Inherited an old computer. I have formatted 10Gb master as fat32 to use without partitioning for ubuntu as o/s. Can i format slave hdd 160Gb as ntfs and expect Ubuntu 12.04 to read and write to it? Any ideas?
Yes, Ubuntu will read from and write to NTFS just fine.
However, Ubuntu's ability to repair or recover data from a damaged NTFS partition is not as great. So you might want to use a filesystem like ext4, assuming you don't need to access it from other operating systems.
Another benefit of ext4 over NTFS is that Ubuntu will use CPU resources more efficiently to access ext4 (and most filesystems) than NTFS. But this is insignificant, in most use cases.
Ubuntu (and Linux in general) does not install to fat32 or ntfs partitions. Also, you will need quit ea bit more than 10GB for the main OS partition, if it is not a server install. For example, my main partition is currently using 14 GB. You might want to just have the installer do the automatic partitioning.
As for reading and writing to NTFS, it is possible, but if you aren't using your system in a dual-boot fashion, and don't need to share data such as MP3s, Movies, etc… between Ubuntu and Windows both, then I'd recommend not bothering with NTFS as a partition for storing such data.