Lets talk about trying out Linux. Most of us are familiar with windows and windows products. But it will be a good idea to try out Linux because it is very fast easy to use and have access to all open source software for multimedia, programming and office tools.
There are two ways you can do it
1. Create a virtual machine
2. Dual boot/ USB boot with Windows
Creating a virtual machine: Allows you to create multiple bootable computers within your computer running on windows or any other operating system. You can create multiple virtual computers running on different operating systems without affecting your windows machine. Uninstalling is as easy as uninstalling any other software in your windows machine and wipes out all your virtual machines created.
# Virtual Box (http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads)
Free Open source software from Oracle , Easy to set up and use (Instructions are fairly easy to follow)
# VMware (http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/desktop_downloads/vmware_workstation/7_0)
Have to register , free to try with limited functionality , Have to buy license
Once the software is installed you can modify and install your desired operating system just like you would do on a clean new machine.
Dual boot/ USB boot Linux with Windows:
In the boot menu you will have to choose which operating system you want to boot with and work with one and have to restart the machine to switch operating system. Works fine with Linux. But to try other operating systems or different versions of windows itself you will have to partition the hard drive (primary) and may cause issues with host operating system if instructions are not followed properly ( require advance knowledge)
If you are trying to dual boot Windows 7 or Vista with lower versions keep boot loaders handy (http://www.vistabootpro.org/index.php/site/information/dual_boot_windows_7). to fix any boot errors in host system.
#. Unetbootin (http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/) (Do not require installation)
Makes a bootable USB drive from a choice of linux distro (ISO) you have already downloaded (offline) or lets you download and make a boot device from a list of linux distros online. Once a bootable USB disk or CD is made restart the system press F12 to select boot from USB or CD/DVD drive or HD.
This method saves you from any possible harm to your host Operating system and keep aside can boot to Linux only when you need with the USB drive. (Probably a best way to try out different distros)
#. WUBI Installer (http://wubi.sourceforge.net/)
for UBUNDU Linux.
Download the file and run, make the choice of UBUNDU desktops you want to use )
It keeps Windows as it is, Wubi only adds an extra option to boot into Ubuntu. Wubi does not require partitions of your PC. It works just like any other application within windows. Uninstalling is same as for other software in your add or remove program section.