Originally Posted by RiverRat
It's doesn't matter wear you get the disc, as long as it's a clean copy (and you have your CoA and Serial # Sticker). MS Partners, Technet and/or MSDN subscribers have access to official ISO images from MS. These be used for those instances a client does not have their CD but has a valid serial.
Did you have SP2 on the system already, or did you have to get it from Windows Update?
I ask because keys for systems that don't have SP2 won't work with newer ISO's that have SP2... Technet and MSDN still have 2 separate downloads for the original XP and XP w/SP2 because of this.
it completely matters what disc you have vs. your product key.
oem is different from retail is different from msdn/technet is different from volume licensing is different from multilanguage is different from eu crippled is different from emerging world etc... the license keys are all keyed to work only within their specific distribution. sp1 or 2 or no sp etc... makes no difference as to the key. the only issue is inplace upgrades (repair installs) on existing xp installations with a higher service pack already installed (cannot downgrade when doing inplace upgrades can only stay at same level or move up). sp3 is the exception, it will allow any previous version of xp to be put on over it but will depending on which updates applied cause issues.
does your coa (certificate of authenticity) have a line above the actual product key that has xxxxx-oem-xxxxxxxxxxxx in it? if so hunt for a clean xp oem disc. if not and it has vl on it then the volume license disc. mul is multi-language version. eu is eu crippled version with missing ie. and the emerging world disc is non-transferable and licensed weird so you legally cannot use another downloaded disc with your key. msdn and technet discs are not legal for you to posses anyway unless you currently have an msdn or technet subscription registered in your name or you are a tester for the individual who does have one and the machines are actually admisitered by them in a pre-roll out test environment (technet), or are running software or drivers they are developing (msdn).
if you prefer to get the actual media with no virus worries then microsoft will replace media for a small fee. the department to call is fulfillment. your region will have a number to call for it and they will provide you with a replacement disc for a small fee. you will need your product key when you call so have it handy. also the web link provided above is for north america and if you aren't in the us or canada you can still call them and they can transfer you or give you the proper number for your region.
and yes i used to work for microsoft