I have been playing around with Linux for several years now. One of the first distributions I really liked and stuck to for a while was PCLinuxOS, mostly because it was light weight, fast and had an awesome GUI. It still has some great graphics and nice features and is currently listed at #10 in the Distrowatch rankings. There are several options to choose from when downloading, KDE, LXDE, XFCE, OpenBox and Full Monty. Here is a screenshot of the most common KDE.
My next pick would be Linux Mint which currently ranks #1 in the Distrowatch rankings. Mint is a very clean looking feature rich distribution and is extremely popular right now. It comes loaded with tons of tools and apps and should be able to do just about anything you need.
Number three would be Ubuntu, which currently ranks #2 on Distrowatch. Ubuntu has really been vital in the transition of some companies actually trashing Windows and going with Linux to operate their business. Ubuntu was one of the first distributions that had great drivers and compatibility with plug-in devices. The simple menus and configuration made it much easier for a Windows user to jump right in and learn how to use it. I often use Ubuntu inside a virtual machine and have it installed on some machines in my home.
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