i think the biggest problem might be in how you accidentally installed the second winxp .did you accidentally create second partition for the second xp ,if not the linux will wipe bot winxp installs from the drive if you try to install it
How on earth did you install 2 Window XP. It is either ask you to format and replace or leave the OS and replace it. Anyway you can boot the Linux CD and during the installation. You can select the installation side by side with Window XP and than you specify the amount of disc space for Linux and continue with the installation.
i have analyzed your problem and it has two parts.
1. Having installed two xp's.
2. The wish to install Linux.
I know you said you want to REPLACE the second xp with Linux, but i suggest that we first remove the xp that you don't want and then install the Linux.
Removing the the xp.
NOTE: you should know the directory in which the Unwanted xp is installed, and if it comes first or second on the boot-screen.
1. Make sure that your xp is showing all hidden files and folders, if not go to folder options in the control panel.
2. Go to the drive that is booting ( typically C:\ ) and you will see a file called boot.ini, go to its properties and make sure it is NOT a read only. After that, open it, it will contain something like this.
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
[U]multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect[/U]
Depending on the XP that you want to keep ( usually the one that is on top on boot screen ), you have to erase the entire line that denotes the operating sys that you want to remove. In my example the one that comes second on the boot-screen is in red.
3. Save the file
4. you have to go to folder where that xp ( the one that you just disabled from that boot-screen ) was installed and manually delete its files.
1. Backup all of your useful data.
2. Re-size the current partitions ( i use magic partition 8 ) such that they leave empty space at the end of your hard disk.
3. During installation of Linux make sure you choose to manually define partitions for Linux, making sure that you create the SWAP and EXT3/EXT4 partitions in the empty space at the end of the hard-disk.
4. After installation, Linux should have taken charge of the boot-screen, and all should go well from there.
Hi , I suggest save all valued personal files to removable storage and then reinstall Windows, after deleting all existing partitions detected during the reinstallation process, update etc and access the internet
Then download the latest Linux distro of your choice, create the installation disk
(Ubuntu seems very user friendly, even for me)
Speaking of Ubuntu , run the install disk in "try" mode (installs on ram memory only) to determine support for your computer then if ok, click on the install icon and follow the prompts