That "technician" is completely inept and has no business anywhere near a server.
This is where the pain began. Microsoft has a policy where the vendors can't ship you a Windows CD so instead they have to send you a series of restore CDs.
Not true at all. HP, as many other prebuilt system manufacturers, have opted to supply specialized restore CDs or restore partitions with their systems. Microsoft doesn't regulate that. I can build a system for a person with an OEM CD, attach the product key, give the customer the original CD and send him on his merry way. It's the exact same license as HP uses.
If you have a copy of XP to use, guess what? The key that comes with the HP box is restricted to the version of Windows on the restore CD. Vanilla XP will not work, nor will any of the copies I have lying around. Your choice, use only HP hardware or buy a copy of XP. A big FU to MS and HP for this little ray of sunshine.
Completely false. This genius tried to use a retail XP CD with an OEM license key, and of course that's not going to work. But you can restore any HP, Compaq, or any other brand of computer that has an OEM license key attached with any XP vanilla OEM restore disk. As said before, it's the same license. I've done it hundreds of times when my customers have lost their specialized restore CDs and need XP reinstalled.
Biting back my fervent desire to throw this mess out of a window, get a gun, and go to Redmond, I put in the original HD and booted into it to see if there were any interesting tools to help my plight. I tried to install the drivers and noticed the second problem, the #($&#ing Promise CD doesn't have drivers on it! No, I am not kidding, they ship the card with a CD, but that CD has no drivers on it! Honestly.
If you click the install drivers option, it prompts you to put a disk in the (nonexistent) A: drive to make a driver disk. There is no option to unpack, no option to put it in any other location, you are just screwed. Manually browsing the CD comes up with the same programs the moronic installer offers you. A: drive or the highway. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not shipping a driver with hardware, Promise really screwed this up.
And how was he planning to install XP with these drivers without a floppy drive? If you hit F6 during an XP setup, it won't load from any location other than A:
I'm not a big fan of Microsoft's way of making things difficult for consumers, particularly with the mess it seems we're in for with Vista's DRM, but don't blame "M$" for your utter incompetence.