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I'm curious to try this, alas, I don't want to lose existing data. Will the Wubi install wipe my harddrive or will it install and run just like any other program?

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It uses the Windows interface to install Ubuntu along-side Windows, so the Windows dialog will appear on startup saying something like...

 Choose which Operating System to boot:

 Microsoft Windows XP Professional
 Ubuntu 12.10 i386

So, to answer your question, no. If you decide to uninstall Ubuntu later, then you will lose data associated with Ubuntu, If you decide to uninstall Windows later, you will lose data associated with Windows. But just to install, no.

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Thank you for the info. I have a lot of data on my harddrive that I don't want to lose due to accidental overwrite. :) –  Tourist Nov 21 '12 at 18:27
    
Your Welcome:) While I gave you the technical answer that IS correct, if your like me and are precautious, it won't hurt to make a backup first, shouldn't be needed.. but just in case. –  seanthewebber Nov 21 '12 at 19:46
    
Well, I have several hundred gigs of data, backing up isn't really feasible. I have my Windows installed on a separate partition, but didn't really want to make another one of those just to test drive this. –  Tourist Nov 21 '12 at 20:19
    
Oh boy.. lol Have you ran wubi yet? I did a little research and I am correct- it simply creates a new partition and adds that to (what would be Window's version of) GRUB. I would just read all the options carefully just to make sure. If you decide to uninstall Ubuntu, also be careful there aren't any options that say 'Erase C:\' –  seanthewebber Nov 21 '12 at 23:42
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