This item is from the Yet Another Enhanced IDE/Fast-ATA/ATA-2 FAQ, by John Wehman and Peter den Haan with numerous contributions by others. (v1.92).
This should get a prize for the PC compatible's most obscure error message. It usually means you haven't made the primary partition bootable or, in Microsoft-speak, 'Active'. Use FDISK to fix this. Don't fret, you won't have to repartition or reformat anything unless you have no primary partition at all.
The earliest true-blue PCs had a BASIC interpreter built in, just like many other home computers those days. Even today, the Master Boot Record (MBR) code on your harddisk jumps to the BASIC ROM if it doesn't find any active partitions. Needless to say, there's no such thing as a BASIC ROM in today's compatibles, and this action ends in the above error message.