As you are new to Linux get a base system going first and then try to extend / tweak / tune it. As far as graphics go the configuration file is /etc/X11/XF86Config, so backing it up before each major change would be a good idea.
The program xf86config can produce the config for you. At first go for Driver Vesa or Driver Nv and once you have X going then try for Driver Nvidia. startx launches the gui.
Files can be read from cd with a command like mount /cdrom