I was trying an installation of a volume license edition of Windows XP Professional from MSDN disc 2430.2 (January 2007) to a new VMWare virtual machine. Our license key didn’t work though, despite use checking the key repeatedly, and trying every WinXP license key in the building.
In the end, on the advice of another developer, I started again with a new VM. I left the memory at 256Mb (my previous one was 1024Mb), removed the floppy, and previously I was running the ISO image from a CD, and this time I ran it from a hard disc. This worked. I don’t know which of these three factors was the relevant one, but if you’re doing an installation like that, I recommend trying those things.