For someone who has used windows all their life moving to linux is not going to be a simple task. Somethings to consider are what apps that you use in windows that you would like to bring with you over to linux. Most common windows apps like word have wines that can crossover the program into linux. If you want to have a full linux office with spreadsheats, word processing, and slideshows then rather than getting a wine for the windows program try open office.org it is free for windoes linux and mac users and has all the capabilities of microsoft office.
What if you dont want to totally switch then you might want to think about a dual boot. With a dual boot configuration you can choose form more than one os on your hard drive. Now to learn how to configure a dual boot just goto the site of the linux distribution that you have obtained and view the documentation.
What you gain form an os like linux is better stability, security, and less clutter than windows. in windows xp you are ussing up processor memory just to make it look good so in linux you have less visual effects wich means you can use more of your processor for real programs
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