I would like to try out a Linux OS. Thinking of Damn Small Linux since it can be booted from whatever. but I am wondering if there is any way to access files on your windows hard drive (do not want to get rid of the windows quite yet) ? also are the files with usual windows extentions such as txt, rtf, exe, jpeg, mp3, avi and so on supported and can be opened within Linux (not essentially Damn Small linux)?
Fat32 should be read straight off the bat with all mainstream distros. NTFS may not be included by default and will be read only.
Yes MP3s, JPGs etc can still be read. The only thing you might need to be weary of are proprietary formats like WMA and AAC which will not be supported by default because of licensing.
NTFS write support is now in the kernel althought its probally not built in by default, if you use a decent media player with the plugins you should be able to play them. ie amarok or similar.
I hope your not using Damn small linux as your first distro ??
You certainly should not try DSL as your first linux distro.
Use something that's easy to install, such as Fedora Core or SuSE.
If you don't want to put it on your hard drive, use a bootable CD, such as Knoppix or SuSE Live Eval.
All the distros I mentioned (If you get a recent version) can access FAT and read NTFS without any modification. You can even install them on a FAT partition (I wouldn't suggest it).