Is this using the loader that shows thumbnails or using the loader that shows a file list? Also, is it the same image that you are trying to load every time?
There is a computer at my school that doesn’t like one particular image in one directory - it crashes ONLY if I open that directory in the image thumbnail loader. All other directories and images work fine.
Try deleting any .Bpib files; Blender stores image thumbnails in them - one of those may have become corrupted.
If neither one of those is the problem, then it’s probably the old catch-all: Video drivers. For some reason, Blender is very picky about the driver you use, especially under Windows XP. Try upgrading (or downgrading) the driver; that works quite often.