Thanks for everyone's input on this. Its been a long regular week, so finally yesterday I was able to get back to this.
In the end I did just backup the .vdi file.
Bringing the XP installation from SP1 to SP3 involved upgrading to SP2 via the link in the original post. That went well
Once SP2 was installed, I was able to upgrade to SP3 via the Windows Update process.
@PhantomTramp's - Your approach is definitely intriguing - though I couldn't get it to install
. I downloaded the first ISO link and then tried to install it as a guest OS - no joy.
Did I need to physically burn it to a disk? Am I missing a step?
@Col. Headers - I am sure that, in the future, I will be looking for your post and link
@qtech - I read your link re: slipstreaming
- I really liked that one could remove components ( media player, messaging, etc. ) from the installation process thereby creating a smaller guest OS focused on just the components needed. When I have time, I will definately be playing with this.
And so, mark this one closed Danno