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[–] Pinyaka 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Install virtualbox on Windows. Use it to create a virtual machine with 5-10GB of disk space and then try installing linux to that. You'll get a good feel for the installation process with no risk of messing anything up. Try creating a few virtual machines with a couple of distros (Debian, Mint, Arch) and try some of those with different desktop environments (KDE, Gnome Desktop, XFCE) just to see what you like.

Personally, I'd recommend Debian with KDE as a starter. Most of the popular distros are based on Debian to some degree and Debians "Stable" branch is really, really stable (The "testing" branch is actually pretty stable and may be required for really new hardware). KDE is probably the closest thing to Windows to start with and you can always install multiple desktop environments to play with (although you may run into problems if the same user tries to use both KDE and Gnome regularly as they use some of the same config files).

Remember too that Windows will run in a virtual machine as well, so if you've got a windows install disk you can always install it to a VM and run it like another program under linux. A lot of graphically intensive games won't run well in a Windows VM, but things like Office do.