Run Windows and Linux in Parallel
Lifehack.org has "Beginner's Guide: Run Linux like any other program in Windows", a dead-simple tutorial for running Linux on your Windows desktop with VMWare Player.
"... these directions are designed for the absolute beginner and will not require you to do anything unfamiliar, threatening, or permanent to your computer. When you are finished you will be able to run Linux like any other program in Windows and share files between Linux and Windows."
This article is great motivation to try out a new version of Linux when you might not have done so before, due to any number of barriers. I'm a Gentoo fan, so I'm taking this opportunity to give Ubuntu a shot.