Re: linux and windows
Try Ubuntu Linux. It's free and can fit on to a single 700MB CD, so it's easy to download and install. When it installs the boot loader, it should detect Windows, and offer you the option of dual-booting with it. It worked with my laptop perfectly.
Windows XP Pro 17" LCD Monitor (1280 x 1024)
nForce3 250 Chipset Athlon 64 2800+ w/ C'n'Q
1 x 512MB DDR400 CL3 SDRAM 40GB IDE 7,200rpm HDD (8MB Cache)
nVidia GeForce MX420 64MB PCI On-Board Audio