I've recently installed Linux Mint 14 Nadia but wanted to keep the dual boot with XP whilst I tested it out. Now I am happy with it I want to remove Windows XP from my system. I've been googling how to do this but I can't find any sold (safe) suggestions.
Easiest/Safest option: Reinstall Linux on the entire system, overwriting WinXP partitions. If you can fairly easily take a backup of all your files (e.g., take a backup of /home folder) and put those files on a separate partition (non-windows, non-linux) or on a separate hard-drive (external HDD or pen-drive), then it is probably easier to re-install Linux by re-partitioning in such a way to eliminate all the Windows and current Linux related partitions, and replace them with a fresh installation. Then, you can copy the /home folder back and reinstall all the software (you can use dpkg --get-selections and dpkg --set-selections to get a complete list of installed software, and then re-install all the software from that list, that's the perfect way to restore the entire set of software when creating a fresh install). Linux makes it so easy to create a fresh install, that this is probably the easiest thing to do.
If a fresh install is not an option, then you can fix-up the dual boot into a single boot Linux. First, you have to take care of the bootloader. If you are using Grub as the main bootloader (first bootloader), then you'll have nothing to do at this step. If you are using the windows bootloader (i.e., meaning that you first see the windows-bootloader, and then you see the Grub menu (with multiple kernel versions to choose from)), then you will probably want to remove the Windows bootloader and install Grub on the MBR, such that Grub is the first and only bootloader.
At this point, all you really need to do is re-partitioning. The idea here is that you want to leave the Linux partitions intact (without any modifications), and wipe out all the Windows-related partitions (like the restore partition) and merge them into one or a couple of freshly-formatted partitions that you can use to store your personal files (music, videos, pictures, documents, etc.). It's as simple as that.
Yes. /dev/sd* and /dev/hd* mean essentially the same, it just depends on your system (I think that hd* stands for an HDD connected on an IDE-bus, while sd* is for SATA or USB connected hard-drives or flash drives).