The Dell XP CDs are well, licensed for use on Dell machines. Might work but imagine the legal issue you expose yourself to. Maybe it's best to find the restore media for this machine or better yet, since it appears to be a gift (I can't tell) why pour more cash into this?
I suggest you forget XP since after the OS you have some 10 drivers to install on average.
Go get Ubuntu, install that and show them the internet and such working (for free.)
my laptop originally came with a good copy of Windows XP (a 2005 compaq). eventually due to newbie ownership, it crashed at several points. I took it to a friend (now moved away) who had a small business selling and repairing laptops. Well now he is gone, I've discovered that the last one he installed was counterfeit (grr). As I'm fixing it up for a friend, I've been looking to buy a new Windows XP operating system for it. I've found a couple of good deals, online. I am wondering if I'll need an actual full new installation program or just a recovery/reinstallation disc? and is the latter Dell compatible with Compaq?