Sometimes, it is true the boot-able usb does not work properly. If works, may be perhaps all of a sudden installation is terminated without any reason.
If ur laptop has a network adapter, the capability to boot from PXE (network), and a router or crossover cable, you can install Windows XP (of course one more PC is required). Another way is to install from floppy drive (but I think ur laptop does not have)…. by chance, if it has please <a href=”http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=83f53be9-28fa-40e8-8ec2-631504ef5e26&DisplayLang=en”>Link Here</a> and also <a href=”http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;255867&Product=w98″>Here</a>
Also u can bring a external CD /DVD drive with usb port support and plug on to ur laptop and install XP. But it goes slow to do so because it’s being transferred through a USB port, as opposed to a direct connection from a drive as normal. U also have to change the Boot sequence from BIOS for that purpose.
Although what Rechil said is true, there are some bad combinations of BIOS/Motherboards, etc that can cause problems like the one you’re talking about, I have been using for a couple of years now <a href=”http://www.eeeguides.com/2007/11/installing-windows-xp-from-usb-thumb.html”>this method</a> with great success.
It was built when Netbooks started to proliferate, but it got it working on any USB bootable Desktop/Laptop etc.
The fact you don’t need to burn CDs / DVDs when testing, is only by itself a good one.
You should give it a try.