Some of the "recovery" disks that come with a new PC back then are garbage. They aren't the OS but just enough to repair the OS. If you formatted the HD it may not work at all. Those older recovery disks are made to just pop it in and let it run without formatting. You may be out of luck. Or rather the customer may be out of luck. Tell em the disk is bad and they will have to buy a new one. Of course that MAY be the truth. Have them browse ebay for a full copy of ME. You might also mention to them they can get a brand new PC at wal mart pretty cheap these days.
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If your equation requires either a complex combination of variables to get the desired result OR you can't seem to get the result regardless of the variables....it ain't your variables, it's your constant.