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I've just been playing around with SliTaz and it's quite incredible -- boots up to just under 50MiB, uses almost no resources and yet is fully functional (openbox, midori, spacefm). http://www.slitaz.org/en/
The site below has a list of a number of Linux distributions for older computers. There are links on the page to each distribution site where you can get specific information. There is a link there to Slitaz which was mentioned above and would be good as it is very lightweight.
small capacity workable linux systems are fine but if your system worked on ordinary XP it will work with many GNU/linux systems.
Which one is best is a moot question, do you like fancy graphics, do you want program y to work and so on.
If you want a solid stable system choose Debian but it won't look like windows and it will behave like GNU/Linux but it will most likely install on your system. The install disk is not the easiest but it covers a multitude of options, like raid and LVM.
To get some idea of hardware compatability try the relavent distro cd/dvd live option on boot.
It's not that ancient by my standards. A quick check shows you've got an Intel Atom, 1 GB of RAM, and integrated graphics.
The lack of hardware graphics acceleration rules out the Unity and Gnome desktops, and the set-up is a bit underpowered for KDE. On the other hand, Xfce and Mate would be fine.
Linux Mint is very user friendly for new users — that's the Mate version, not the Cinnamon.
Salix is excellent and perhaps rather more reliable. There are fewer users to help in case of problems, but their forum is very friendly. As you see, I use it on my portable (which is much older than yours!) Get the live CD, not the plain installation CD. That way you can see it before installing, and setting up the HD is easier — use gparted before running the installer, as described here http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gparted.html
and create 3 partitions for root, home, and swap.
Distribution: Lubuntu, Raspbian, Openelec, messing with others.
I used Lubuntu on netbooks for a number of years. There are many thought that will work just fine, all depends on preferences:
Do I want to build it (say Tinycore)
Do I want a Debian, Slackware, Redhat based, etc.
I did upgrade my netbook to 2 gb, just due to the number of browser tabs I would have open (used a lot more memory then the OS).
if you want to just use the internet (have flash and other restricted formats play) use something that will reproduce moffice faithfully on an oldish device then perhaps peppermint as an easy to install event.
Either, by pendrive or cd, try the live version, usually comes in dvd sizes (over 700mb) fisrt to check hardware compatabilty.
You might want to check the bios (or boot options on starting the device) to see if it will boot from a pendrive.
If you want to keep XP you can shrink the partition and dual boot with some install cd's.