I take it by the vortex distribution you mean Generation Linux? If so, a couple of points:
* Your root password is "admin" by default (in case you weren't aware)
* Generation Linux has what's known as a "Live CD" - if you boot up with it in your drive (and your BIOS checks CDs at boot time), it'll load straight into 'real' Linux, but running solely off the CD instead of off a hard drive. If you want to do lots of things that involve persistant storage, then perhaps VMWare is the way to go - but if you just want to get used to the distribution, a live CD is great for that.
In fact, I think Generation is only
distributed as a live distro, so while I was going to point you to the CD link, it seems you have one already!
Just something to bear in mind - running Linux as Linux will give you a much better idea of what it's like (for speed and hardward support, amongst other things) than running it in Windows with VMWare virtual hardware.