Perhaps you could find a LUG (Local User's Groug) in your area and find someone to give some face-time help.
It can be confusing at first, just don't jump on your horse and go galloping off in all directions. Take it one step at a time.
A serial port modem would let you really start learning, since you could get help while in Linux and not have to do all that damn re-booting. My useless piece of an ACER computer had wincrap installed as well.
I was glad when it blew up.
I bought real hardware then.