I'd do a little research on which distro will work best out of the box with your hardware. Some computer models will work seamlessly while others are not even worth the effort.
With my last laptop, I would have needed to make my own frankenstien version by hacking together pieces of other distros if I wanted a suitable OS. With my desktop, I slapped Linux Mint on there and everything worked fine.
I've used Linux exclusively for about two years now for business and personal reasons, and have experienced significantly fewer problems while doing so. I'm finished with Windows for good, and couldn't be happier.
For desktops and desktop-replacement grade laptops, I'd recommend Kubuntu. The visual settings are great, and the distro doesn't come saddled with the Unity crap that Ubuntu does. I found the transition from Windows to Kubuntu extremely easy.
Linux has alternative programs for most Windows programs, most of which have worked better for me. For Windows-only software, I run Wine and they work fine.
For smaller, older, or lower-powered machines, I recommend Bodhi Linux. It runs with very little power and computers that bog down with Windows run very quickly. It isn't as intuitive as Kubuntu, but still is relatively easy to learn.
There are so many varieties of Linux that it just take a bit of experimentation before most people will find one that suits them.