student-849825_960_720Windows XP was tossed to the wolves long ago, and Windows Vista’s ending is fast drawing near. But hundreds of millions of folks rely on PCs which can be several years of age.

The transition does not have to be debilitating, either. There are numerous simple Linux options designed for Windows XP refugees. These distros offer dedicated “Windows XP Modes” that mimic the feel and look of Microsoft’s most venerable operating system.

Okay, okay, I Have sold you. You’re prepared to test drive Linux. Fortunately, Linux is dead easy to strive. You do not even have to dump Windows if you’re feeling uncertain.

Before you install a Linux distro in your PC’s hard drive, I suggest giving your chosen operating system a whirl with a live drive or live DVD. With live drives, you install a bootable system of a Linux distro to a DVD or flash drive, then configure your PC to boot from that rather than your hard drive. It takes minimal muss and fuss, lets you try several Linux operating systems immediately, and does not touch the Windows installation on your main storage drive.

PCWorld’s tutorial on creating a bootable Linux flash drive is able to help you set one up. But which Linux operating system should you try? Our guide to the best Linux distros for beginners can direct your selection. Personally, I believe Linux Mint provides the greatest experience for experimental Windows users, because it combines Ubuntu’s adaptable approach to closed-source applications with a Windows-like interface.

  • Using Linux should not be too much of a hassle, particularly if you choose for an operating system with a Windows-like Start menu, but there are several heart differences.
  • If you decide you like Linux, you are able to use precisely the same live drive (or disc) to install your new operating system in your hard drive.
  • You can keep Windows in your PC if you’d enjoy, too. PCWorld’s guide to dual booting Linux and Windows describes everything you have to know.

See? That was not so hard. If you’re running an old PC with limited hardware or a dead OS, or if you’re irked at some of Microsoft’s recent selections around Windows 10, there’s no reason to not give Linux a try. You might just enjoy what you find—particularly if you spend most of your digital life in a browser and productivity suite.