Quote: Originally Posted by LittleJay
One of the easiest ways to try out Ubuntu on your laptop would be to download the .iso file and burn it to DVD. Then you can boot Ubuntu from your DVD drive and try it out, before installing anything. If you decide to install Ubuntu, I would recommend creating a system image of your laptop and saving it to an external HDD. That way if something goes wrong, or you decide you don't want Ubuntu anymore, you can put your laptop back to the way it was.
This is the way to go. Ubuntu's website has great instructions on how to install the OS right beside your Windows, as well as just trying it out without installing it. It is called a Live Session, when you boot into an OS without installing it. I'm not going to say don't worry about driver
compatibility, but the Linux kernel has the broadest range of support for drivers
and hardware compatibility. I was also skeptical at first about dual-booting, but it is actually very simple, and I love it. I love my Windows so I could not get rid of it, but I also love Ubuntu (and many other Linux distros). I have had up to 4 OS's installed on my hard drive at one time, the only downside is storage capability. If you only have Windows and Ubuntu, then you have no worries about space, as long as you give Ubuntu a good bit of space to begin with. But like I said, and like the previous user said, simply burn the current stable Ubuntu to a DVD (Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10), and reboot your computer with the DVD in the drive, and select TRY Ubuntu when your computer boots. If everything works during this live session, then Ubuntu will run fine on your laptop. I currently am dual-booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04 on a desktop over 10 years old, so unless your laptop is REALLY old, like from the early/mid 90's, then there is probably driver support for your hardware. I have installed it on old and new laptops alike, just try Ubuntu Live first. You'll definitely enjoy the change and a new world of programs and computing, so I hope it works for you!