[all variants] Partition?

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I just formatted an older hard drive of mine and I have a few questions about putting a linux distro on it. I want to make a dual boot with XP and Zorin Os I think, but with XP on one drive and Zorin on the other. I'm currently downloading the .iso. Would I need to partition it, if I plan to use the entire drive for linux, or is that even necessary? (it's a 100GB drive) Would I be able to access the files (music, pictures etc.) on my other drive, or outside the linux partition? Just so you know, I'm an absolute beginner with linux, but I'm pretty darn computer savvy, if I do say so myself ; (Hardware)