Re: VGA Mode
Without more HW info, this is just a shot in the dark, but based on P4 w/ 1.2 GB RAM I would say that your equipment is just barely capable of Ubuntu. You may wish to use Xubuntu or Lubuntu which would give you much better response and stability. Most cards will run 640x480, especially older machines that were originally loaded with XP. Do as sudodus suggests and check with Do this from a LiveDVD/USB of Xubuntu/Lubuntu so that you don't have to nuke XP just to test.
Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just let me jump.