Microsoft even sells Windows 8 in downloadable form.Desktop Linux: Unlike Windows 7 or 8, desktop Linux distributions like Ubuntu are completely free.Windows 8: Windows 8 can be rather awkward on traditional PCs without touch screens, especially at first. It actually offers many desktop features that are an upgrade over Windows 7 and you can hide much of the new “Modern” environment.Windows 8.1 is also on the way, ready for official release on October 17, 2013, and it’s much more comfortable to use on a more traditional desktop or laptop PC.Windows XP mode isn’t included with Windows 8, but you can set up something just like Windows XP mode with VMware Player on Windows 8.You can even use VMware Player — or another virtual machine tool, such as Virtual Box — to run Windows XP and your Windows XP applications on other operating systems, such as the Home version of Windows 7 or desktop Linux.This is why Windows 7 — the Professional version, at least — contains Windows XP mode, which allows you to run applications in a special Windows XP system.Essentially, your computer will run an isolated copy of Windows XP where your Windows XP applications can run.
If you have an older computer, you may want to try the more lightweight Xubuntu or the extremely lightweight Lubuntu instead of the heavier standard Ubuntu system.It will just become more insecure over time as Microsoft and everyone else stops supporting it. It has been officially supported for more than a decade.If you’re still using Windows XP, you should be making plans to upgrade to something that will be supported.We’ve already explained why it’s time to let go of Windows XP and what will happen when Microsoft finally stops supporting it on April 8, 2014. It doesn’t support modern hardware properly and it isn’t as secure as modern versions of Windows because it doesn’t have User Account Control and other modern security features.(Forget what you may have heard about UAC in the Windows Vista days — it’s better now.) As time goes on, Windows XP will become increasingly insecure and both hardware and software vendors will stop supporting it.New computers come with Windows 8, and your local PC store probably doesn’t sell Windows 7.If you want to get a boxed copy of Windows 7 to upgrade to, you may want to get it online — boxed copies of Windows 7 are still sold on websites like Amazon, although you probably won’t find them in many PC stores.Try using modern hardware or software on Windows 98, Windows Me, or even Windows 2000 — even Firefox no longer supports Windows 2000. Perhaps you’ve heard about how awkward Windows 8 can be on traditional computers — If you’re using Windows XP, we’re assuming you’re not using one of Microsoft’s Windows XP tablets.Or perhaps you’re perfectly happy with your existing software and just use your computer for very basic things, so you don’t see the point in paying Microsoft an upgrade fee.If you’re going with Ubuntu, you’ll probably want to stick with the long term service (LTS) release, which is supported for five years with security updates.We’ve previously covered how to switch from Windows XP to a more secure Linux system.