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3 easy Linux alternatives for Windows XP refugees who don't want a new PC

Ian Paul | March 17, 2014
Windows XP's refugees have two choices on April 8, when Microsoft stops supporting the decade-old operating system (for consumers, anyway). This is assuming a new PC with a new operating system (even Windows 7) is, for whatever reason, out of the question. They could cling desperately to their old Windows XP system and face what could be a hacker feeding frenzy, something we don't recommend even if you take precautions. Or they could keep the old PC but install a new, free, and safe operating system--otherwise known

Ubuntu is closer to the look and feel of Apple's OS X, so Windows XP immigrants may feel a little lost. Ubuntu has a very user-friendly design that can be learned in short order, however, and that's augmented by a large body of helpful support resources, including forums, blog posts, and live chat rooms.

One major Ubuntu difference that could flummox XP users is the way you access your software. The operating system hides its programs under a search feature called the Dash, which is opened by clicking on the Ubuntu logo in the upper-left corner.

Ubuntu is not designed to show you a Start menu-esuqe list of apps, though. Instead, like OS X's Spotlight, the Dash lets you search for a program quickly by name and then click on the result to open it. That's a very different approach than the Windows standard practice of clicking on "All Programs" and opening your software from there. Ubuntu's Home Folder lets you browse your hard drive in Windows File Explorer-like fashion, however.

Like LXLE, Ubuntu's default browser is Mozilla Firefox. And did I mention you can make Ubuntu look like Windows 7?

Stick with XP at your peril

These three versions of Linux may be the most friendly choices for displaced Windows XP users, but there's one more worth considering. Puppy Linux is a popular option for running an OS on older hardware. With three variants available at any given time, however, figuring out Puppy is not as easy as Zorin, LXLE, and Ubuntu.

So there you go: If you can't or won't leave Windows XP behind, give one of these Linux distributions a try. All you've got to lose is an aging operating system that will soon be thrown to the wolves.

 

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