After some research, I found a Ubuntu installation that is basically risk-free and easily removable: the Wubi Installer (which appears now to be the default installation option on the Ubuntu site). Download it here.
Wubi stands for Windows Ubuntu Installer. This program installs Ubuntu as if it were a standard Windows program (i.e. Word, Notepad, etc.) and can be uninstalled via the control panel. So, if you later decide you don’t like Ubuntu, it’s easy to uninstall.
I recommend that anyone who has a significant interest in technology install Ubuntu, just so they have a knowledge of it. Recently, I competed in UVa’s High School Programming Competition and they used Ubuntu as the operating system on which contestants would program. Several teams had no experience with Ubuntu, and were at a disadvantage to those who were comfortable in the operating system and navigating the terminal.
Summary: Wubi is a great installer for Ubuntu, as it’s safe (easily removable, and cannot format your hard drive). Everyone interested in technology should try Ubuntu just so they have experience with it.