[ubuntu] How exactly does 12.10 install on Win7 machine?

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I installed 12.10/64 on my Win7/64 machine by downloading the setup file from the website. It went flawlessly (installing my wireless printer was a 3-hr challenge, but I got it sorted). I have a dual - boot option screen, but I'm wondering how exactly does it get installed and run. Is it on its own partition or does it run from a ram disk or a virtual machine of some type? I also downloaded the IMG file. Should I have used that to install? I definitely wan to keep Ubuntu on my machine. Also, I can see my external USB drives, but none of my internal hard drives (I have 3, one of which (Hardware)