I think this thread describes actually two issues:
1. the dependent assemblies can not be found. This is the case when the manifest file of your app requires assemblies that do not exist on the target machine. This can be resolved by the various copying around dlls into the winsxs folder. One should make sure the versions map as well as debug/release map from the manifest file to the directory
2. it seems like windows XP stock installation has some issues looking up the dependent libs in the winsxs folder despite the manifest and the folder dir matching up. I got around it the following way:
- I copy the dependent dlls as well as their manifest file into the dir of the app (taken from C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\VC\redist\x86\Microsoft.VC80.CRT) - version 8.0.50727.363, which is also the version of the apps manifest file.
- this manifest file, however, does not contain the correct version of the dependent dlls (it contained 8.0.50608.0, but needed 8.0.50727.363). Once you changed the version in the dependent dll manifest's file, everything works like a charme.