ok -- still trying to ascertain why you need 'floppy emulation' - but allow me to make a few points;
* any legitimate version of XP will boot from CD
* usually the way a PC boots to CD is to change the Boot Order Priority in the BIOS (F1, F2, F10, or Del key, etc to enter BIOS setup).
HP's are r-e-a-l proprietary in the way they have their stuff setup (HP/Compaq) and perhaps I'm missing some proprietary type "lock' or OEM setup , that blocks certain normal routines from running, or even being accessed. I just don't know all there is to know about all diff OEMs.
I know some IBMs laptops even have HDD password locks (not a BIOS password, which can be defeated) and if this HDD passw. is lost ...nobody can access the system, through the usual haxor bypassing means. Only IBM can unlock it (done as a laptop theft protection feature they say)
Is this a "Newer" HP laptop ?
Also - OEMs use a "restore partition" many times to place the OS Boot files on, and a System Image file (ISO) and even the actual BIOS code may reside 'on the HDD' - all this, in a hidden partition/s on the HDD
They issue you (or require you to actually make your own from an ISO file) - a "Restore CD" -- this CD contains special OEM code that checks whether or not the PC/laptop is actually it's Brand (OEM). Dell does this too. I think they ALL do it.
ok -- there's more - but I thought I'd start guessing, and just throwing out random info about OEMs , b/c I still don't understand why it needs any 'floppy emulation'.
Have you wiped the Partitions already ? (Is the HDD Clean now ?)
Here's an example of some "floppy emulation"
note ; this is meant only as an example - to be able to flash the BIOS from a CD (for PC/Laptop without a floppy access or drive) - rather than having to use a floppy disk.
Also - some BIOSes may be set to "Enable legacy USB support" - so atleast any usb Keys and usb Mice will work already before the OS loads.
Can you post atleast the Model of the HP laptop and relative Year of Manu ??
this will help cutting down on a lotof speculation