With 160GB you can make a lot of different things....
I agree with name, in general.
A few more points:
win2k or XP asks which fs you prefer, fat32 or ntfs, on install time. To be compatible with linux, fat32 is the way. Ntfs is read-only (to linux), so you can read files, but can't write. It can be not a problem, if you plan to share files between OSes on another dedicated fat32 partition. Its a matter of choice.
This is a must have software, incredible good work these people have done:
I don't know why its not more popular. Its a distro aimed at being a sysadmin and maintenance tool. Partitioning, backup, file system and drive-imageing and more, in an bootable iso image which is rather small!
Here you will find qtparted, a nice graphical linux partition magic clone. And partimage, a drive image clone. Man, I love these guys...
I might also note that this particular Compaq has one separate partition as a backup incase something goes awry (which, IMO, is not too smart; what if the entire hard disk crashes?),
Well, the best would be to store on another disk, indeed. Or cdrw. But another partition is also effective, as you can prevent a filesystem-specific corruption to not destroy everything, by creating more than one partition. Remeber that data corruption - in a forced reboot, for example - is restricted to its own filesystem.
When I'm all done with that, how can I set up a dual-boot system?
Install first win, then linux. during the install process, any current distro will ask how and where you wanna install a bootloader. Most of them will notice you have win installed and set it to load properly at boot time. Grub is a nice choice for a bootloader.
Which types of linux fs to choose... This varies greatly. Take a look at this:
Again, a current distro will let you choose betwenn several. I stick to reiserfs. But don't take my opinion as unbiased, he he... I use suse.
So, this is your hd layout:
primary /dev/hda1 swap (linux will need one): rule of thumb says = mem size.
primary /dev/hda2 Win2k NTFS/fat32 = say, 20GB?
primary /dev/hda3 / (Linux root partition) = 20GB?
primary /dev/hda4 extended = ~120GB
logical /dev/hda5 shared space = 80GB
logical /dev/hda6 backup = 40GB
what do you think?