Now that Windows have stopped updates for XP, users are now stuck with the predicament of risking their PC’s protection or upgrading to a newer operating system. Windows 7 or 8.1 would be the first consideration for users, however older hardware may be unable to run the newer, more demanding software, forcing users to question the worth of purchasing a new desktop with the more up to date operating systems. For those whom upgrading their software or desktop is out of the question due to being so costly, a free alternative called Linux is an operating system that should be well considered. There are many different variations of Linux, all with different designs and software requirements for those computers with very low specifications and users who don’t want a big change. The 3 main Linux distributions that XP users should focus on are Ubuntu, Zorin and LXLE. Each version of the software has a “try before you buy” option, allowing you to decide which software version you prefer and to find out which runs better on your computer.
Ubuntu is the world’s most popularly used version of Linux, with its solid, well maintained software base. Ubuntu works well on older hardware, providing a Live CD installer and a software centre with one-click app install features. Out of the 3 software version we are going to discuss today, Ubuntu is the least like Windows XP with a more Apple style operating system used on iMacs and MacBooks, however still remains to be very user friendly with lots of user support forums and help features. Unlike XP, Ubuntu does not allow for “All Programmes” to be viewed, but instead has a search feature called Dash which allows the user to type in the software they want to use and choose from a dropdown of potential programmes they may be searching for. The default browser for Ubuntu is Mozilla Firefox.
System requirements to run Ubuntu are as follows:
- 700MHz Processor
- 512MB RAM
- Minimum display resolution of 1024 by 768 pixel
Zorin OS offers a Windows XP mode to ease the transition from XP to Linux, copying the general XP look by placing a Z logo in the lower left of the screen to replicate the traditional Windows Start menu button. Unlike Ubuntu, Zorin allows for all applications to be viewed and searched like that of Windows XP, with a lower screen panel to function as the task bar. Features such as the time, battery power and keyboard language are all present at the bottom of the screen, as well as being available with a user guide. The default browser for Zorin is Google Chrome.
System requirements to run Zorin OS are as follows:
- 1GHz or faster processor
- 5GB of hard drive
- 512MB of RAM
- Graphics card resolution capable of 640 by 480 pixel
LXLE is the final version of Linux to be considered, with the great reputation of being capable of “reviving an old PC” by minimising demands on system resources. LXLE is based on Lubuntu, the lite variant of Ubuntu. From the login screen, a Windows XP mode is available for choice, as well as a netbook mode. Although not as good as Zorin for replicating Windows XP due to not being as “flash”, it contains a very easy user interface to provide the simplest navigation of your new operating system. The default browser for LXLE is Mozilla Firefox.
System requirements to run LXLE are as follows:
- Pentium 3 processor or better
- 512MB RAM
Don’t run the red card of using Windows XP, upgrade to Linux now for free to give your computer that new lease of life whilst remaining protected from PC threats.