Well, nobody has yet mentioned running some flavor of Linux on a “virtual machine” in Windoze, so I’ll do my best to fill this gap, although I’d imagine the other contributors here could probably do a better job.
The software VirtualBox from Oracle is free to download and to use and, once installed in your Windows (7, Vista, 10), enables one to install another operating system within a “virtual machine” provided by VirtualBox, which itself would run in your Windows system. Incidentally, VirtualBox will also run on machines running Linux, Macintosh and Solaris systems, so it’s not limited to Windows.
I have myself often used VirtualBox to run various versions of Linux for evaluation within a VirtualBox virtual machine, and I must say I personally favour Linux Mint. One thing one should know from the outset is that Linux itself is in essence a command-line operating system (think DOS here), and that each of the various flavours of Linux often offer a choice of more than one graphical “overlay” or desktop (think Windows here). Each graphical desktop has its’ own “look and feel”, with it’s attendant admirers and critics, so it pays to do a bit of research before you decide which desktop you might prefer. Or simply install one and see if you like it.
So, my personal favorite is Linux Mint with the MATE desktop, but others here will doubtless have their own reasons for choosing something else. The bottom line here is that, when installing such an operating system
in a virtual machine, you can try it and, if you don’t like it, or if it won’t run - chuck it out and install another one. It won’t touch your main operating system AT ALL.
I note that Andrew VK3ARR has suggested you try Fedora: while I myself have some limited experience (thanks Andrew!) of using Fedora Server, which is a damn fine piece of software, I do have to say that when I tried to install the Fedora Workstation OS in a VirtualBox virtual machine, it turned out to be a disaster. Others may have had more luck. Installing Linux Mint, on the other hand, could not be easier!
You can find many guides online/youtube, etc. to installing VirtualBox and for subsequently installing some Linux variant in a virtual machine - it’s been done by millions, so you’d be in good company if you decide to try this approach. Good luck!