Here are my notes on installing and using Debian's GNU/Linux. Let me just say that Debian is more than a good OS to get on you PC! Time to format those Windoze partitions!
First of all I run through the steps I take with the Net-install method, to get debian up and running with all my chosen software, which is quite "minimal" as I try to add only what I find to be fit for a computing task. There's a lot more you could add or subtract depending on your requirements.
I began with Ubuntu, (a Debian-based distro, with lots of GUI extras and automatics) but soon switched over to Debian so that I could keep things lean and fast. I used Xfce to begin with for my Desktop Environment, because of it being lighter than other DE's, and then I used LXDE for a long while, which is even lighter in some areas, and really just as aesthetic. Now I've left LXDE and found I can just use Openbox alone, and without a display manager either.
So if you need an OS that just works about 100% all the time, which is fast, and customisable, and satisfaction-giving, perhaps you could look at these notes and glean some ideas (er, like I gleaned from the internet and tons of "trial and error" to make these notes!)
Gone are the days of a hanging system!
If you are totally new to Linux, or don't feel able to build it yourself, I would suggest you use a Debian live CD with a Desktop Environment included. That way you can just install "out of the box" and learn more later in your own time. See the links to Live CD's on the Xfce-Step1 page. If you have real problems trying to set up Debian (say, on a latest model laptop) and you currently don't have the time to work things out, you could see if a Ubuntu distro (e.g. Lubuntu), or Linux Mint, works better, so that at least you can get using Linux.
I resorted to SalixOS once when a PC I was installing Debian couldn't boot because of a kernel panic caused by its video card. Salix is friendly version of Slackware Linux, which runs just as fast as Debian, IMHO - see my SalixOS install notes