A word to my Windows-using readers. You know I love Linux, and use Ubuntu Linux at home and work. I hope you would give it a try but would understand if it doesn't appeal to you, or (at least) you get enough value from a Microsoft product to stay put.
But there's still a good reason to have a copy of an Ubuntu Linux Live CD -- which allows you to run the operating system without installing it, and which when removed returns to what you had before -- and that's file recovery. One of the problems I had with Windows it that it would crash and take all of your data with it, which some Microsoft users treat like some kind of unavoidable natural disaster.
Running Ubuntu Linux with a Live CD would allow you -- with another piece of software you can download freely -- to recover most or all of what you would have otherwise lost. Ubuntucat shares several such laments, and points back to an earlier set of article that tell you how to rescue your files.
So I suggest: print out those details and file them with a Live CD copy of Ubuntu Linux and file them away against disaster. And keep your backups up to date.
A bonus: I'll send a Live CD copy of Ubuntu Linux to the first person with a United States address (APO/FPO included) who asks. Contact me.