Okay, I'm selling my HP DV2517EA so I thought I'd use killdisk to erase the C: partition, whilst leaving the D: HP recovery partition untouched. At the end there was the D: and the rest was unallocated space. Then I used swissknife you re-create the main boot drive, however, I noticed D: was now the primary drive. I think this is where the problem lies. I used the Vista storage management to set the main drive to Active. Usually to activate the recovery program I'd press F11 upon boot. However, when I do this it is unresponsive, and excessive pressing gives the annoying beep. So I've tried 3 different, separate XP discs that I have. Only one of them works - this is a custom one my friend gave me, which is XP student SP3 and purposefully has SATA and various different drivers. So it installs windows and finally reboots, but after a second or two into the Windows XP loading screen (where the bar goes left to right) a blue screen quickly flashes, and it resets.
I didn't make a backup cd for the recovery partition. The problem is I've advertised the laptop as "comes with xp recovery on a partition". I can format the whole drive and I should be able to install XP, but the HP drivers are not included (though you could easily download them) and there's no way the buyer can reinstall to factory condition..