Since Microsoft stopped supporting WindowsXP it is time to move and start using another operating system. If you still want to use Microsoft Windows and continue getting updates and security patches you will need to buy a new boxed copy of Windows or even a new PC — or you can simply switch to Linux and get free security updates for years to come.
At this moment Linux is more powerful and feature-complete than ever. With more software becoming web-based, Linux is reaching Windows very quickly.
However, not everyone can migrate to Linux, especially if you use any specific Microsoft applications. In such case it is recommended to stick with Windows.
If you are not one of these persons you will be perfectly happy with your current hardware. If, for example, you are using your Windows XP computers to do some basic daily tasks as browse the web, edit documents, play media, and manage photos etc… Linux can do all of these basics too. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Dropbox, Skype and all the popular software out there support Linux. You may be missing Microsoft office since Microsoft doesn’t offer Office for Linux, but you can use Microsoft’s free Office Online service in a web browser on your Linux PC. And on the other hand you have Libre Office and Open office which are pretty decent replacement for Microsoft office.
A good thing to know is that is some cases you can also run Windows programs on Linux using wine. Wine is a free and open source software application that aims to allow applications designed for Microsoft Windows to run on Unix-like operating systems. Wine also provides a software library, known as Winelib, against which developers can compile Windows applications to help port them to Unix-like systems.
Wine is a compatibility layer. It duplicates functions of Windows by providing alternative implementations of the DLLs that Windows programs call, and a process to substitute for the Windows NT kernel. This method of duplication differs from other methods that might also be considered emulation, where Windows programs run in a virtual machine. Wine is predominantly written using black-box testing reverse-engineering, to avoid copyright issues. However, please note that many Windows programs won’t work with wine so when using Linux it is best to use a software that actually support Linux.
So, let’s get started. First you will need to pick which Linux distribution will be the best for you. There are many Linux distributions out there and the most popular one is Ubuntu (which is based on Debian). As we already said there are many other Linux distributions but you should most probably start with this one.
If your computer is one of the older and slower, you may want to try a lighter distribution like Lubuntu, which uses a lighter desktop environment and more lightweight software to perform better on older hardware.
Before installing Ubuntu Linux you will need to know that you can you can also try the distribution before installing it. To start download Ubuntu and save it on your disk. Once the ISO file is downloaded you can burn it to a CD or DVD or use a tool like YUMI to install it onto a USB drive. Once everything is completed just insert the disc or USB drive into your computer, reboot, and you should see the Linux system boot up instead of Windows.
Select “Try Ubuntu” and the Ubuntu live version will boot up. Please note that this was you can try/test the distribution and that’s it. The Ubuntu OS is not installed. If you reboot the PC once more Windows will boot up again. Bear in mind that it will probably perform slower than if it were installed on your computer, especially if it’s running from a CD or DVD drive.
So, if you decide that you like Ubuntu and want to try in everyday usage you can start with the installation. To do that just click on the Install Ubuntu 14.04 icon in the live environment and the installation will start.
You can choose to install a dual-boot system (this is recommended and the best way for a beginners) since this way you will still have all the files that Windows XP system has/had it in case you need it. Also you will be able to access your Windows data directly from within Linux.
And the second option will be to completely replace WindowsXP with Linux in which case all the files and the complete WindowsXP installation will be deleted permanently.
That’s it. Once the installation is finished you can reboot the PC and start using your new Linux PC.