Do you know if you have XP drivers for the laptop if you do get XP installed? Might be a pointless exercise otherwise.
My guess is that if you have an old retail disc of XP and a newer laptop, you first need to slipstream the XP disc to SP3 so it will recognize some of the newer types of hardware that has come along since the time of the version of XP you're trying to install. PCIexpress for one and I'm sure there are others; probably can switch hard drive controller to IDE compatible in the BIOS hopefully or else you'll need specific XP drivers for the SATA controller before you can install to the hard drive.
If its a really late model laptop your chances for success are almost infinitely better for getting Win7 installed.
Since you can get drivers, you can try slipstream updating the XP disc to SP3 and see if you can either get the SATA drivers picked out of the driver set and slipstream them in as well, or be able to use IDE compatibility in the BIOS and give it another shot. nLite is the place to go for slipstreaming info/program.
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