Fortune writes in with a hardware question.
Question:The computer displays disk boot failure insert system disk what should i do?
Answer: A disk boot failure can mean a couple of different things. It could be hardware or software related. I would first make sure your computer can see the drive. It should display the drive listing when you start up the computer on the POST screen. If you can't see it that way I would check the BIOS to see if it's recognized.
If it doesn't show up in the BIOS make sure your IDE and power cables are attached correctly and functioning. See if you can hear the hard drive power up when you turn on the computer. If you can you may want to try a different IDE cable or IDE port. Just make sure to adjust your jumpers appropriately. You may also have a bad hard drive. You can put the drive in another computer as a secondary drive to see if you can recover your data.
If the hard drive is being recognized by the computer then it may be software related. You may have a damaged boot sector. You can boot with the Windows XP CD and run the Recovery Console to see if you can fix the problem. Here is a question from another reader who had a similar question. Even though she has Windows 2000 the process is the same.
Another thing you can try is a repair installation of Windows. This will reinstall Windows and leave your files and programs intact. There is not a guarantee that it will go smoothly so its best to backup if you can.