QUOTE (kas @ 3-4-12, 12:42pm)
I did the download and while it took probably >2 hours to install, it ran without any problems. Given only OpenOffice was carried over from XP, I decided to uninstall. During the process, my PC locked up and now the HD drive stop at a 'screwed up' boot message. I called HP (SR1710NX) to buy a recovery disc, told that was a no-go, and had some female in India offer me a deal on another Comapq PC. Told her I would gladly spend my money with Dell and other non PC things. Luckily, I had a spare HD from another SR1710NX, which MB had developed a problem.
From a functional ISO, it only took about 10-15 minutes for me to have it up and running (I never tried the 64-bit version again, as the 32-bit install answered all of my questions). The nice thing about installing it in a virtual machine was that once I decided it wasn't my cup of tea (and, it most definitely isn't - unless there are major changes in the classic desktop UI, I for one will never even consider a Windows 8 upgrade for any of my desktops or laptops), getting rid of it was as simple as deleting the VM. Overall, I think it will be a very successful (though not exactly pretty) interface for tablets and phones. However the classic interface in Windows 8, as it currently stands, is just too disruptive to my workflows and habits to ever be worth bothering with. My desktops and laptops aren't tablets or smartphones, and the classic interface included with Win8 still tries to treat them at least partly like they are.
kas, it sounds like you need to create a set of restore CDs from that spare hard drive, then use them to restore the mucked up hard drive to keep as a spare. Most of the big manufacturers aren't selling replacement media for XP machines any more, as you found out. You can easily convert an XP retail install CD to accept OEM keys, though, if you have access to the equivalent level retail CD (ie. Home, Professional, etc) for the OEM key.