Since that happened, I decided to get serious about backups and get a large external drive to hold the backups. I ended up purchasing a 500 GB Western Digital My Book from Best Buy. I got it installed and connected through USB and XP recognized it. All is well. The first backup of the c:\ took a day and a half. I waited it out since I really wanted that first baseline backup. Then I did the backup of the secondary drive. That took another day and a half.
Now, I decided I'm tired of these long backups so I get a USB 2.0 PCI card and install it today. It was recognized by XP and I think it was installed successfully.
As I did a few reboots in the past few hours before installing that card and after installing it, XP is now taking 5-10 minutes to fully boot up. And once it gets into Windows, it runs very slowly. It seems to get to a point where things will run smoothly, but that's a good 20 minutes after the first request to boot. In all honesty, this problem could've cropped up after installing the My Book since I didn't use the computer at all while it was backing up. I just let it do it's thing and it took forever.
Here is some info on the patient:
Dell Dimension 8200 purchased around 4 yrs ago
1 GB RAM
Windows XP fully patched and shouldn't have spyware
Is there some bios setting I need to change to handle the large hard drive? I haven't done any system tweaks to this point.