This has never happened to me before and it is a bit strange. Dell had a one day sale on the very machine I wanted, an Inspiron 530 preloaded with XP. I maxed out the video card for gaming. It was my intent to dual boot the machine running Ubuntu Linux on it for all but one work related application. In the process of trying to install Ubuntu I kept running into problems. The errors ranged from corrupt CDs, just plain locking up or faulting while creating a partition. XP is on the primary drive and I had been trying to install Ubuntu on a second drive.
In desperation I removed the primary drive cable and retried the installation. It was a successful install. Ubuntu actually runs very nicely on the computer. However I purchased it with the wrong video card so my plans to use it are on hold until I purchase a new card. It was very strange however. As long as the XP drive is connected to the system the Linux side will not work. Has Microsoft done something to more recent editions of their OS to make it less friendly? (Following added 17 May 09) We have since found out that changing the hard drive type in the bios fixes the problems with installing Ubuntu or Linux Mint on this machine. Set it for raid. The Windows side may not work after this change however. Dell now has a bios fix that takes care of the problem. Update your bios!
So it is currently my plan to use the machine exclusively with Ubuntu once I obtain a new video card. My mistake was to buy a video card that does not have good Linux support. World of Warcraft runs on this older Dell 2400, but is rough as the card is a regular type NVidia PCI card. There is no PCI Express or AGP slot on this 2400. Compiz works well on both machines, but WOW will not run on the 8600 GT with Linux drivers in the Inspiron 530.
By the way, the 8600 GT appears to be a better card than what one can get in a twenty inch iMac. Thus another reason for my reluctance to switch. Apple needs to consider better video support for all of their machines including the Mini. There is no reason why even a Macbook can not have a decent video card. I think that this could become more of an issue in the future and Apple should have already been a leader in this area especially when you consider how many people use Apple computers. I work in television and all of our production equipment is centered around the G5 or MacPro.
One last comment that is somewhat Mac related. I have a ten year old Dell at my desk at work just for convenience to look up information on line. I have had Ubuntu on it for the last two years. If it had not been for Linux the machine would have been deleted from the inventory. Today I installed gOS 3.0 on it. If you are familiar with it you know how OS X-like it is. I am going to see if it will run a bit better with gOS as the distribution is supposed to be a little more lean. Gutsy Gibbon has been a bit slow and I should have left it with 7.04 installed. (Following added 17 May 09) It was interesting, but Xubuntu ended up being the last OS on the machine before it was finally retired.