More Mileage from XP, and,
the Rising Stars of Linux Distros 9.10.13
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More Mileage from XP:This can be gained by partition alignment when using modern 4 Kb HDDs, ie, SATA and SSD, although re-alignment seems to help with efficiency, when utilised, for IDE HDDs as well. You can check for details of XP partition alignment for modern HDDs via Google, eg, Thomas Krenn Wiki Partition Alignment, and/or, just use Vista/Win7/Win8 OSs, to partition and format an HDD, before actually installing XP. You are also advised to confine the OS to a separate partition, and then make additional cloning and/or Storage Partitions, for improved OS efficiency, as well as for a first stage of data security.
Installation or cloning to an already aligned partition gives the best results. Note also that 20 Gb HDDs actually respond well to being formatted separately, via Disk Management, using 1024 byte sectors, making them ideal for XP OS clones, or data storage, given that they are in good condition still.
In the meantime, XP SP3, plus combining a custom firewall, virus-checker, adware checker, and Office, etc, programs, and sensible Internet use, still keep XP safe and useable online. If all you really need is email and web-surfing, well and good, just keep your XP going as long as possible for these purposes...?
The Rising Stars of Linux Distros:
When you have had experience of a Linux OS demo, and thenceforth know what to look for and, where to look, there is a wide choice of freeware Linux OSs that astound and amaze, and they are rapidly getting better in performance, and, more tailored for easy use by non-afficionados. Speed, stability, simplicity are dominant, especially if you just need no-frills Web access, and, online email. A new computer, and vast, complex Apple or Win OSs, are simply not needed just for these purposes. Your older, still useful system, either laptop or PC, can be matched with a Linux OS that will rapidly boot, have good video, sound, speed, and, general easy useability. Nofrillstech has mixed and matched anything from Pentium 3s to dual-core systems, both laptops and PCs, with Linux OSs, and all performed with ease, especially when connecting to the Internet, using either cable or wifi. Smartfone tethering is a breeze with as well.
There are respective Linux online updates required at installation, including for security, but, never to the extent of then repeatedly using vital bandwidth and time, as do MS OSs, nor is there any validation to contend with. Support for these Open Source distros is up to you, so, if you like them, then either publicise them, and/or, send your favourites some useful $$$. They do such a great job, as well as freeing you from the software hegemonies of both Apple and Microsoft, and, their respective hardware exigencies. You may need to test-install for different hardware systems, especially older laptops, as heuristics may apply as regards compatibility, but, this will be a small inconvenience for the resulting ease of Linux OS use, and the Linux OSs will install quite quickly.
Note that MiniTool 8 , as a Third Party program, can be used most effectively to clean HDDs prior to any Linux OS installation, and, is also recommended when re-installing an Apple or Win OS, to ensure complete erasure of unwanted data and partitions, in all cases. Note that Linux OSs can be installed on Wintel-based Apple systems.
Linux Mint, PeppermintOS, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Remix, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Puppy (165mb!) are all Open Source Linux OSs that Nofrillstech has tested. See DistroWatch for the current top consumer choices. Some, such as Linux Mint, have SMART technology present, making HDD checks much easier, plus, after all, if the HDD is failing, a timely warning of this event is surely worth having.
Finally, Nofrillstech has been able to duplicate all Win apps, via Linux OSs, necessary for basic Internet access, and, Web page support. When the wheels do finally fall off XP, online, anyway, then for Nofrillstech, Linux OSs will take over, no doubts at all about that.