Originally Posted by jeriq
Also, do I have to install it "inside" windows, or can it be placed next to windows on the drive I don't want windows running at the same time.
You can either-
Install it with virtualisation (this is not what you want, as that is 'running inside windows')
Native install (what most people do)
The Windows-based Ubuntu Installer (Wubi) allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu from within Microsoft Windows. It lets a Microsoft Windows user try Ubuntu without risking any data loss due to disk formatting or partitioning.
Wubi requires Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8.
NOTE: Hibernation is not supported when installing Ubuntu via Wubi.
WUBI is easiest. I dont like it much myself, but it does make the install procedure simpler, no need to shrink windows partitions to make enough space to install.
If you do go for a 'native install' get 12.04, and I'd get 64bit. 32bit will work, but 64bit is the way to go IMO.
I would not get 13.04. Its support length is way to short (9 months from release to end of life, and its already 4 months old.....)