Well guys hate to say it but my installation was a total failiure
..after I installed redhat 9 I restarted and booted to windows..the "hp system recovery" kicks in on my computer and it tells me that it is ready to recover my computer. So I cancel the system recovery and it continues to boot to windows xp..well everything is the way I left it but now when I restart my computer the GRUB boot loader for linusx is no longer there and my computer starts up windos again as if there were no linux there at all!!...I even tried to open partition magic and it wont start up and it gives me an error : "partition's drive letter cannot be identified"
so now I can't even delete the partitions and start over using parttion magic (not that i'm up for it at the moment) without using the hp system recovery cd.
but thanx for everyone's help this is a very helpful and welcoming board..I look forward to learning more about linux (once I get past this windows xp takeover problem)