disc into the optical (CD or DVD) drive.

  2. Press and hold the Power button for 5 Seconds to turn off the PC. Then press the Powerbutton again to turn on the PC.

  3. Press the Enter key when prompted to Boot from CD.

  4. From the Windows Setup Menu, press the R key to start the Recovery Console.

  5. At the C:\> prompt type FIXMBR then press the Enter key to continue.

  6. Press the y key then press Enter when asked if you want to write a new MBR.

  7. Once the MBR is successfully written, restart the notebook PC by pressing the Power button.

NOTE: For more advanced information about using the Windows Recovery Console see Microsoft: Learn more about the Windows Recovery Console  Non-HP site (in English).

Step 3: Reinstall the Windows Operating System

To reinstall the Windows XP Operating System on an HP Notebook follow the instructions in the document HP Notebook PCs - Repairing or Reinstalling Windows XP .

Step 4: Contact HP service and support

If steps 1, 2, or 3 do not resolve the error, please contact HP service and support for further assistance.

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