I have an existing windows installation with important applications. I want to take advantage of unix tools and OS environment of Ubuntu. What would be the best way for me to 'overlay' Ubuntu on top of existing windows environment? - I need to run both OS and use the windows apps everyday (the windows apps are computationally intensive like Matlab--i'll migrate these apps to use the linux version one by one once I see the setup is better for the way I work) - I would like to have ubuntu to see the windows file system (Windows XP, windows Vista, windows 7 for three diff computers) - I would like to retain maximum performance for both OS - I want to safely implement this change and be able to reverse this without too much trouble.
I know about Wubi but want a more permanent solution. I'm thinking repartitioning and installing Ubuntu,.. then from there start something like Zen to 'boot' into windows to run my windows app.. while being able to do things like search thru the windows file system from Ubuntu..
Can you please help with details/links on how to do this satisfying the constraints above? Thanks for your help.