These are the steps I took to where I am now:
(60 gig hard drive, 512mb ram, Athlon XP2000+, Nvidia 6200 AGP, 1280x1024 running resolution)
1. Low level format
2. Install Windows XP
-setup a 30gig NTFS partition
3. Windows XP successfully installs on the 30 gig partition
4. Install Ubuntu 8.04 (CD is free from errors)
-manual partition setup
>created a 512mb swap partition set as Primary
>created a "whatever space is left" partition set as EXT3, mounted as /
5. Install successful.
6. Reboot (without CD in drive)
7. Ubuntu logo keeps looping the "loading" bar.
I'm pretty sure this is because the primary / EXT3 partition was not set as BOOTABLE: YES ..because there was no option for me to select when using the partition manager from Ubuntu . I'm using the CD right now as Live session user and I would really appreciate any help that wouldn't take me down the road of low level formatting, re-installing XP and such. I just want Ubuntu to boot.
Thank you so much guys!