Thoughts that might be helpful.
1) Try to avoid downloading and installing program files from various sites. That is the Windows way. Linux has repos that are vetted and intended to work on your distro. You are less likely to have stability issues if you try to stay with the programs and versions in the repos. There are exceptions of course, but as a general rule this is true.
2) Google "bash Linux" you will find all the information you will ever need. Everything from very early beginner to quite advanced.
3) The below link will give you step-by-step instructions on how to install VirtualBox. Look for my post in the latter part of the thread. This is the program that I prefer for VMs.viewtopic.php?f=47&t=19168&p=116611#p116611
Welcome, and enjoy your learning experience with Linux. It is certainly worth the effort.