I just bought a Dell 640m laptop with Windows Developer Preview installed. There is no directory with any backups. The COA on the machine is for XP. I would like to install XP as a VM on the same machine the license applies to. Is this even possible to do? If so, how?
I'd note i'm not entirely certain about the legal aspects of this, and that falls outside the scope of my answer. It is probably against the EULA.
Generally OEM systems are imaged and don't actually use the key thats on the box - the used a system locked preinstall key unique to the manufacturer. If you want to use the key that is on the box, you'd need a full OEM install disk (that is to say NOT a restore disk) - the sort a small system integrator would use and is sold by places like newegg as OEM , and if you got one there's no practical reason it should not work.
If its for testing purposes, and the VM is to be disposable, microsoft has several for use with MSVPC available, which would be a good alternative.