I’ve got a five year old Compaq laptop computer that ran Windows XP Pro for years (except for a time when I ran Vista in order to write an e-book on Vista security). With additional patches over the years, the system has been running more slowly, even after performing a lot of work to optimize performance.
I also have security concerns. This computer is used by other family members (including teens) who are less security-conscious than I am.
After saving some personal data, I’ve removed Windows and installed Ubuntu Linux. The install procedure is very simple. If you are wondering whether it will run on your hardware, you can boot it and run it from CD-ROM to see whether all of your hardware is supported. Critical were Ethernet, WiFi, and USB drives. All worked flawlessly – so last night I installed it over WindowsXP (and am hoping that I won’t regret doing a dual-boot first). Today I am installing updates. After that I will re-create all of the same user accounts and restore users’ bookmarks (browser favorites) and files.
Not counting work computers, this now makes the computers in our home running mostly Unix. My Macbook runs Leopard, and the Compaq runs Ubuntu. There is a Windows XP Pro running on a desktop computer, and we have a little Acer netbook that runs XP.