To start off, I am strictly a Windows user. I've used a Mac, and especially never used Linux before. However, I would like to learn more about Linux in general, and I figured the best way to do this is to dual boot Windows XP, but I've got a few questions.
Can you partition a hard drive which already has an operating system on it? I've got Windows XP installed on my harddrive, and my total harddrive usage is around 56GB (out of 465GB LOL). It is just set up as having one hard drive (the C: drive), am I able to partition this hard drive without losing my install of windows (and all my files?). I would then install Linux on the other partition.
What is the most user-friendly Linux Distro? I'd like to install a Linux Distro that would hopefully have most things already configured, and loaded with necessary programs and drivers such as a wireless internet driver.
How can I back up my entire hard drive? I'd like to back up my entire hard drive to some sort of external media (be it 20 DVD's or an external hard drive), so if something goes wrong, I can wipe the hard drive, copy the 'image' back onto it, and I'd have my installation of Windows (with all programs, settings + drivers already installed.) Is this possible?
Will my hardware work with Linux? For exmaple, I have a Wireless Network Adapter, and it has a Windows driver. Would it get automatically installed on Linux? How about my Microsoft Wireless Keyboard + Mouse?
Thanks. I really want to try Linux, but I'm a bit worried about completely destroying my hard drive. I've got some quite important information on there.