Xp is no longer supported and there are many articles online that warn about the increased security risk that this can mean. There are things that you can do to change settings and uninstall browsers to minimise these threats, but for me, the case was simple. XP was no longer an option.
My machine is an old 2002 model XP tower with limited resources – A basic AMD processor, a cd drive that can play but not write DVDs, and it will never win any races.
Why not bin it?
It is true that towers are bulky and unfashionable, but I need a tower for work. This XP tower is not my main PC, but a reserve one. I do not want to spend £500 or so on a new tower, cannot justify spending money on a machine that really isn’t suitable for work anymore (the spec is too low). I suppose I want to keep the PC because it just works. Probably for the same reason you don’t always throw out a basic iron that have served you well when you upgrade to a newer model. The new one might be more efficient, but the old one has proved itself.
What to do?
There is no free Windows XP upgrade, and the price buying a newer operating system is impractical as you could probably buy it in a brand new machine for a few dollars more. Microsoft clearly think a decade or so is a fair lifespan for a product. My cousin would respond, “Don’t be silly….” to that thinking.
Someone said that spend on modern operating systems favours small ones that work on portable devices. If this is true, then it might mean that they are worth trying on older/low spec machines. Like my old XP machine.
Open source has come a long way. You can check for yourself, but basically “open source” (free) stuff is all things non hardware that make a computer, well….. compute. These are free because people design them that way. Some believe that big business is ripping us off, others like being creative. Many like the freedom it gives them to develop and try new things. The point here is that an operating system can be got for the price of a blank dvd disc / usb stick.
On looking at open source operating systems, it seems that while there are many to choose from. A quick search for Linux will tell you more than I can ever understand, but for my purposes it’s enough to know that they are free, known to work, and are easy to customise. I chose Ubuntu because it’s been around for years, and offers a version that lasts for years without needing to be replaced. Unlike XP, it is well supported and will be for a long time.
Project XP to Ubuntu
The warnings on XP machine were driving me mad. I needed an operating system to save it. Upgrading to Ubuntu made sense. I am no technical expert, and the only kernel I know of is the one that can still be found (2015) in some peaches. This is exactly how I upgraded from XP to Ubuntu.
I went to ubuntu.com – Download – Desktop – 32 bit (because my machine is low spec, otherwise 64 bit is the popular choice) – Download. This downloads an image that can either be burnt onto a DVD or saved on a usb stick. Glitch: That done, I remembered that while my cd/dvd drive plays dvds, it doesn’t actually burn them. Rummaging never produced the usb drive which still exists somewhere in the house. The laptop does have a DVD drive, so the image was downloaded again. Note: Downloading Ubuntu took around thirty minutes, but could be slower or faster depending on your internet speed.
Burnt the iso file onto a blank DVD disc. I used Nero. If you don’t have a program for burning an iso image, there are many free ones to be had.
Put the DVD into the drive, restarted the PC. It installs from there, all I had to choose was whether to load the new operating system alongside Windows XP, or to effectively delete XP totally. If you want to keep your information, then you might want to keep both. I backed up my files, and went for a clean install. After that, I just followed the simple screen prompts.
If you are unsure, there is an option to choose TRY after loading the DVD, This will give the chance to see what Ubuntu looks like before you make any changes. I might have chosen this option if I was using a newer machine, but I was already in “do or die” mindset.
The next screenshot will give you a clearer idea of what Ubuntu looks like. It shows you the shortcuts that work with Ubuntu, but I never used them much in Windows, and am unlikely to use them with the new operating system.
The process of upgrading from XP to Ubuntu was surprisingly easy. I ticked the box to download 3rd party software during the install, and so far everything works. I have not experienced any driver issues, and I do not miss Internet Explorer. Firefox comes as standard, I downloaded Chrome and that works as normal. I was never a fan of Microsoft Office, and especially not on this machine because it is a huge package for a small machine and I only ever really used Word. Open source provides alternatives to Office. I already use Open Office on my main PC, and Libre, another Office alternative, comes with Ubuntu. My machine works smoothly so far, but it is early days. Mostly I like the fact idea if I decide to dispose of this well loved desktop now, I can actually pass it on to someone else as a working and serviceable device.