just read trough the thread, and I just wanna give U one good advice.
This is valid for Mandrake 9.0 combined with any windows version or even DOS.
I've been installing Linux several times trying to have my machine dual boot into either Windows or Linux (actually I've been experimenting with triple and quad boot as well, if that's what one could call adding more OSystems, ha ha)
Make sure your bios is set to booting from CD as first choice, and your MASTER ("win"c: drive)disk as second boot choice.
After installing windows U have to set the disk that is dedicated to Linux as MASTER on your Primary IDE controller(and connect the windows disk as slave on the same controller).
When U do that and install Mandrake 9.0, Mandrake will automatically recognise the Win boot sector for your slave (containing any Win installation) and auto configure the bootloader with an option to boot into windows (this works, I did it 4 days ago)
What happens if U don't do that :
If your Linux disk still is connected as slave during installation, Linux have to put it's boot sector on the MASTER disk of the PRIMARY IDE controller, this means that your Windows boot sector is being overwritten, which really isn't that bad... until U wanna go back to only having Windows as an OS on your beloved computer. U can format your Linux drive as much as U want afterwords boot LILO or GRUB (depending on which boot loader you choose) will still come up when you boot your windows drive... That's actually the best that can happen, the worst case is that your windows disk even might get unbootable and U have to reinstall...
If U do it the way i described just before, U can when ever U want to just swith back your Windows drive and Linux drive, setting the Windows drive as MASTER on your PRIMARY IDE controller and the computer will boot into windosw only, as if there was never any other OS there...
I was kind of in the same situation as U before I converted to Linux, I wanted to dual boot + being able to delete Linux again if I wasn't satisfied, and I did it wrong so many times, and ended up having to reinstall windows again, whih is really anoying, so I ended up putting a lot of effort into this dual boot thing and how to get it "right"...
I've got several more ways for U to do this, but if you're a newbie to this dualboot thing, I see this solution as the safest and easiest one
good luck man,
and may Tux b with U