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Top 5 Windows XP Alternatives

Updated on April 8, 2014

On April 8, 2014 Microsoft has officially ended all support for Windows XP. This means that there will no longer be any updates, including security patches provided for Windows XP. Anyone still left using XP is at a greater risk from viruses, malware and other vulnerabilities in the future. Microsoft is further ending all technical support, moving forward many third party applications will also stop releasing software for Windows XP.

If you are still using Windows XP on any of your computers, it is highly recommended to switch to a different operating system.

Here are the top 5 alternatives to Windows XP that you can use instead.

# 1. Windows 8 or Windows 7

Let's be realistic if you want Windows, it is time to upgrade to a newer version. You can obtain Windows 7 or Windows 8 for around $100 from retailers. Windows 7 is becoming harder to find, but is still available if you look around. Windows 7 will end mainstream support on January 13, 2015 and extended support on January 14, 2020. Windows 8 will end mainstream support on January 9, 2018 and extended support on January 10, 2023. So you should be good for a few years if you choose either of these choices. Some stores may also be offering $100 trade-in credit towards a purchase of a new Windows computer if you bring your Windows XP machine, look around see if such deals exist in your area, Best buy is one such retailer that has offered this promotion. It may or may not be worth it.

The very minimum system requirements for Windows 8.1 are as follows:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 are capable of running on many older machines, especially if you turn off some visual features to reduce system load and increase performance.


# 2. Lubuntu -

Lubuntu is a free lightweight operating system based on Ubuntu Linux. It uses open source software and offers a large library of applications. Lubuntu utilizes the LXDE desktop, which is very minimal and will be visually familiar to most Windows XP users. Like with most Linux distributions you simply download the ISO file, burn it to a DVD or make a bootable USB flash drive and install. Just make sure you backup any files or documents from your Windows XP system beforehand. System requirements are extremely low, at the very least a Pentium 2 and 128MB of RAM, but realistically anything from the Pentium 4 era and up will work much better.

Linux Mint
Linux Mint

# 3. Linux Mint -

Linux Mint is quite modern and not as lightweight as Lubuntu. However one huge bonus that Linux Mint offers is that it comes in most causes with all the browser plugins, media codecs and DVD playback out of the box. Linux Mint offers a number of desktop versions, for a lighter system you may want to choose the XFCE install.


#4. Debian -

Debian is a very popular and established Linux distribution. It may require more time to setup, but is extremely flexible and can be easily configured to meet the needs of most users. Debian is generally very stable and secure, the software for the main release is well tested but may in some cases be a little out of date. However not to worry as security fixes are always applied, if you are the type of person that enjoys stability and maturity you cannot go wrong with Debian.


#5. Ubuntu -

Ubuntu is a major contender in the realm of Linux, with a very large community. The main release of Ubuntu uses Unity, which is very modern and sleek. However the main release of Ubuntu may be difficult to run for older systems, so it is recommended to use one of Ubuntu's derivatives such as Lubuntu in some cases.

Are you still using Windows XP on any of your computers?

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