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Go and download some live DVD isos and burn them t0 DVDs, boot and try them. Checkout Distrowatch.com.
Any I've tried have just worked "out of the box", Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, etc. Once you find one which works and suits you, install it and you're done. You shouldn't have to make something up from bits and pieces, most distros will already include any drivers you require.
Note that Live DVDs run in memory so your loaded OS isn't affected.
There are a ton of instructions within these forums about how to make a bootable live CD/DVD from an iso image so do have a good scout round and have fun!