Dual-booting Linux and Windows

Q I'm thinking of switching my operating system to Linux. I am currently running (limping) with Windows XP and have purchased another hard drive to load Linux on to. I understand Fedora expects unassigned disk space, but I'm not sure about Ubuntu. Should I partition the drive first? If so, where should I put a boot manager?

A You can happily install Ubuntu on to a fresh disk -either manually partition the disk within the installer or let it partition it itself based on the size of the disk and the memory in the system. Once installed, Ubuntu will install its boot loader (Grub) on to the first disk, overwriting the boot loader for Windows. However, during the installation process, Ubuntu will add a boot option for Windows within Grub; so as default you will boot into Linux, but if you want Windows XP you can manually select it at boot time. You could always install Grub into the second disk's MBR and use the BIOS to switch between the two disks at boot time, but this is really confusing and requires a lot of brainpower to sort things out when they break.

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