Thanks for the assistance. Managed to get the dual booting up and running after an exhaustive 7 attempts. Would like to share my experiences since it could be likely that others might face the same problems in future.
The big culprit is none other than Windoze itself and the way WinXP Setup CD partitions your drive
WinXP setup CD allows you to create 4 partitions... I had the impression that it would be sensible enough to create the maximum amount of primary partitions (that is 3 primary and 1 extended). However, it creates only 1 primary partition, with the other 3 partitions being logical drives on an extended partition.
As a result, my WinXP ended up on /dev/hda5 (a logical drive) instead. (Thanks for pointing that out!)
Originally, I tried to partition the drive using Linux rescue, but apparently XP doesn't seem to like the partitions I'm creating (even FAT32 partitions), resulting in error messages, partitions not being seen in XP, etc.) Also encountered frequent problems of the XP Setup CD not booting up after partitioning my drive in linux rescue.
How I got around in getting my dual boot up are as follows (from an empty hard disk):
1. Run XP installer from bootable WinXP Setup CD
2. Create at least 1 partition (can be FAT32 or NTFS). You must install XP on the 1st partition. This is the only requirement. Whatever other partitions you create is of no interest.
3. Once XP is up and running, load into administrator account.
4. Run compmgmt.msc
5. Click on disk management.
6. Keeping your 1st partition (the one with XP installed), you may now readjust your leftover space to create more primary partitions and logical drives. This gets around the crappy partitioning style used by the WinXP setup cd.
I made my partition as follows:
- Primary partition 1, WinXP (no change)
- Primary partition 2, space allocated for Linux swap partition
- Primary partition 3, space allocated for FC5
- Extended partition, with a number of logical drives
If you would like to access the partition within Linux, do ensure that it is declared FAT32 (Note the size limits for FAT32 partition though).
7. Reboot computer with FC5 install disc.
8. During install process, all you need to do is to modify /dev/hda2 (swap) and /dev/hda3 (location of FC5).
Click edit, and reformat /dev/hda2 as swap.
Similarly, reformat /dev/hda3 as ext3, mounted on /
9. I chose to install GRUB on the MBR. Didn't give me any problems this time despite encountering BIOS 1024 errors in my first 3 earlier attempts. I guess that all should be ok if you do your partitions correctly.
Hope that this would be of use to others