Let me offer a bit of a different suggestion. First and foremost backup your data files to some external medium!!!!! CDs DVDs flash drives, external hard drive etc. You should be doing this routinely anyhow right?
Then download and install VMWare Converter on the Windows installation. Clean up as many junk files as you can from the Windows installation (disk cleanup etc.) Then use the converter to convert the Windows installation to a VMWare guest machine. Write this to your external hard drive.
(If you think you may want to restore the Windows machine in the future back it up with something like Norton Ghost (HawkPE) or similar.)
Now that you have your data backed up and a copy of your Windows machine go ahead and install Linux on the PC. Then install VMWare Player. Copy the files made by VMWare Converter to the Linux drive. You can then do File; Open a Virtual Machine from VMWare Player and point to the Windows VM files.
If you wish to discuss some ideas about how to partition your hard drive for the Linux install just post back.
p.s. as far as accessing files from Windows type drives (FAT, FAT32, NTFS) this has not been an issue in Linux for quite a while. Don't be too concerned.