Thanks Paul.Welcome to the group. As far as selecting a distribution to start with, there are as many opinions as there are distributions, a whole hockey-sock full. To start with, let us know what level of experience you have, that is have you looked around any, or are you just sticking your toe in the water for the first time?
One place to see just what I am talking about, that is the multiple distributions, is DistroWatch.
There is a listing on the right side of the most popular 100 distributions, rated by the number of hits on their site. When you decide on one or two to try, let us know, and we will assist you in making a bootable dvd or thumb drive to actually try it. The best part about this is that most distributions will allow you to test run from the media without installing. This is called a"live DVD" or "live USB drive". Check it out, and let us know. you cannot just copy the install file to a dvd and expect it to run. It takes a bit more than that, but we can assist you with that.
...you cannot just copy the install file to a dvd and expect it to run...
I completely understand. I have to put up with windows at work (there I go using 4 letter words!), but I have a choice at home, and prefer Linux. My preferred distro is Slackware, but I have other distros in use also.I'm just looking for something to replace Windows
Boodhoo ... sounds like Indian-Mauritius.
(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, trips over world atlas ... curses)
Hi Raakhee and welcome to linux.org . I am from Australia, east coast.
Some of the choices that are available to you can be influenced by the type of computer you have. If you let us know the brand name and model number, we can better advise. For example, I am typing this from my laptop, a Toshiba Satellite S70t-A, about 3 years old. With its configuration, I can easily run any of those hundreds of Linux Paul referred to.
As well as DistroWatch, an excellent starting point, there is an article here
... which gives a little detail on some of the Desktop Environments (DEs) available. Some of the Distributions (distros) have a number of options available, others might just have the one or two. Think of them as being a little like the differences in "look and feel" between Windows 7, 8 and 10.
... or USB stick. That is quite so.
If you have ever "burned" a DVD for data storage, or burned a music or movie DVD, similar process, but we use special tools. There are ones available (free) which can be downloaded and installed on Windows, or your Windows may have one already.
So let us know your Windows version as well.
Yet another option for you is to download a Linux Distro file (called .iso), burn it to USB/DVD, and install it alongside Windows. This is called dual-booting.
You can then evaluate how you like Linux (or not) and whether it suits your purposes, and if you choose to commit to it, you can then blow away your Windows, and recover the extra space for your Linux. After backing up any personal data you wish to safeguard, of course.
So, many many options, but Linux is all about freedom of choice.
I went totally Linux 4 years ago, after 25 years with Windows, and I have not looked back.
That sure is a lot of information.
All good advice above, and welcome to the forums! I would comment here to note that you don't need the super large size USB flash drives that are available these days (64 GB and larger). As Wizard said, 4 GB (up to 8 GB or 16 GB) are really ideal and should be much cheaper to purchase 2 or 3 of them. They are reusable, but it is nice to have several so that you can boot up on one version of Linux, then remove that one and boot up on another to compare them to find what you like best.My best advice mirrors that of Paul ... arm yourself with a small supply of USB sticks, 4GB or larger, they can all be reused later.