Replace XP With Linux

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

I don’t know if you are familiar with Linux, the operating system.

I was thinking about getting Linux to replace Windows XP, which I know nothing about. They say the first thing you do is to decide which Linux you need. I will be surfing the internet, e-mailing, typing letters, and playing a few games (which I’m not sure if they will work with Linux or not).

Would you know what version of Linux would be best for what I call the average at home user such as myself?


Dear Anonymous,

Using Linux is a great way to get more use out of an older computer, and there are a LOT of versions of Linux to choose from.

My favorite is Puppy Linux at:

Another great Linux OS for you would be Zorin at:

And finally, LXLE, which has an XP mode so that it will look more like the XP that you are used to.

I use Puppy at least once a week. When you download it, you use the file to burn a CD that you can boot the computer with, and use it without making changes to your hard drive. I usually use it to access customer files for backup and/or recovery.

No matter what version of Linux you try, you will be able to everything except your Windows games.

PCWorld has a great article about using Linux to replace XP at:



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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    • Rhino
    • July 21, 2014

    Hi Anonymous… yes, the first thing you need to do is decide which version of Linux you want to use. This is where downloading and burning to cd is helpful. You can also install to a USB portable drive as well.

    You can find lists of various Linux flavours, called distros, at http//

    My personal experience: I found Puppy linux hard to use. Maybe so simple I couldn’t get my head around it. But Zorin is a good interface, as is Kubuntu, which is the alter ego of Ubuntu. Kubuntu looks more like Windows whereas Ubuntu more like MAC.

    As for games, sorry but Elizabeth is a little incorrect there. One can install WINE (which stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator) and play lots of Windows games, and just a few days ago it was reported that lots of Windows games developers are now making Linux versions. This probably comes about because they develop for Android which is essentially a cut down and modified version of Linux. And they have realised that there are a LOT of Linux users and while not the same numbers as Windows users still would be a nice little income earner for games developers. Been a long time coming but better late than never.

    One thing I would suggest is joining a Linux group, whether online or a physical computer club type organisation. There you will find helpful people who will answer any questions you will inevitably have, and assist with problems.

    If you are not buying a new computer I would suggest that you try various flavours of Linux by running off the LIVE cd or USB portable drive. That way you can find what suits you but still have Windows XP there to use until you decide to switch. But… and I cannot stress this enough, be careful that you don’t click the install until you are ready, and that you have BACKED UP “ALL” YOUR DATA TO ANOTHER DRIVE OR DVD/CD’s

    My final piece of advice is… don’t rush it. It may, or may not, be what you are looking for. Ultimately you may opt instead to purchase a legal copy of Windows 7. Personally I’d hesitate jumping straight into Windows 8.x

    Anyway, have fun.

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