Why don’t you try something new, interesting and challenging this is new year? What could be better than trying GNU/Linux on your computer. So now you will have to install a new operating system. You have a computer installed with a different OS. Now, backing up all your data, installing a new OS and getting to know it for the first time can be a pain. So, let’s do all this in a easy way. What if I tell you that there’s no need to worry about creating a new partition to install another OS for a dual-boot. Instead, you can use softwares that virtualize another OS into your host Operating System. This way you can access all your files from different Operating systems at the same time without a reboot, as is the case with dual-boot.
You can use free softwares like Virtual PC(from microsoft) or Sun Virtual Box to create a virtual environment of a GNU/Linux version you want to try. Ubuntu is most suitable for a new user. However, there are many other distributions of GNU/Linux. If you are new to using GNU/Linux I recommend you to use it on a virtual environment before completely changing over to GNU/Linux. Earlier I have written two different posts on using Virtual PC and Sun Virtual Box. However, the illustration used in those posts is for using Windows XP on Windows Vista host. Similar steps are required to install GNU/Linux on your Windows host machine.
You can also try VMware, another good software for your virtualization needs. Also, Amit Agarwal mentions in his blog that Parallels workstation is now being given away with license if you register with Lunarpages. Get the details here.