In the issues that I have had with linux installs it has always been the video cards that I have issues with. I also never work on laptops and due to that issue have reservations upgrading.
A seven year old laptop (c. 2005) may run with an old version of distros like Antix, Absolute Linux v. 12, Ubuntu LTS or Mint 5 Elyssa. However do not hesitate to TRY INSTALL Linux Mint v. 14
, who knows if your video card is readily supported. Linux Mint is one respectable distribution I always recommend to new comers because of its near-commercial support quality, even up today I have a Mint v. 5 running strong in an old laptop. However, if you have problems with video you are welcome to come back here post the errors and other members might be ready to share and help.
Don't hesitate: All versions of Microsoft Windows (desktop or enterprise) are proven to be poor systems, its commercial value merely relies on "driver support" other than that it is a piece of garbage.
Hope that helps.