So I just want to install Ubuntu along with Windows 8.1. I want to be able to load any operating system during startup at will. However, I want to install Ubuntu the right way, to avoid any potential problems.
Is it recommended to back up the computer before installing Ubuntu? Currently, 75.8 GB of data is taken up in the hard drive of the computer, out of 445 GB total. There is about 369 GB of free space.
How to back it up correctly so I could restore it again as if nothing had happened, in case something goes wrong? I understand that backing up means, first the operating system files (Windows 8.1), and then the personal files or data. What about the program files? Are they supposed to be included in the personal files, or just My Documents, My Pictures, etc. etc.? Would I need to use several USB drives? Perhaps I would need to buy a 65 GB USB drive to store the main bulk of my computer's data to back it up?
Also I read on some websites that a certain version of Ubuntu has "spyware" built into it. Is it 14.0? I would like to install a version of Ubuntu that does not have the built in "spyware" feature. I would not want any private companies to have a data collection from my computer.
I think that I would need to buy yet another USB drive to copy the Ubuntu installer onto it; is that right? What size does it approximately take up?
Also I would like some advice on how to properly format the aforementioned hard drive of my computer, to allocate space for the Ubuntu partition, and make sure that I won't break the Windows one.
How much of a partition for the Ubuntu swap space is necessary?