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The best way is to download some LiveCDs/LiveDVDs and boot your laptop from that medium. That way you can have a look at the distro, try it out, see if it detects your hardware correctly without installing anything to harddisk. If you found one you like then you can install it to harddisk using all your harddisk space or resizing your Windows partition and making your laptop dualboot. If you're completely new to Linux then Ubuntu or LinuxMint would be a great starting point. Have a look at DistroWatch.com
for distros available. Download some of those in the top 10, try them out and go with the one you like best. If you have any problems or questions running, installing, using the distro you choose, then post them here and you'll get an answer for sure.