dude, that doesnt sound so good
I also had the VERY SAME problems when trying a couple of disro' that ued GRUB as the boot loader.
I also have a DELL laptop (700m) with WIndows XP Home
After Installing Ubuntu it installed GRUB and stuffed the Master Boot Record as well - same error! I recomment Slackware 10.1 for a perfect install w.windows XP
Okay so. I assume that you let the installer create 2 new partitions for linux? One for the OS and another for the scratch space..
I am sure there are tools around to fix the master boot record of your hard drive if there is a problem but i know for a fact that the below will work as i have done it myself with the same error.
Install Slackware 10.1 on your pc.
The install program is quite nice and easy to use (plus slackware ROX)
At some point it will ask where you want to create the Main linux partition and also the scratch.
It will show you the current ones (like /hda2 , /hda6) etc..
Ensure you pick the same partitions as from your previous install (IE write over the top of the old linux you installed) if you see it say antthing about NTFS DO NOT do it... go BACK and try another partition. Otherwise you will write over windows...
A give away should be the size of the partitions.. if you know your windows partition is say 40GB, then dont go near anything that looks like 40GB.. look for smaller ones.
It will most likely reformat the desired partition so as to remove traces of the old distro
At the final point it will ask if you want to install LILO as the boot manager. Say YES.
It will give you options as to where to put it. it gives 3 options.
PICK "MBR" or Master Boot Record"
It will say it is the most dangerous - as it writes to the very start of your hard drive... I found however that LILO will see the windows install that you have...
I have used this a number of times now , each time after using GRUB.
good luck - im sure someone has better suggestion .. but thought id let you knopw..