with the old XP you have a choice
now i found that life was WAY easier - less problems CAUSED BY MICROSOFT
When i let MS have the MBR
the xp " boot.ini " can boot a copy of the linux "/boot" partition
This is the " using "dd" method"
this is a bit OLD - very old
Linux OS's have full NTFS read/write so there is no need to mess with fat32
( most of the "how-to's" for dual booting using dd have you put the 512 bit image on a 3.5 in floppy )
now as to WHAT version of "Linux" ????
Linux is ONLY the hardware interface kernel ( the Linux kernel )
the rest is the Operating system
For a NEW user " linux Mint" is a good choice
OpenSUSE 12.1 might ,BUT NOT on a old computer with XP
suse NEEDS a high end 64 bit computer 8+ gig ram .
or let grub boot both
but XP can try to "fix" a perfectly good and WORKING grub install and replace it with the MS bootloader
killing the linux boot option