When you start your computer, the motherboard searches connected drives for the operating system. The search order is usually the optical (CD/DVD) drive first, possibly a USB drive next, then the hard drive. If none of these work, some systems are set to try booting the operating system over a network cable. What the cryptic message you're getting is telling you is that the system tried a network boot without success, and that maybe the trouble is a bad cable.
This all means that your hard drive isn't being detected, or that there's no longer an operating system on it. It's possible the connector from the hard drive to the motherboard has come loose, which can sometimes happen since laptops get moved around. The hard drive may have gone bad, or there may be a problem with the motherboard that is causing it not to find the hard drive. Or the hardware may all be fine, but something (a virus or other malware, for instance) has deleted files needed to load Windows.
When the computer first starts, you'll see a message about how to enter BIOS setup. The BIOS is the motherboard's built-in program, and through the setup pages you can see what devices it detects. This will let you know if the hard drive is being found. Some boards include diagnostic tests you can run on the hard drive if problems are found. You can also check the boot order; you may find that for some reason the boot order has been changed so that the network boot is being tried first. Strange things can happen to BIOS settings, often a sign that the backup battery for the memory where the settings are stored is getting weak.
If you have access to a Windows XP operating system CD, you can set the BIOS to boot from the CD drive and try using the Recovery Console feature. Information about this can be found at Microsoft's site
Good luck getting your laptop back up and running quickly. Thanks for using Fixya!