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Do you have partitions on your 130 GB drive that you need? If so, then you should probably get something to resize them (e.g. Partition Magic, though I've never actually used it) to make space for Linux. If that drive is empty, then you should be fine to install Linux on it. You should have the option to choose how big you want your Linux partition (in contrast to XP, which IIRC just uses the whole of the free space). Also, during the installation, you should be asked about adding an entry to the bootloader for Windows.
Isn't Mandrake 10.1 kinda old now? You'd be wise to get a newer distro if this is the case. Up to you though, as ever.
In regard to your free space, really, it's up to you. My Linux partition almost fills my entire disk (20 GB) but you could probably use less if you wanted to. Also, save some space for a swap partition (it's "virtual memory". I think Windows uses a thing called a page file for the same purpose). As a guide, you could make your swap partition twice as big as the amount of memory your machine has.
Distros: well, you could try the newest version of Mandriva (formerly Mandrake), perhaps Fedora or Ubuntu.
I've not used Mandriva, but I did quite like Fedora. Never used Ubuntu, but a lot of people say it's good for newbies. Try a distro and if you don't like it, try another and just keep going until you find one that suits you .
MDK or MDV (mandrake now mandriva) probably has one of the best installers out there. Have installed Fedora, Slack, Debian, RH. MDV just has them beat as far as the installer.
you have several options. Here's one or two:
Install MDV right next to Wxp which MDV will do nicely,
1. backup any important files. Defrag your Wxp partition.
2. Set BIOS to boot from CD as first boot device (most PCs now have that option)
3. MDV will automatically sense and check for other OS. Will find Wxp and give you several options. If you only created one large NTFS part for Wxp, linux will ask if you want to install on the Windows partition. Select yes. You will be given the opportunity to resize the partition. Remember, this way can be DANGEROUS so backup any important data. I have done this many times with MDV and NEVER had a problem, but just play it safe. Until you become familiar with MDV, select the default packages.
MDV should install in about 30 min. It is a good idea to have all your hdwr including your network, ethernet, DSL, etc. plugged in so MDV can find and configure it all.
You will not have a shared FAT32 partition to 'share' file with this method. If you want to do this use Wxp disk utility to create a new partition of about 40g as FAT32 so you can read AND write to this part from both Wxp and MDV. If Wxp will not do this from within the disk management of xp then reinstall Wxp first and use the Wxp fdisk utility to divide up your hd into approx thirds. 40gb NTFS for Wxp, 40gb FAT32 for shared files, leave the last 40gb alone (don't format) for Linux. Install MDV and it will automatically choose the last partition and setup root, home, and swap partitions.