Wow, this thread to an unexpected turn.
Well, XP is re-installing now. And yes, my copy is pre-SP1.
I've thought about it being the Optical drive, but they haven't acted up before. I can load my Kubuntu LiveCD using the drive without issue.
Anyhow, if it don't work this time, I'm gonna' grab Vista later today. If it does work- I'll save me about $265!
Thanks again for all your help!