I say this over and over. I get bored of repeating myself. If you drop through the cracks and have already bricked your system, I can only say that the advice you needed to follow was here all along. There are so MANY good "dual boot XP and Linux" guides on the web that I am amazed you didn't find one.
google: dual boot xp linux = http://www.google.com/search?source=ig& ... linux&aq=f
Top 5 hits:http://apcmag.com/how_to_dual_boot_wind ... _first.htmhttp://apcmag.com/the_definitive_dualbo ... bystep.htm
- "definitive" = CLUE CLUE CLUEhttp://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/lin ... aptop.htmlhttp://www.geocities.com/epark/linux/gr ... HOWTO.htmlhttp://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=599
google: dual boot xp mint = http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz= ... ot+xp+mint
Top 5 hits:http://linuxgazette.net/136/lazar.htmlhttp://www.associatedcontent.com/articl ... _mint.htmlhttp://apcmag.com/how_to_dual_boot_linu ... _first.htmhttp://apcmag.com/how_to_dual_boot_wind ... _first.htm
- duplicate hit from above CLUE CLUE CLUEhttp://www.linuxmint.com/wiki/index.php ... ot_with_XP
- hit from linuxmint.com forum CLUE CLUE CLUE
1. Boot into Windows. Delete everythign that is deletable and uninstall everything that is uninstallable. Download and use a good defragger. Multiple times. Reboot and defrag again. Your goal is to create a HUGE blank empty wad of free space to the right of the defrag graph. Merely having free space is insufficient. Having it all on the right, the files all on the left, is important. Reboot into Windows one more time.
2. Download and burn AT SLOWEST POSSIBLE SPEED your linux iso of choice.
3. Download and burn AT SLOWEST POSSIBLE SPEED a copy of gparted live.
4. Boot with gparted. Do all your partitioning at this time. Make it right.
5. Reboot into Windows. It will want to do a checkdisk. Let it complete, then reboot into Windows again to make sure it did it right.
6. Boot with your linux iso. Install, select MANUAL partitioning, don't repartitition anything but manually select the partitions you want to use. Install.
7. Reboot. See the grub menu? Use the grub menu.
So right now you boot and get a blank black screen. Likely: X is failing at some point. Decemberdoom is probably right. Ctrl-Backspace restarts X. Or from grub (you DO see grub, right?) you can select a "safe" mode to boot. Your grub menu should include your Windows install to boot to.
Finally, do you have a local Linux Users Group you can talk to? Where, exactly, do you live? Likely there is an Ubuntu LoCo or a Linux LUG near you.