...and how much time would it take you to recreate all the data that it sounds like you have not backed up at all yet?
Yes you can dual boot with NTFS. it doesn't matter what the other partition has on it.
1) don't be lazy and do a backup if for no other reason than to have a backup
2) ditch RH9 and get something with newer hardware support and updates. I like/suggest Ubuntu, but it should be whatever your comfortable with. If you like RedHat then checkout the Fedora Core project.
3) Start here: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...ot&btnG=Search