Presumably on the underside of the laptop the windows xp key is still readable. If that's the case then you could grab a torrent of xp. Good luck trying to find one that isn't cracked/meddled with. You might get lucky with the phone call or just ask around at work/pub. |
I haven't used Skype on Linux but what you're after is usb flash drive boots or Live Cd, that way you can just try them out without installing.