“Your Windows XP computer won’t be as secure as it used to be after 8th April 2014.” If you have a Windows XP computer and more than the date formatting bothers you, you have four ready options:
- Ignore the message and assume any associated risks;
- Rush out and by a Windows 8 machine with a flashy new interface made for tablets or a flashy new Mac;
- Try upgrading the computer to a more recent version of Windows (7 or 8); and
- Convert to Linux. Basically have a faster, more secure, and free operating system.
If the last option grabs your attention read further.
If you have an XP machine why not extend its useful life by installing a Linux operating system. Yes, Linux. It's not intimidating at all, just unfamiliar. In fact, in many cases, it's superior. Take the Ubuntu Software Centre which functions just like an App Store and has fantastic free programs, such as Stellarium which allows you to view satellites moving through the sky, and even has a night mode so you can take it outside and not impact your night-adjusted eyes.
Step one: Backup. You know the drill. Just remember all the profiles associated with programs, e.g., .pst files and Mozilla profiles, if you’re not using a backup program. If you are, make sure the backup file is uncompressed or in a universal format.
Step two: Decide whether you want to keep Windows XP on the machine or start fresh. If you want to keep Windows XP, so you can still run a favourite program not readily available for Linux or easily go back to the way things were then you need to follow some more steps. Otherwise go here:
Step three: If you only have one hard drive, and it’s pretty full, you will have to free up some room for Linux. Simply run the Disk Cleanup Utility: right-click your hard drive in Windows Explorer and click Disk Cleanup. I generally click OK, but you can also select unchecked items that will free up more space.
Next follow these instructions, which includes defragmenting your drive as an option. I suggest doing so and found that MyDefrag works really well but it takes a long time. So, feel free to use the Windows XP defragmentation utility in Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Defragmenter. Select your hard drive and click Defrag. This will take a few or more hours depending on the size of your hard drive.
Lastly the instructions suggest using GParted to re-size your Windows partition in order to run both Windows XP and Linux on one hard drive. Install the program and follow the remaining steps.
Now you are ready to install Linux.