There are hundreds of flavors of the Linux operating system. (You can check most of them out on Distro Watch)
For new users, we recommend the simplicity of Linux Mint, using the MATE desktop. This will give you an experience closest to what you were used to running Windows XP. Later, if you are feeling adventurous, you might like to try some of the other Linux flavors, aimed at specific interests like music, engineering, art, etc.
You don’t even need to change anything on your computer to try Linux, as Mint will run directly from a DVD Rom disk, letting you play with the operating system before you install it.
When you’re ready to try Linux, then go straight to our tutorial on getting started: Installing Linux Mint