I am building my PC, finally. I got a 160 SATA GB hard drive. I am going to install Windows XP Pro. In the near future, I will install Linux of some flavor.
1. How do I partition the drive?
2. Should I partition now or can I wait till I am ready for Linux to partition it?
3. Is there any truth to rumor that a drive this huge will make the PC boot up slowly if the OS is not installed on a small partition?
4. Do I choose FAT32 or NTFS?
To partition the drive simply run Windows XP setup. It'll take care of it for you.
You can wait until you're ready to install Linux. Before you run the Linux setup it would probably be better to make your Windows partition smaller as the Linux partition system is a bit more complex and usually partitions made by Linux and ones made by Windows don't play well together.
I, personally, despise partitions. I've never chopped my drive into bitesize pieces and I've never had slow Windows booting times. I can't offer evidence either way on that rumor, but I'd think that if there was a difference it would be very small.
Choose NTFS. There's no reason to use FAT32 anymore.
Check on the Linux capabilities for NTFS. (Are they compatible?)
What's good about partitions:
1. Can stop some virus's from affecting other partitions.
2. Allows faster seek-times (Ex. Swap and OS).
3. Makes back-ups faster because data is often categorized.
There are drive tools that can resize partitions, so if you have or can get one of those, don't worry about sizing your windows partition perfectly right away. Your linux partition will probably be pretty small, unless you're already used to working in Linux and will have it set up for handling video and media and don't want it using your ntfs partition for any of it.
I have heard of Windows XP Pro having a problem with drives over 137GB, before Service Pack 1 is installed. If you have one of the new XP disks that has SP1 built in, no worries - otherwise, you might look around for info on the barrier. A couple months ago I tried installing windows on a raid drive, and after six attempts it just would not work. Then I removed my 200GB backups drive from the motherboard's IDE channel, and the next install attempt went through without any problems. The setup program wasn't even supposed to be using the 200 gig drive, but somehow it being there for windows to detect caused a problem. Windows Setup was even incorrectly recognizing the size of my Raid drive (was finding 20GB less space than there was) whenever the 200 gig was installed. So, check up on that 137GB boundary thing while you still have your computer running.