I must have taken a long time to type this, as Allan posted while I was working on the reply.
But, as you say, XP generally cannot utilize a SATA drive without having the correct SATA drivers for the SATA interface installed. That could be why it will not boot, and it's not feasible to inject a SATA drive into an installation as far as I'm aware. Not only that, but as Allan has mentioned, you also generally cannot transfer a Windows installation onto a different system, as Windows is set up for the hardware in the old system. Occasionally a different system is similar enough that Windows will boot and has the correct HAL, and driver updates will make it functional, but I don't think we could expect that from a laptop installation. In fact, with some systems, especially laptops, the OS is hardware keyed to the computer and looks for a BIOS signature in order to operate. Such a tattoo prevents transfer entirely.
The other consideration is that if the original Windows XP is an OEM version, the installation is only licensed for that computer. If it is a full retail Windows and the laptop has been decommissioned, it can be re-installed onto another computer and re-activated. But if it is OEM, you may not be able to use that license key to activate the installation automatically (activation will be required with it installed on a different system) and you would need to convince Microsoft it is a repair (ie replacement of a faulty motherboard), which in this case would not be true.
Edited by Platypus, 02 May 2011 - 06:12 PM.