Dual-Booting XP and Linux w/ NTFS File system
(WARNING: Major Newbie at work!)
I've been considering dual booting windows and linux for a while now, but only recently have seriously decided to go for it, and have a few questions.
First, I'm working on an HP Livestrong Special Edition laptop, 64-bit AMD Turion Processor, 100 GB hard drive. I want to partition my drive into 3 sectors: One for Windows XP, one for Linux (Ubuntu, perhaps), and one for data. I'll be starting from a blank drive (deleting everything & reinstalling), so from tutorials, this is how I understand the basics:
a) Partition the drive. Primary for windows, Primary for linux (or should this be extended?), Extended for the data. Format Windows & Data NTFS.
b) Install windows
c) Format linux partition to Ext3, install Linux distro of choice. (and swap partition?)
d) Set up GRUB to dual boot, edit the boot.ini file in the windows partition.
Is this right? I will be following tutorials, of course.
1) Once I have the windows partition stable, how easy will it be to try different distros in the linux partition? I'm hoping I'll just have to uninstall the current distro, reinstall the new, and reinstall Grub. Valid?
2) I'm trying to keep the data format in NTFS, so that windows can read it natively, and Linux can read it using the NTFS-3G driver. Will this work well, or am I asking for trouble?
3) On the same lines, I'm hoping to keep certain application files (i.e. Firefox/thunderbird profiles) on the NTFS Data system, and set up applications (i.e. firefox) in both applications to use the same files. Will this work?
4) Any recommendations on sizes for the three partitions? My current windows installation takes up 25G for OS + Apps, but I have a lot of apps, and I doubt I'd have that many linux.
5) Minor question: Even though my processor's 64 bit, the Factory installed Windows is 32 bit. Can I install a 64-bit Linux with 32-bit windows, no problems?
Any other suggestions/recommendations, or links to recommended threads/tutorials would be much appreciated!