I am using a Presario 2100 to dual boot PCLinuxOS and XP Pro using GRUB as the bootloader. On the emachine 1221 desktop I am dualbooting PCLinuxOS and XP Home using the Windows NTLDR as the bootloader with lilo installed on the Linux partition to load Linux after NTLDR points the way. I recently canned an old Packard Bell that had Windows 98 on it. It really wasn't up to the task of any of the recent Linux distros. Either the sound wouldn't work, or the wireless USB wouldn't work, or I just couldn't get the live CD to load. XP Home ran on it but with a 300 mHz processor it was slow, even with pumped up RAM.
The Live CD List is a good place to start:http://www.frozentech.com/content/livecd.php
Being a WIndows user you will be more accustomed to the KDE desktop and probably like Kubuntu, Mandriva, or PCLinux which is a Mandriva offshoot.
Burn the ISO with IMG Burn and check the Verify box. If at first you dont succeed lower the write rate. Use rewriteable disks so they can be erased and you can try again.
There is also a way to create an XP disk if the Packard Bell system has an i386 file, using IMGBurn, but the correct way took some doing as the tutorials I read weren't exactly on the mark with the instructions, and slipstreaming SP2 and using Joliet instead of 9660 were the two main hurdles to over come, but now have a Windows disk for a computer that didn't have one. If all else fails have a backup of the system so there are ways to get back to where you started. Good luck, Linux is a breath of fresh air, and to think if it weren't for Vista, I may have never gotten the nerve to give it a go.