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I currently have windows 7 installed on my laptop which is very capable of supporting ubuntu and windows 7 with respect to hardware. Im actually having startup issues in windows 7 atm, that being the main reason for my looking into ubuntu. Since i cannot boot windows 7 at this time, i want to "try" ubuntu on my system with windows 7 present, and am wondering if while i do this, I'll be able to see my windows files while running the ubuntu OS. I ultimately want to back up my files onto an external hard drive in ubuntu, and then go ahead with a full install of ubuntu on my system. Is this possible?

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You can use Ubuntu Live Cd/Usb to try it and also to backup your files .

If you are considering to install it in Dual Boot configuration , refer this Graphical explanation here.

How do I install Ubuntu?

and here too

Ubuntu / Windows Dual Boot.

Dual-Boot is recommended more than Wubi.

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Yes, when you install Ubuntu you still can access your Windows partition.

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  1. You can solve startup issues using a Windows 7 DVD and selecting the proper option.
  2. Yes you can see (read: mount) your Windows partition and check your files, and then make a back up. Boot the Ubuntu live CD get to the Try Ubuntu screen and then open the file manager (Nautilus) in it look out for the Windows partition click and it will mount it.
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