Does Debian recognize Windows 7 formatted hard drives?
I am currently using Windows 7 and I want to switch to Debian 7.2 and I have lots of important files on D and E drives.
So should I have to format only C drive or all (if Debian won't recognize other drives) for installing Debian?
Yes. Debian will be able to read and write from/to NTFS formatted drives with the ntfs-3g package.
If I recall correctly, that package is installed by default, but if it's not, it's a simple command to install it - apt-get install ntfs-3g off the top of my head.
apt-get install ntfs-3g
Yes you can safely dual boot both system. You can repartition your C: drive to hold both systems. Simply disconnect your D: and E: drive from the motherboard to be on the safe side. You can't accidentally format them if they aren't connected. When you are done installing just reconnect your D: and E: drives. They will show up normally in both systems.
Is it possible to unlink a folder in NTFS rather than delete it? ie. Can I simply delete it from the filetable?
The reason I want to do this is because I have a bunch of stuff that I've copied off from a Linux computer, and it seems that ntfs3g has done something funny in allowing filenames that shouldn't have been (for instance pipes in filenames) as well as linking some things... for instance ".wine/dosdevices/c:" is being recognised as a link to my c drive and it won't delete it without clearing out my windows drive! So I thought that perhaps I could just unlink the .wine directory and be done with it, except I can't work out how.
I would suggest remounting over NTFS-3G and cleaning up from there rather than the native NTFS delete attempts.
In fact if might be easier if you can delete the entire copy from NTFS-3G and
copy again skipping special files (links, pipes, et al).
Windows has command line fsutil utility. You could use it to manage links.
Have you tried connecting to your Windows machine via SMB from a Linux or OSX machine and deleting the files over that connection? I've run into a similar situation in the past and that worked for me.
Delete the files using the explicit paths: del "\\?\C:\some\absolute\path\.wine\dosdevices\c:".