The Computer Corner Take II (#35) by Bill Kibler

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Windows XP Options List

The Start

Microsoft has for years been using FUD(1) to dissuade people from using alternatives to Windows. The end of XP support has spawned numerous articles and news reports saying that XP users have no alternative other than buying a new Windows machine. Those of us in the Linux community know that such advice is clearly false and falls into the FUD category. There are options other than recycling your old XP hardware, especially for businesses that are short on cash. The Linux operating system powers Androids, makes Chrome books work, and is why Google is number one in what they do.

Although Linux might be an answer for you, there really are a number of things an XP user can do, other than replacing XP with Linux. What follows is my list of "your" options with some advice thrown in. Keep in mind it is your choice what to do. That choice should be based on real facts that you have gained on your own. Question all reports you read in magazines and newspapers as the "FUD" machine is in full swing.

XP Options List

Pros and Cons

Since I have used all the hardware options, it might help if I do my own version of pros and cons for each system. You should research all the options however to generate your own list of "good and bad points".

Can I Run....

One question that should be on your research list is, "can I run [insert program] on my new system?" For lots of businesses and many home owners, there is typically at least one or more programs that are a must have. In some cases you just need to buy new versions of the program for your new system. However, there are lots of special programs in which there is no upgrade path for them. These unique programs only run on Windows XP currently. What can you do?

Final Thoughts

Clearly Linux is capable of being an excellent replacement for XP as evident by the French Police Force Replacing 37,000 XP systems with Linux[2]. Many governments, corporations, and businesses have moved to Linux both for cost savings and lower overall cost of operations. The French said their costs dropped to less than 40% of previous yearly expenses. Switching an XP system to Linux is both inexpensive - typically the cost of a CD - and will improve performance and security, while saving the cost of a new system.

Can any typical home user switch to Linux? For those who can just use their computer and are lost most of the time, clearly not. For them, using one of the Android tablets or Chrome Books is probably better than continuing to use a desktop computer. Sales figures indicate that many users are discovering that Android systems provide all the computing power they need with added flexibility and features. However, should you be a user that needs several business applications, knows how to backup their data, or generally feels comfortable on their machine, Linux can be an alternative to buying new.

On Heartbleed

On the topic of "Heartbleed", an opensource - think Linux - software problem recently featured in the news, several stories and features have pushed that topic very negatively. The fact really is that users should be very happy that it was an opensource project. Had it been a program made by some corporation with shares on the stock market, it is pretty clear we would still not know about it. We need look back no more than a week or two at General Motors handling of a 50 cent part that caused fatalities, to understand why somethings important like SSL security, needs to be done by a group not concerned about negative publicity. Being a retired programmer, I can say that software is never free of bugs and what happened with heartbleed could happen to any organization. By being part of the opensource community however, it meant that my Linux updates for "Heartbleed" were on my 15 year old machines within 48 hours of the programmers finding and fixing the problem.

Links of interest...

I might suggest you checkout these web sites to learn more about Linux and the many variations of Linux that might be right for users, starting with "", that explains what Linux is and how it works. For a good site that lists many of the variations available and links for downloading install disks, try "". There are many How-To sites on the internet, this site has one specifically for XP users, as it points out problems you might encounter doing an install of Linux. Remember that many distros have live Linux disks and you can try those on your machine or in Virtual Box. I often download live images and have Virtual Box use them from the downloaded file on my system - no disk burning needed. You can even do this to help you decide which version of Linux to use, as there is a version of Virtual Box that will run on XP.

[1] -,_uncertainty_and_doubt
[2] -
The Debian "all about Linux" starting point
Web site that rates and reviews distributions of all types.
The starting point for using and getting TAILS distro.
Puppy Linux, great for very old hardware, runs from RAM only.
RoboLinux - designed for XP users with special XP VM software.
Download The Robolinux Virtual Machine "VM" Software for Ubuntu.
Zorin - a beginner friendly i386 distro..
OpenSUSE distro, has live and special versions, their YAST setup tools are terrific.
Get Virtual Box from here for Windows XP and later, MacOS, and Linux.
Live example of XFCE i386 400MB image - with install.
List of sections in "wheezy" repositories.
Debian's Live CD WIKI page - great place to start!
Debian Live systems main page - docs and image builder.
Debian Live-build manual page - all you need to know about live images!

Kibler Electronics, PO Box 535, Lincoln, CA 95648-0535, USA.
Copyright © 2014, Kibler Electronics
Written in Mar-2014 by Bill Kibler