First question, what prompted your friend to "wipe" it, and not back up the data? Im assuming the installation of Windows died, and not the actual laptop, otherwise how would it be working now lol.
And secondly, why did your friend install XP if it had Vista on it originally? A reinstall of Vista would have had the same effect, and negated this trouble with drivers you are having now - is the install of XP even legal??
The answer to the question about downloading the drivers from Samsung is basically yes, assuming the drivers are available for Windows XP/Vista drivers "may" in some cases work with XP.
As for getting internet connectivity to download the drivers, try plugging an ethernet cable into the laptop to the router, there is a chance it may have the drivers for the NIC within Windows XP if its a generic/old chipset.
If you want me to take a look at it, drop me a PM and we will arrange it.