Generally On Dells the drivers are NOT on the OS re-install disc, they tend to use a "Generic" reinstall disc, with a seperate "driver & resource" disc that is far more specific to the computer model...
And while for proper legal useage you should use the same edition of the software to reinstall as was originally installed, it shpuld be noted that generally speaking with DELL XP (32bit) RE-installers the disc, the computer or Microsoft don't seem to care about the subtle differences between "Home" and "Pro".
I've got both "Home" and "Pro" XP reinstall discs and have inadvertantly (not intentionally) used the wrong disc more times than I can count and the neither the computer (or Microsoft) squaks about it, but this is ONLY on Dells (and likely because Dells "activate" automatically)
Again not intentionally but it does work. Dell's and Microsoft have a unique licensing arraingment
that benefited their customers.
But Dell was MS's biggest single customer (likely still is) so they were able to forge a better deal for themselves and their own customers.
IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS remember the following:
Virtually all computers were sold with a license for the OS software. Accorting to Microsoft chapter and verse (Official policy) the OS licence goes with the Motherboard, Not the CPU or Hard Drive, the MOTHERBOARD. And so if you are REinstalling the OS after a "repair" (typically HDD replacement) they MUST (by their own publicly stated policy) reactivate your OS install.
Even microsoft is less than convinced that they can get you to pay for the OS more than once... but that will not stop them from trying. their call centers WILL eventually let you through to a tech support guy who will "activate" your install, (And they don't charge you $49.95 for the phone call either) their minimum wage call center people (who are reading from a script) are mainly there to discourage the less patient (to make them hang up) or fleece the gullible (by getting them to pony up their CC number and an authorization for $79-$99....
But I can tell you that if you stubbornly wait long enough they WILL actiuvate your XP OS
if only to make you go away. I've done it dozens of times and though they try to tell you atleast a dozen times you have to pay in the end you don't
(at the risk of pointless repetetion: the licence for the OS goes with the MOTHERBOARD.)
On occasion when I get bored with pulling the wings off of flies I will call them just to make them give up and activation (though I don't NEED to because I have a LEGALLY obtained self-activating corporate licenced XP-sp3 installer I can use)
It amuses me that they try so hard to get people to pay for something that they WILLgive
you if you simply dig in your heels and stay on the phone long enough to get past the first layer of call center people
I can tell you absolutely a Vista disc WILL NOT WORK as a "Backdoor upgrade" on an XP machine, you cannot "cheat" so don't even wast time trying.
Dell Win7 discs ALWAYS ask for a CoA regardless of the machine it's being installed on
I strongly recommend using the latest SP disc available of whatever "flavor" edition (Home/pro) because it'll typically save you about 90min to 2hrs (minimum) just on the upgrade from SP2 to SP3.
The basic OS install is 40min unless you have the OS installed format your HDD and the time that takes varies on the size of the drive OR partition you are having it create.
Personally I think anything larger than about 40gb for an XP install is a waste (and making it this large avoids issue while defragging)
50-ish is generally adequate for a Vista or Win7 install inless you are also installing a sh!tpot of bulky game programs
what I always do with Dells is use the "Service code" number at Dell.com and download the updated drivers for the Video and NIC to a thumb drive
install those on the computer then use the computer itself to download & Install the proper drivers for that specific computer.
I actually keep the NIC and Video drivers for all the different models in my Area of responsibility on a thumb drive that is attached to my key ring.
Also on a reinstall DO NOT let windows update run until you have manually installed IE8 and WMP11
Even if you have no intention at all of using WMP or IE8
MS considers both of them to be "Critical updates" This however is not the problem the problem is the HOUR that will be WASTED downloading and installing updates and security patches to IE7 and WMP10 Before it get to installing IE8 and WMP11
BTW even if YOU won't use IE8 Windows updates DOES, so you've gotta have it.
So I typically downoad IE8 and WMP11 manually from CNET.com.
And THEN manually trigger Windows updates and let it do it's thing...
BTW Installing WMP11 serves another purpose, a "Validation" of your OS install is an automatic part of the process and if your OS validates
during WMP11 it means that MS has essentially declared your OS install as "Kosher/Halal" so to speak...
OTHER make computers vary from this slightly in particulars but once you get used to doing RE-installs you quickly figuire out the wrinkles and how to stomp them flat...
I'm sure there are others her who have done it hundreds if not thousands of times. On a couple occasions I've had running installs going simultaneously on as many as 8 computers at once....
And still spent time playing Quake on MY computer while waiting to give the next one in line "a poke with a sharp stick" to kick it to the next step.
the first few times it can be annoying... after that wears off it just becomes deadly dull... until you get one that WILL NOT BEHAVE...
(For that I have a fire axe and a collection of hammers:)