I need some help regarding a dual boot, could someone make these things clear for me ?
I'm going to dual boot my windows 7 pc with Linux, but if something goes wrong with Windows and it needs to reinstall or be repaired, it would overwrite my Linux installation.
So I decided to install a second hard drive for Linux. My idea is to let Windows claim the space on the 2nd disk an then making a separate partition for my Linux installation, but is it possible to fit Linux on the 2nd HDD and Windows on the 1st (moving Linux to the right of all the space) ?
If it is possible I could take out my Linux disk if Windows needs to be repaired or reinstalled, so Linux won't be overwritten. And can I rejoin those disks when the MBR is set to the default Windows MBR instead of GRUB, so my Windows is repaired and Linux rejoins Windows again, with GRUB ?
And when I decide to remove Linux (probably won't happen, but you never know), will I be able to restore Windows with another Windows 7 installation disk (it's not the one supplied with my pc, but it's a used disk with the same version of Windows) ?
And what is the best for the installation ; a DVD+RW or an USB stick ?
I believe there is a terminology problem which must be clarified first.
According to your description;
(moving Linux to the right of all the space)
my understanding you have only one physical hard disk. You have probably meant to have two partitions (in Linux term) or two drives (in Windows term).
Having two, or any number of, operating systems in one physical hard disk is normal. Your fear of Windows wiping the Linux partition is ill-founded because Linux uses partition types not supported by MS Windows so they do not get touched. You have to give a MS Installer permission to wipe clean a hard disk. In a normal installation a MS Windows installer interests in only the partitions it recognised and supports and the normal ones are type b & c for Fat32 and type 7 for ntfs/exfat. Linux uses Type 83 for residence and Type 82 for swap.
Every operating system has intelligence not to mess with partitions it does not understand. Only at a user insistence and after a green light given, by a confirmation, it would destroy other partitions and use the whole hard disk.
The challenge of any dual boot is to let which OS's boot loader to occupy the MBR. Windows is not designed to support other OSes so it will take over the MBR without asking permission. Linux on the other hand supports all other operating systems. It will ask the user the location of the boot loader. If MBR is chosen it will include every operating systems in the PC for booting.
So you can go ahead install the Linux.
The MS Boot loader can always be restored using Windows installation DVD. Linux's boot loader similarly can be restored by the Live CD. You can ask either boot loader to perform the dual boot but it is 1/4 to 1/3 of work if you use Linux.
Thank you for you're quick reply, saikee.
I think I now understand everything, thank you.
I knew Windoze wouldn't fully overwrite Linux but changing a MBR sounds dangerous, without MBR nothing boots, right ? (Damn you, asocial Windoze ! )
About the disks ; I have a 1TB disk with Windoze and a 500GB "unallocated" disk for my Linux (I know, a shame, but I like games).
So I can install Linux on the 500GB disk and the GRUB will see that there's another disk with Windoze, right ?
I'm glad there are so much friendly Linux communities !