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 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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Other things:
1) The learning curve. Do you have the time and patience to learn? Windows is mainly graphics based, but Linux is not.
2) Distribution. Some are good for doing things visually or automatically, others require you to do it all by hand. (I stray away from mini-distros, because by the time everything you need is installed, it's a full distro anyway.)
3) Do you want a DOS-based version to learn on?
4) Can you handle it if your computer is trashed? If you have one computer, then I advise getting another to play with. Even a 386 can run a version of Linux.
5) If you want to run X-Windows, do you have enough system resources? I once had it take over an hour just to load. (P166 with probably 16 MB RAM...I don't remember.)

Well, if someone has only used windows his whole life, A complete transition would be an extremely difficult, if not a foolish thing to do.
I would NOT recommend such an action to any "windows-only" person.
A dual-boot system is the way to go. It's not hard to set up, and the old windows os w/ all the files on it is still preserved -- meanwhile the OPTION of using linux is still available.
If a person decides that Linux is the best os for their need, then they can gradually transition into the new os, otherwise, if they feel that Linux does not fit their style, then they can just keep using their old windows boot, and completely forget about that other Linux partition.
--My humble opinion about transitioning from windows to linux ;-).

-Soral 3.0

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I always recommend a try out period with a LIVECD first. The two I recommend are:

1. MEPIS (the best Desktop Linux I have ever used)
2. Knoppix (the best Desktop Linux anyone who hasn't tried MEPIS has ever used)

So, give those a go with a LiveCD (most have a hard disk install option) to 'try out' things before you commit fully. After you run a Linux system for a while, you'll feel more comfortable migrating to a dual boot or fresh install.

For a linux noob who wants most applicartions readialy installed, A livecd function and no server/development stuff the get PCLINUX OS

yea I have wine and cedega on my ubuntu and it isnt that good steam will run but not as smooth as it does on windows. Best bet if you need a program that you have on windows than look around for one that is natively linux.

Office 97, quicken etc..... are good

Have never managed to get fallout to run tho

slax or ubuntu live cd's are good for noobies. might consider DSL(damn small linux) as well.

theres a good html getting started guide you can access from the desktop

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