XP-Replacement for Parents

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Thu Mar 27 11:48:57 GMT 2014

My mum has a laptop running Windows XP, which she's happy with except
that support for XP ends on April 8th, and she's asked me what she
should do. The only Windows computer I've ever owned ran NT4, so I'm in
turn seeking your wisdom.

I think Mum uses web-based stuff, WordPerfect, and scanning. I'm
guessing that the laptop hardware is of a similar vintage to XP itself.

Options that I can see:

• Ubuntu:  The OS will install, but I don't know if Mum's scanner will
  work with it, and I'm pretty sure it won't work in the same way, where
  pressing a physical button on the scanner causes some HP application
  to open on the desktop with the scanned document.

  Also, Mum has years of correspondence in WordPerfect files.
  LibreOffice claims to be able to open WordPerfect documents, but I
  haven't tried it and don't know how well it'd do. And anyway,
  LibreOffice isn't as good as WordPerfect is.

  But Ubuntu has the advantages that it'd be changing to an OS that I am
  familiar with, that's free, which will continue to have new free
  versions released, and which is largely unaffected by mainstream
  security issues.

• Newer Windows:  Would the latest Windows run on her hardware? Even if
  it did, would it run her several-years-old version of WordPerfect? And
  has its interface and so on changed so much that it would be at least
  as unfamiliar to Mum as changing to Ubuntu would?

  Or would a newer-than-XP-but-not-the-most-recent version of Windows be
  better? In which case, is it still possible to buy such a version? And
  how long till the same question crops up again with that?

• Stay with XP:  What does XP no longer being supported mean? Obviously
  IE won't get security fixes any more, but the latest Firefox says it
  still works on XP, so as long as she sticks with Firefox, what are the
  risks to her?

Any thoughts on this matter gratefully received.

Mum is 250 miles away, and we won't be visiting till July, but I may be
able to prime my sister to provide local support.


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