Ok, so this is how I solved a problem with Win xp install.
Problem presented itself as a file that could not be copied during file copy stage. Comctl32.dll and controls.man could not be copied from the xp cd.
I got a copy of comctl file from my laptop's xp, and I was able to copy the controls.man file from the xp cd, using the cdrom drive in my laptop instead of the desktop I was trying to install to. I also applied a little darkroom grease to the cd (nose grease is an old darkroom trick for dealing with scratches in negatives)...may have helped. It has before.
Installation continued. I reformatted the HDD in NTFS. After that(!) when there really was no OS on the box anymore, I found out that the comctl32 file I used did not match the one that was expected in the manifest file. Setup would not continue. I could not get into DOS or safe mode. Arghhg!
On my laptop I edited the controls.man file and got rid of the hash="4f02ff771050b8657e289d75f19163fe2ab02600" hashalg="SHA1" part of the man file. Hoping that setup would not check for a hash if it couldn't find one to check for. Put the file on a floppy.
You cannot boot into DOS at this point, so I booted from the XP cd and used recovery console to get into DOS. I did attrib -r controls.man. I copied the controls.man file, and a new version of comctl32.dll into the folder (the version that was in the setup folder on the HDD was smaller than the file that my XP had on the disk.)
Then I rebooted and Holy Mother of Mary It Worked!
I should note that the MS Win XP CD was messed up. It was a fresh CD, never used, comctl32.dll could not be copied from the disk by any of the three cd drives I had access to.