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1st: Knoppix hat more then 2 GB of programm data, you will need space for your own data.
A linux partition of 5 GB works well for me, but add a swap partition (win calls it virtual memory) at least with the duble of your RAM ( 256 MB RAM = 512 MB swap).
BTW, use ext3, it's journaled.
2st: Very dangerous! (As everything who modify your HDD).
First of all, make a backup of all your stuff (and test it, if it really works!).
I wouldn't use more than 4 partitions and don't forget, the /boot (the directory where the kernel is) MUST be reacable by your BIOS.
And a boot manager is required: LILO, GRUB or the Windows Boot Manager.
You only need to format E as linux swap and F as EXT3. You can use Partition Magic to do this (or some distro's installation routine) and leave the NTFS partitions (C: and D alone. As I said, you don't even need to resize anything (if you don't want to). It would be nice to have a fat32 partition but it isn't needed for an installation.
As an example, my PC at work had a 20 gig HD as 1 NTFS partition.
I resized to create C: NTFS (WIN2K) plus an extended partition.
I then created the following logical partitions in the extended partition.
D: - WIN Data (fat32)
Slackware's FULL install option with all package groups, except games and the KDE international package, will take up about 2.2 gigs of an undivided / . You really should allow enough space so that you are not over 85% (or less) disk usage.
I just installed Slack on my old laptop (TP600). This is my current disk usage with no added software or data.
/dev/hda1 SWAP 302 MB
/dev/hda2 /boot EXT2 21 MB 4 MB used
/dev/hda3 / reiserfs 4.0 GB 2.2 GB used
/dev/hda4 /home reiserfs 561 MB 32 MB used
Now, you could certainly elect to not insall other package groups - GNOME or KDE for example - and not use as much disk space.
If I were you I would try to free up more of the F: directory. I think you'll be happier if you can give yourself 5 to 7 GB to play with. Then you can install everything so you can explore and still have room to add stuff (like Open Office).
Bare in mind that most other distros will take up more space than slack on a standard install.
What you have planned will work. With such a small linux partition, just have a single / directory (no separate /home). And be frugal with what you choose to install (KDE or Gnome - not both, etc).
One added caution with Partition Magic. If you ever plan on using partition magic after you install linux - even just to open the program and look at your partition scheme from within windows - DO NOT change the partition sizes using a linux fdisk during linux installation (formatting existing partitions is not a problem).
For example, I use PM8 to create SWAP and / partitions from within windows. I start the linux installation routine and I decide to resize my / to be / and /home using the linus fdisk. I then install linux. Every thing works fine. 2 months later I'm in windows and I decide to open PM for some reason. I reboot to start linux and "kernel panic". My linux installation will not boot.
It seems that PM does not like the way linux fdisk programs resize partitions. With PM7, I at least got the option to decide if PM was going to try to "fix" what it considered a problem. PM8 just goes ahead and "fixes" it, thus screwing up your linux install. (XP will be fine).
These were my experinces. YMMV
The short answers to your 2 questions are...
1. Depends on the distro. All that I've used give you some type of option to pick a format scheme and file system type. Please refer to my PM8 notes above.
2. See 1. I have found it easiest to create my partions using PM8 (which can only do EXT2, EXT3, Linux SWAP) and let the installation routine find the linux partions and let it create reiserfs or reformat the EXT3 partion prior to installation of your chosen package groups. In other words, resize with PM (on a dual boot situation), reformat existing linux partitions during linux install.