restart windows xp to run chkdsk when prompted.after the loading screen(green bar)it should run the chkdsk.
ticking the "scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" box only,normally runs ok from within windows(takes a while)
ticking "automatically fix file system errors" box requires a restart(quite quick) or ticking both boxes requires a restart(takes a while)
try click here scan for and get any updates available for xp.this wil fix most problems.
update all your motherboard chipset,ide drivers and graphics card drivers from the manufacturers websites also to ensure compatabillity with xp.
after that if you are low on memory/system resourses 256mb or less,disable any services you do not need
control panel/performance and maintenance/administrative tools/services click here
and start up programs click here to free some memory up.get the updates and drivers first.