My computer is getting old and tired. More precisely, Windows XP is getting old and tired. As you may know, Windows is notorious for getting more and more bogged down over time, leading to a slow, clogged, and unresponsive computer.
The machine itself is four years old, but I bought at the front of the pack, so its specs are still fairly respectable (2.6 GHz Pentium 4 with 1 GB RAM). That’s certainly adequate for my needs, which primarily include Web browsing, email, light word processing, and some photo editing with Paintshop Pro.
But oh, does it feel old and tired. I know that a reinstall of the operating system (meaning a complete wipe of the hard drive, reformatting, and reinstall) would make it like new again. Or I could give up on Windows altogether and switch to Linux Ubuntu, an idea that appeals highly to the contrarian in me.
For the record, Windows Vista is out of the question, as is switching to Mac – at least for now. All I want is to squeeze another 12-18 months out of this machine, at which time I will quite likely go Mac.
But in the meantime, I’m not sure which route to take. Here’s how it stands as I see it:
Switch to Ubuntu; Pros
- Stick it to Microsoft. Good riddance!
- Free! Easily upgradeable. Lots of nice free, open source applications available.
- Faster to leave hard drive alone and install Ubuntu than to reformat and reinstall Windows.
- Supposedly, using the WINE Windows emulator means I could still run most Windows applications (but it is unclear just how convenient – or not – that would be).
Switch to Ubuntu; Cons
- It means I have to find, and learn, substitutes for some of the applications I use (e.g., HTML editor, file backup utility, photo editor, iTunes, etc.).
- My scanner is absolutely, unequivocally, not supported by any flavour of Linux. (Thanks a heap, Canon. Canon is on record as having no interest in supporting Linux for any of their products.)
- I don’t know if the custom features for my keyboard and mouse will work.
- I don’t know if there is a “suspend” mode that is as reliable as what I’m used to (I use “suspend” on a daily basis).
- Although it is quick to install, it will probably take me weeks to get fully up to speed as I endlessly track down the various tweaks, applications, and goodies I need to make it work the way I want.
Reinstall Windows XP; Pros
- No surprises. Once the job is done, it’s business as usual except faster and smoother.
- Although the reinstall will be slower than installing Ubuntu, the whole process will be faster in the long run.
- I get to keep using the apps I like.
Reinstall Windows XP; Cons
- I don’t get to stick it to Microsoft.
- I don’t get to knotch up my geek quotient.
- Assurance of having a really bad day, as the process of dealing with Windows, multiple updates, multiple software installs, multiple reboots, etc., is sure to throw me into a tailspin of anger and despair.
I’ll probably do one or the other next weekend. Please vote in the poll below to help me decide.
(One vote per IP address. If you see the results but no voting buttons, you – or someone else at your IP address – have already voted.)