Wipe Hard Drive [xp installed] and install Linux from scratch?

Just wondering how difficult this is? I want to completely wipe the hard drive and put linux on it, anyone know the process? or a link that could help mayhap? thanks
Update: And which version of linux would be best suited? [and free]
Update 2: I've looked on websites and the best i found was that you can start your pc with a linux disk and it will give the option to format the HD.. but then how will my keyboard work? and will it recognise anything inside my computer after i wipe the HD? [usb ports, cd-rom etc]
Update 3: Reason for this being, i have a new laptop and an old pc which i now dont use, its full of programs that are unwanted and parts of programs that i cannot get rid of. It's not important keeping anything on the hard drive because the computer never gets used. I'd like to get to know linux and though the old... show more Reason for this being, i have a new laptop and an old pc which i now dont use, its full of programs that are unwanted and parts of programs that i cannot get rid of. It's not important keeping anything on the hard drive because the computer never gets used. I'd like to get to know linux and though the old machine would be a good host instad of creating a partition on my new laptop. Plus if anything goes wrong its no loss.
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