Hi, I want to put the operating system that I use which is xp home on to a partition in the harddrive then, I am told, If I need to re-install windows for any reason all my files will stay on the harddrive rather than me having to back them up...Please help
To create additional partitions on your hard drive without the loss of existing data requires a program such as Norton's (previously PowerQuest's) "Partition Magic".
The alternative, provided you have a proper Windows XP CD (not a manufacturer's "recovery" CD), would be to wipe the drive completely and then reinstall Windows in a partition that only uses part of the hard drive. The remaining "Unallocated space" can then be partitioned and formatted to create additional drives. DOING THIS WOULD DELETE ALL OF YOUR EXISTING DATA.
There are other options which might be easier, such as installing a second hard drive in the PC and either backing up your files to that or storing all of your personal data on that. Similarly, you could use an external USB 2.0 Hard drive for your files, or at least a copy of them. A synchronisation program, such as "Allway Sync" click here would let you keep an up to date copy of your files on a second drive.
Partitioning one drive is not a good idea. It is much better to buy an external HD and ghost the image to that. The drive can be taken away from the computer for safe keeping. I have seen too many HD failures which have made any partitions as much use as a chocolate teapot. Backing up to the same drive is madness when there are much better solutions.
It will be a rare event that requires you to do a complete re-install and an external HD can be used to store lots of other things as well as running programmes from.