Unfortunately, old computers don't have the ability to correctly boot from anything other than a floppy drive or a CD/DVD drive. If the computer is actually going to be "used", then a CD drive is going to be wanted anyway. The USB enclosure probably won't work because the computer won't boot from USB. XP must recognize the hardware on the computer and it must do so during the install so it can activate correctly. As such, we replace the CD drive.. Even borrowing someone's CD drive might get the job done.
Hope this helps.
Long story short, I've got an old Notebook (Vaio PCG-955C) which currently has Windows Me installed on it. The CD drive doesn't work and although it does (just) have USB support it can't boot up from USB drives.
I've got a 2.5" IDE drive enclosure and a spare 2.5" IDE drive.
I think in theory I should be able to divide one of those drives into two partitions, the first of which should include the Windows XP setup files and the second of which Windows XP can be installed onto.
I haven't got very far, though (I thought I had the right files on the right format partition, but it wasn't bootable). Any hints / suggestions / useful links?