Well vista I don't have much on for you, but why dont you make a 5 gig partition on your laptop and put linux on that, linux is not as difficult as people think, it's just like you said, only a different feel... But you can start to play with linux so long, just get ubuntu and if you dont know how to do something on it then all you do is google "How to" and whatever you want to do and you will come accross alot of how to papers with step by step instructions on how to do what you want.