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astrowabbit 24. Feb 2010 02:35 AM

Advice for my new PC.
I'm retiring my 8 year old PC. The system I have been looking at is a barebones system with no OS on it. Currently I run XP Pro SP3 on my old PC and use Office XP 2002.

This new system is not a high-end system. It's entry level power and will only be used for Internet (Banking, Amazon, BestBuy,eBay), Office apps, e-mail, MSN and creating CD's for my car.

This new system is Dual-Core 2.7, 320GB HD, 2GB Ram, CD/DVD burner.

Is it necessary for the security side of things to upgrade to newer Windows, either Vista or 7, or will I be fine with my XP combo.

Please note I am cheap. But in the interest of security I will spend what I need to. Freeware for security is a must since software to run the machine costs more than the machine!

freedog96150 24. Feb 2010 05:31 AM

Wow! Could you pick a topic that will garner more opinions? Hehehe...

You did not mention your video specs. The rest of the system has more than enough power to provide a functional platform for newer versions of the Windows OS, but both Vista and Win7 like (need?) upgraded video cards for best performance.

If you have very basic video and you have access to a valid XP license, that may be the best route to take. Keep in mind that XP will be end-of-life in a few years and therefore there will be no more security updates for exploits.

If you have a decent video card then definitely consider one of the newer Windows OS version. Personally, I would avoid Vista. I have had persistent problems with file transfers, how long it takes to populate network boxes and seemingly simple tasks that XP breezed through. It was a catastrophe of an OS. I give two thumbs up to Win7. I have used Win7 on one of my sandbox machines since early in the Beta tests. I'm impressed.

** BUT **
Since the unit is bare of an OS and purchasing a WinOS after the fact can be much more costly than getting one bundled from the get go, I can highly recommend that you give one of the desktop Linux distros a shot. Most of the developed versions will offer you everything you need for basic office needs and internet surfing. Try Ubuntu, Mepis, LinuxMint, Fedora12 or any other number of distros. They all have pluses and minuses. I have several full-time Linux installs that I use on a daily basis and they all compare favorably to the best that MS offers.

1002richards 24. Feb 2010 07:51 AM

I second the suggestion of looking at linux ... and in particular those suggested by freedog96150.

MidnightCowboy 24. Feb 2010 12:11 PM

Most folks looking at Linux for the first time immediately get confused with which desktop distribution to choose, i.e. Gnome, KDE etc. This one is a hell of a download but worth the trial because it comes packed with everything and you can switch between them. There's also a gamers version.

Ritho 24. Feb 2010 01:43 PM

Well this is not as much of an opinion as it is a simple statement. When I first came into the linux world I tried several distros as a dual boot set-up, but kept going back to Windows to get things done. Then after trying Linux Mint, which is an enhanced version of Ubuntu, it finally stuck and I never looked back.

If you want to be able to use most of the cool freeware you find on this site, and don't want to dual boot, or run a virtual machine, etc. , you should have no problem staying with XP, as Microsoft will continue to roll out security updates until 4/8/2014. Some have surmised that this date may be extended because of Win 7's "XP mode" still needing support, so we will see.

wdhpr 24. Feb 2010 05:12 PM

I can't resist but to chime in on this :)

I see no reason for buying a new version of Windows. Win XP is solid and as Ritho stated Xp will continue to recieve support to 2014.

I would suggest a dual boot machine. You have plenty of hard drive space. You could carve out 20 or 25 gigs for a Linux distro. This will be plenty of room and you will still be able to download and install a ton of linux apps and games too :)
If your curious about linux this will be a great way to learn. (and its Free)
For now I suggest sticking with Windows. Linux requires a bit of learning about the nuts and bolts. Meanwhile you will continue to have Windows available to get things done.


astrowabbit 25. Feb 2010 05:21 AM

If I was to make a dual boot machine, would I need to go somewhere to get a utility to make this possible or does this come with each Linux distibution?

I'm curious how it works. Does it come up at boot time and ask which OS you want to use?

astrowabbit 25. Feb 2010 05:25 AM

I should mention as a univesity alumni I can still get OS software from them at a reduced price. So this system even with say Windows 7 is still pretty inexpensive. But if they are supporting XP for another 4 years then I will continue to use that, I used Windows 2000 until 1 year ago. I try to get my mileage out of my OS's:)

Thanks for the advice and I will try find out more about a dual OS machine.


Jojo Yee 25. Feb 2010 05:52 AM


Originally Posted by astrowabbit (Post 23292)
If I was to make a dual boot machine, would I need to go somewhere to get a utility to make this possible or does this come with each Linux distibution?

I'm curious how it works. Does it come up at boot time and ask which OS you want to use?

See The Definitive Dual Booting Guide which might be helpful.

Anupam 25. Feb 2010 06:55 AM

If you can get Windows 7 for less, and your hardware will support it, then I think you should go for it. It will take some time, before you get familiar with it, and start to like it though. I have worked with Vista a little, and it was not to my liking. I have not worked with Windows 7 that much, but to me it looks same as Vista... maybe they have improved things a little, or more. I find it quite slow to startup. I haven't played enough with it, so can't say much.

From security point, Windows 7 should be the choice. Although, you can make XP secure too, with all its updates and third party security software. But, still, I would advise to go for Windows 7 if you can.

About double booting with Windows, newer Linux distros come equipped with the means to achieve this. Although, I am not using Linux, nor I have a double boot system, but I intend to set up Linux soon on my old PC. I have been reading up... and I found, the newer distros really make it easy to set up a dual boot system.

openSUSE was the best in this. By default, it will detect the Windows partition, and leave it safe, and will also automatically suggest, the partitioning for your Linux distro. You don't have to worry about anything at all. Once done, it will setup your dual boot with its boot mananger, mostly Grub, and at the time of booting, you can choose the OS.

Most of the time, you won't have any problem, but its advisable to backup the Windows data, in case anything goes wrong.

You should take a look at the link Jojoyee gave.

Here is another link :

The above site also contains reviews of popular Linux distros, in case you want to choose a distro. The site contains a Windows 7 guide too.

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