Well, there are a few problems I ran into (forgive me for the lengthy descriptions):
1) I once did a "fresh" install of xppro sp2 because xp home had sp3 on it, so I couldn't do the "upgrade" option while running it through windows. Well, when I did this, I did not realize that I wiped out the ctrl-f11 factory restore option. I was having trouble manually installing the webcam drivers and avatar creator software, so when I went to do the factory restore option, that's when I noticed it was gone! After fixing that (trust me, that wasn't fun), I then decided to embark on cloning the dell restore partition. That's how I came across this forum
2) After discovering that I could slipstream sp3 into my xppro sp2 installation image, I thought "Hey, let's try that upgrade option again". Once I created my new xppro sp3 iso (using nLite...nice program
, I ran it and chose "upgrade" as to keep the factory settings saved. So it copied the install files to the hd, and stated it had to reboot. Well, when it did, two things happened - 1. I had to choose from either microsoft xp home edition or microsoft xp pro setup. I chose the latter and then 2. when it started booting into setup, that's when it yelled at me that it couldn't find any cdrom drive and that setup must quit.
So that is the issue that I am trying to work around, plus, it's still persistently asking me to choose which way to boot (xp home or setup xp pro).
Sorry I wasn't clear on this earlier.
I suppose this is what I should do:
1) Slipstream the dell drivers & software into my xppro sp3 installation.
2) Do the factory restore as to have a "fresh" system with xp home sp3
3) Backup the os and dellrestore partitions in their factory state (and test the backup), so that if there is a catastrophic failure, I can go back to it.
4) Do a fresh install of Windows XP Pro from my newly created sp3 iso, wiping out the dell restore partition and gaining some drive space.
5) install/remove some programs so this nifty little netbook fits my needs
6) Create another partition backup of the hard drive with my settings.
If there isn't a post on how to restore the ctrl-f11 fuctionality, I suppose I can create it later on.