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Install Clean XP

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I've made up a lot of CDs, or seen OEM ones that have been around awhile, fail to boot. Something must get corrupted in their boot area, so you can try all day long, and you get nothing. It's one of the things I miss about floppies vs bootable CDs or USB drives. Floppies almost NEVER failed.

Anyhoo, I made this recommendation on another tech support board, and a few Microsoft-heads went NUTS. My recommendation was to look out for viruses and download an XP Pro installation CD from a torrent site or similar. Heck, even a 'Pirated' one will do the job. This was why people went ballistic. "You're stealing!" they shouted, "You can't do that!" My thinking on this is that you have the license key code for XP Pro (don't you?). THAT is what you own, and it's subsequent installation onto your hardware. So long as you satisfy the requirements of that particular license (no porting an OEM installation to a new or completely revamped PC, although I've seen MS turn the other way on this one a few times), and your installation media matches the version and feature set of your license key code, you are completely within your rights. That'll give you your bootable CD.

Heck, even just use that CD to get the system booted, then sub in your XP Pro CD, and it should complete the installation just fine unless it's more damaged than you think.