Linux Mint is an Ubuntu/Debian clone. It is reliable, and provides one of the best workstation desktop environments from what I have heard. As far as installing it "around an installed Windows" environment, you should be able to dual boot it with Windows.
I asked because I read it is probably the closest linux distro to that of Windows. If it were windows, which it never will be. Is it flexible with drivers, what I hope mint is, a distro that installs with it and right off the bat is easy to use, then when I feel mature with the distro I can delve deeper. Equal to someone who never has used DOS (as is quite common today) and learning DOS, going backwards.
I downloaded the latest version of Mint and everything worked right out of the box. Of course, this was also the case with Ubuntu 11.10 and Fedora 14+. It will come down to preference of default desktop managers for this decision. If you like Unity, use Ubuntu. If you like Gnome3 with apt, use Ubunut or Mint. If you like the RPM based distros, choose Fedora.