"He says he has put the recovery disc in but it boots straight through to windows"
First boot device is probably set to HDD in the BIOS
Type of KB and Mouse? PS2, USB, wireless?
The fact that is sill booting means the PC isn't fried maybe just some corrupt files on the Harddrive Needs to try a repair of XP
Maybe try a different type of keyboard to start the repair. In XP tpye sfc /scannow in run box with XP CD in drive