My old XP ThinkPad T41 needs a reinstall to deal with Windows rot. It has a restore partition that I have used before without issues.
However, after tinkering with live CDs over the years and, more recently, playing with friends' netbooks, I fancy trying Ubuntu or some other "easy" Linux distro for a while to see if I can manage without Windows. This laptop is not my main computer and only really used for web-based stuff nowadays, but I occasionally need to use it for admin duties on my home network (RDP etc.).
My one worry is that, as I don't have a Windows install CD, the Ubuntu install might somehow affect the restore partition and leave me unable to get the hell out of Dodge if I suddenly find that my life simply cannot continue without some app/functionality that only Windows gives.
Is this a possibility? If so, are there steps I can take to ensure it doesn't happen?