question b4 install

I’m currently using windows7 on a desktop and laptop.I want to install opensuse12 on my desktop.
If I backup all my current windows files to and external usb hard drive will I be able to access them under opensuse12 later?

Yes, you will be able to get those files. The only way I could think of that this would not work would be if you used Windows 7 backup or some other backup system that linux does not use.

What would be the best way to back my current files up then?

Simply copy them in their parent folders to external disk. i.e. copy entire “My Documents”

thanks for the help-planning ahead for the phone call from my wife when she wants a file on my computer.