Regarding router choice...
I have occasion to use linksys, netgear and d-link routers for different small systems with which I interact.
With some minor exceptions (such as faulty models e.g. Linksys BEFW11S4, which has a known issue with streaming video) a router is a router is a router...
When doing your research, select your preferred model/manufacturer and price - then search the net for any known issues...rather than searching for 'Best Product' -- brand loyalty skews reasonable recommendations.
Unless you're intending to open/close/filter ports for specific program/application performance, you won't notice any difference in the functionality of one router to the next, especially in a home (singular router) installation.
That being said, if you have a netgear wireless adapter, chose the netgear router -- this choice makes more sense from an asthetic rather than technical point of view.
In the home/small business-system router market, there is little differentiation from brand to brand...
As far as setup --
The best thing to do is stay away from the CD installations of any of the routers you may select -- you don't need 'Router Software' installed on your computer. (If you're purchasing a router with an offer of some bonafide Extra -- bundled software that you would otherwise purchase -- Anti-virus, Anti-spam, etc. -- by all means, if you need it install it later.... but stay away from Router Software.)
Setting up a router is a matter of plugging in various devices (in the proper order.... e.g. first:modem, second:router, third:workstation(s), and then configuring the devices.
Out of the box, virutally all routers come pre-configured for the majority of installations -- DHCP is ON (This lets the router assign the various addresses needed for devices running on the network) Wireless is ON.
There are several items that you'll want to configure on the router, but you do this after you hook up one wired (ethernet) computer.
On the computer side, you do not have to (and should not) install any software before configuring your network settings. This is done through the network settings (network connections) for your Local Area Network. This process is well-documented in all router manuals. Chances are, you won't have to change or configure anything... as your network connections setting is probably already configured to pick up it's address from the router.
Once you're connected, in all current generation routers and modems, the way you configure them is to launch your browser (IE, Firefox...Safari.... whatever you're using) and then you enter a numeric address (this address is pre-assigned to your router hardware.)
Even if you don't have a manual, you can guess the address... virtually all manufacturers use a special reserved address... it will either be:
192.168.1.1 (Most linksys/netgear)
192.168.0.1 (some d-link)
Once this address is entered (and your connections are all, in fact, connected) a Username/Password dialog will appear. From the manufacturer, these are 'generally' configured as a standard as well, but can vary from mfgr. to mfgr.
Once you 'get in' the control software for the router is loaded (from the router.) this is all the software you'll need.
From here, read the help files, download a manual... but you should, at least change your SSID and configure your Wireless Security.