This is my first instructable.
Linux is a great operating system -If you know how to use it-, and most people don't really want to be bothered installing, and whatnot, but it's really not hard to install, and if you use it often, it'll start being extremely easy to use.
The picture is my current desktop configuration, and I'll go through the programs I used to do that.
Step 1: What Is This "Linux"?
You've got many choices with linux. What do you want to use it for? Video-editing? Music-editing?
These different Linux options are commonly called "distros", and some of the most popular are Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and Linux Mint.
These "distros" can be downloaded in .iso form, which I'll go into detail about later.
I'll be using Linux Mint for this instructable, so I'd recommend if you did too, but you're free to pick whichever you want.
(I'd recommend distrowatch.com for looking for a certain type of linux distro)
Step 2: Downloading and Burning
Okay, now we really start!
To download, pick the distro of your choice, and if you know that you have a 64-bit processor, download the x64 edition, but if not, just download the universal (32-bit) edition.*
After a few hours of downloading, you'll wind up with an approximately 699 megabyte .iso file.
What you need to do is burn that to a disc.** To do that, you can use MagicISO, and the process is pretty straightforward. If you need help, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
*The 32-bit (aka x86) works with x64, however, the x64 does not work with 32-bit
**You can use a program called "Unetbootin" to boot off a flash drive. I won't go into that in this instructable, I might do it later though.
Step 3: First Boot!
Now, we need to shutdown the computer, and get into the BIOS.
The BIOS (in addition to many other things) tells the computer what to boot off of when it starts up.
To do this, hit the F9 key, DEL key, ESC key, or the F10 key, it'll only be one of these, but it differs on many computers.
Now, try to get to a page labeled "Boot options", once you're there, you need to put "CD/DVD drive" to the top, and the hard drive in second.
Now, hit F10, or ESC, and goto "Exit saving changes", and hit enter.
Okay, halfway there!
Now, you need to put the CD in the drive, and it should boot to the Linux boot screen.
Click try "without installing". Wait.
....And it should boot without any errors.
Step 4: Playing Around
Okay, now, as any person would, feel free to play around, but keep in mind, this is much, much slower than it will be when you really have it installed.
(Keep in mind, anything you do now, won't be saved)
Now, when you're done click "Install" on the desktop.
Step 5: The Install Process
I don't have the install dialogue box in front of me, but it should be pretty self-explanatory from here.
When you get to the hard drive partitioning stage, make sure you pick the right options, as the wrong one will erase the whole hard drive!
"Install alongside *windows, or whatever operating system you have*" will keep everything.
Now, more waiting. (We're almost there!)
*Your menu box will look different than the one in the picture.
Step 6: Base System
Okay, if you've made it this far, good job!
Now, you've got to have a basic understanding of the terminal.
To install programs, you'll be using sudo apt-get.
However, I'll just paste the whole thing to make it easier.
Connect it to your network, either with wireless, or with a wired network.
Run the update that it's probabally suggesting, while it's doing that, right click on the bottom menu bar and click new panel, than delete the one on the bottom.
I'd recommend adding the Ubuntu menu to the bar. (Similar to what I have)
Step 7: Customize It!
Okay, now you're pretty much done.
Open the terminal.
sudo apt-get install gnome-do gnome-do-plugins" (without quotes) and set it to "docky" mode to get the menu bar.
Step 8: Any Questions?
If you have questions, put them in the comments section.