There are far too many ways to get Ubuntu on your PC.
1. the network install
2. the live-CD install over everything.
3. the live-CD run off the CD - take out when done - no install
4. Dual-boot two operating systems, same hard drive - two partitions
5. Dual-boot two operating systems, two hard drives
6. Linux on a flash drive
7. Linux as a guest operating system in a virtual machine
8. Used WUBI to install Ubuntu inside a XP folder.
WUBI is the official Ubuntu Windows Installer and It works!! Here's the story. My laptop a Gateway 4026 runs XP with all the stuff. I popped in a Ubuntu 9.10 live-CD and it runs but no sound. Then I boot-up XP and insert the Ubuntu disk to read it, behold, Wubi comes up and asks me if I want to install it into XP??????
This is not exactly a virtual machine but it makes a folder in the XP file system and formats that space to run Linux. So...........what I did was make a large windows partition and let Wubi put Ubuntu in it. Ubuntu installs just like normal and installs GRUB. I reboot, select XP or Ubuntu and have at it.
Ubuntu runs fine, no sound but fine. I went into Synaptic application loader, got the Alsa, universal linux sound architecture, hoping it would work. Then I ran the system testing stuff under System Admin. It found the sound chipset and now I got sound. I am so amazed it worked, old laptops are so proprietary.
There is something so magical about a laptop booting up to Linux. I keep saying the PC should be bigger. I keep looking behind the screen. Next I will look into the wireless connection, I've got a driver for that!