"....from what I could see the XP software is not going to be very easy to get to grips with" because it really couldn't be easier.
When you insert a blank CD WindowsXP will offer to open a CD writing window, into which you simply drag and drop any files that you wish to write. When you're ready, tell WinXp to write the CD and away it goes - the CD will eject on completion.
If it's music files you need to write you can do it in Windows Media Player - just as easy and just as foolproof.
I've not encountered any problems at all, and I've written hundreds of CDs in WinXP. Get your friend to give it a try - I'm sure she'll be fine.