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Linux can read NTFS formatted drives. I have dual boot W7 and Linux right now and all the files that are stored on Windows MyDocumets, etc... I can access them on linux. So there should be nothing to worry about.
It isn't clear what your final goal is. Are you going to leave the windows 7 operating system on the computer and install Mint?
Or are you going to install Mint only and save the data (documents, music, movies, etc.) from windows? If you have a backup of all your data on a second drive, after installing Mint (or during the install) you can create an additional partition formatted ntfs on which to put your windows data. Please clarify your intentions.
I would like to install Linux on our home office computer. How do I backup my windows files, docs, pictures, etc. and move them into Linux?
Since you are not upgrading from windows to windows, just backup in good old way - copy/paste. Copy all your personal files/docs/pictures to usb or any other partition (fat32). What do you mean by 'backup windows files'?, you don't need them in linux.
Assuming you plan on wiping out Windows and installing Linux in its place:
1) Plug in external hard drive
2) Copy all needed files onto said external hard drive
3) Install Linux
4) Plug in external hard drive
5) Copy all needed files from said external hard drive to some new location in Linux
Yes make sure the files are readable from "my book" on the external drive using a linux run pc/os. If not back them up using a linux program with ntfs reading abilities (partedmagic has this, it's a live cd).
Just sounds (my book) Windoze dependent.
Am I correct in thinking that I can create a folder with a command line entry and and then drag and drop my data into that folder. I do intend to get rid of windows eventually. Should I just set up in dual boot mode till I have tested the waters?