I own an HP Pavilion dv6700 laptop and I'm thinking about wiping the hard drive and installing Linux on it, however I am new to Linux (this is part of the reason why I want a system running Linux). My question is: If I install a Linux OS on my laptop, will this interfere with my being able to use the mouse touch pad or the built in wireless network adapter? I just don't want to install some Linux distro and find that suddenly half of my laptop no longer works because I'm not running the original software on the computer.
Simple answer is: it depends. Touchpads and wireless adapters usually work if you use one of the 'bleeding edge' distributions, but wireless in particular is a hodge-podge of different manufacturers, some of whom support Linux and some don't.
Pretty much everything works on my Toshiba Qosmio, for example, and everything works on my Asus netbook, but I went out of my way to ensure that by checking the hardware support before I bought them.
^+1, most Linux distros, and I am pretty sure all of the major ones/popular ones have live CD's. Boot into and try it out, if you find everything works then you know you can install, if not, then just pull the CD out and your done Ubuntu and Fedora seem to be particularly amazing with wireless/video drivers. They automatically give you full screen resolutions (from my experience)...without any driver and Fedora seems to install wifi drivers itself automatically and gets everything working, while in Ubuntu you just need to open up the hardware drivers application and activate it. Its extremely simple.