First of all, are you sure it's Windows XP? Second, if so, why did you go with Windows XP and not at least Windows 7? If possible, I recommend exchanging your Windows copy for a new one, because XP has already reached the end of its mainstream support cycle, and will be completely end of lifed in just over a year. You'll also be unable to leverage a good portion of the technology on your son's brand new computer unless you're running a modern operating system.
That said, typically, the blue screen of death indicates a hardware problem. I recommend the following to ensure there's not a hardware issue, first (if you're not comfortable dealing with the hardware, take it to someone who is; ideally, the person who built it for you):
- Reseat the graphics card and memory
- Reseat the cables to the hard drive (both on the motherboard side and the hard drive side)
- Run a hardware check on both the hard drive and the memory (I recommend Hitachi's Drive Fitness Tes for the hard drive and Memtest for the memory)
Doing the above will rule out any hardware-related issues.
If you're still having problems, then you can try the following:
If you want to install Ubuntu and Windows side by side
I recommend installing Windows, first. Buy a Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation disk and try it. If you're still getting the blue screen of death, then try Darik's Boot And Nuke to wipe the hard drive completely clean, so the installation disk doesn't freak out (in a working system, the installer won't care what the format of the hard drive is, but Windows can't read the default Linux filesystems, so it will come back as "unknown" or see it as blank). Be sure to tell Windows to only use part of the hard drive, so you don't have to resize the partitions later.
Once you've installed Windows, you can boot into the Ubuntu installer. It should detect the presence of the Windows install and give you the option to install Ubuntu next to Windows, in the available nonpartitioned space. Once you install Ubuntu, you will be able to choose which one to boot into on startup.
If you want to install only one or the other
Simply follow the instructions above for the one you want to install. In this situation, though, just use the whole disk.
Video drivers in Linux
Without any information, I can only speak in generalities with regard to your graphic card issues. That said, here's what I know about graphics cards in Linux:
- (If you have an Nvidia card) Nvidia provides proprietary graphics drivers and display manager. To install the proprietary driver, simply go to "Software Sources" by opening the Unity dash (using the Ubuntu logo in the top left of the screen, or by pressing the "Windows"/Super key) and type in "Software Sources". Then, go to the "Additional Drivers" tab and choose a graphics driver to install (I recommend the one marked "proprietary, tested"). Once you've finished the installation, you may need to change your resolution. To do that, open the Unity dash and start typing "Nvidia". It will find the display manager. Open it and find the "X Server Settings" in the list and adjust your screen resolution as necessary (use "Apply" to test your settings). Once done, click "Save to X Configuration" to make the changes permanent.
- (If you have an ATI/AMD card) ATI/AMD provides proprietary graphics drivers and Catalyst. Go to ATI's website and select your card and for the OS select "Linux x86" (if you installed Ubuntu 32bit) or "Linux x86_64" (if you installed Ubuntu 64bit). If you don't know whether you installed 32 or 64 bit, you can check in the "System Properties". Just download the package from the ATI website and install it like you would on Windows.