How to Replace an Invalid Windows XP Installation with Ubuntu

Let us assume that you do not love your invalid Windows XP anymore, can’t afford to buy a license, and have some important files on it that you can just transfer to a flash drive or Windows Sky drive (a free online hard drive service by Windows). Then the best solution is to replace your computer’s operating system with Linux Ubuntu. Keep reading and we’ll show you how and why.

In developing countries, software piracy is extremely rampant; it runs to almost all computers! The reason is that everybody loves Windows and fears changing to another operating system. The root cause of this problem is that they think Windows XP is cheap; after all, they can just buy it on the street.

No it is not, my friend; Windows XP is expensive and costs you money. Though you can install and run an invalid CD, the risk is high. Here are two reasons you should not do it:

  • If Windows notices the software is invalid on the install/re-install, it will require an activation key, which lasts only for 30 days. Failing to activate will result in startup problems with Windows XP. What is much worse, I have heard cases of an activation key or key generator software provided in the invalid disc that contain Trojan viruses that send sensitive information to hackers.
  • An invalid version of Windows XP won’t update, which increases the risk of your computer catching spyware and virus infections that could permanently damage it. Free anti-spyware and anti-virus programs cannot cure this issue and will not serve as a replacement for important Windows updates.

I am more concerned with the second point. Failure to update Windows XP will result to some disaster soon, as lots of hackers will install malicious codes and spyware on your computer that cannot be detected using ordinary spyware cleaners.

{mospagebreak title=The important preparation}

Linux is a free operating system that can be downloaded at no cost. It can provide much better security and features that are similar to those you’ll find in Windows XP. This tutorial is only applicable to Linux Ubuntu 8.04, which will replace your invalid Windows XP CD. To start, you need to back up your old files and export to external hard drive or online hard drive (Windows Sky drive recommended).

Once you have completed your external back ups of your important songs, documents and files created in Windows XP, it is the time to download Linux Ubuntu. As of October 2008, the latest Linux Ubuntu version is Ubuntu 8.04 – the Hardy Heron. While this article covers that version, there is now a more recent version, Ubuntu 8.10.

Selection of proper downloading files and locations are important. Ubuntu can be downloaded in this location:

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download

You need to take note of three things: the type of computer you have, the nearest download location, and the type of Ubuntu Release.

The good thing about Ubuntu is that the installer can fit on a single CD. That means it can be easily burned into a single image disc.

On this page, http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download, select the following information: for the release version, select the desktop version: Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition – Supported to 2011. You do not need the server version. For the type of computer, select the Standard personal computer (x86 architecture, Pentium™, Celeron™, Athlon™, Sempron™); this is the most common architecture used for Windows XP. For the nearest download location: if you live in Malaysia but cannot see a downloading server in your location, the nearest location could be in Thailand.

IMPORTANT: Do not check "Click here if you need an alternate CD."

After all of this is set, click "DOWNLOAD." This will take time, as it is around 700 MB. The completed downloaded file is an ISO image file that already includes the Linux Ubuntu Installer and Office programs in Linux (these are equivalent to MS Word and Excel in Windows XP).

{mospagebreak title=Burn the ISO Image installer onto one CD-R}

This requires some caution, since you cannot just directly burn the file into the CD; if you did, the installer wouldn’t work properly. In this case follow the procedures below:

  1. You need "Infra Recorder." This is open source CD burning software recommended by the Ubuntu developers to burn the image to disc. This is the location where you can download the installer: http://infrarecorder.sourceforge.net/

  2. After installing the file, Go to Actions —> then "Burn Image." I recommend setting the burning speed to 4x. This will ensure that the burning process is error free.

  3. Click OK to continue burning the image file. After that, make sure you have properly labeled the CD for identification purposes.

Starting the Basic Installation

Dual boot is useless if you have an invalid Windows XP CD. The primary reason is that if Windows XP’s life will end, it just wastes memory resources.

The next important thing to do is to set your CD to boot first during restart in Windows XP. This can be done by restarting your Windows XP system and pressing F2 several times (BIOS dependent) until the BIOS screen displays. Depending on the brand of the motherboard BIOS, go to the section where you can customize the order of boot during restart, then set it to boot the CD first. Finally press "exit and save changes" to load Windows XP again.

This time, place the Linux Ubuntu installer in the D drive (CD drive) and restart the system again. Windows XP will boot the CD first and will display the installation screen.

The installation steps are pretty simple and user friendly. Ubuntu will ask you to input the following information:


  1. Selecting your language: If you are a native English speaker, select the "English" language in all options.



  1. Installation options will then follow. Click "Install Ubuntu."

What happens next is that Ubuntu will load the installation files to your system. Then it will display the permanent installation steps:

  1. In Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition it will display seven installation steps, so in Step 1 of 7, you will again select "English" as your language and then click "Forward."

  2. Next, you will select your time zone and location. In selecting the location, refer to their drop down menu. In case you do not see your specific country, try looking at the map with several dots and click it. If you still cannot see your exact location on the map, try clicking the dots nearest to you.

  3. Ubuntu will ask you to test your keyboard. The default is US English, so depending on the country where you live, I highly recommend that you test it. Try typing in the installation screen to see if it works according to your needs.



{mospagebreak title=The hard disk configuration}

The most important part of the installation is the hard disk configuration. Actually the main purpose of this configuration is NTFS Partitioning. If you were planning to do a dual boot, both Windows XP and Ubuntu would have each other’s partition space in the hard disk.

Since we are planning to entirely replace Windows XP, the partition space should be entirely removed and replaced with Ubuntu.

To do this, under "Select Disk space," select "Guided- select entire disk." This will replace Windows XP and automatically partition your hard disk for Linux Ubuntu.

This is why we need to back up your important data first (documents, files containing sensitive information, photos, etc.) because once the disk is formatted with Linux Ubuntu, all existing data will be erased and cannot be recovered.

Setting Up Your Personal Account and Completing Installation

This time, you need to properly input an admin account. In Linux, the user in the installation can act as a "User" or "admin" at the same time. By default, when the owner (username in the installation) logs in to Linux, Ubuntu will not automatically assign him admin rights for security purposes except when he/she is able to give commands to authenticate as administrator.



It is highly important to remember usernames and passwords carefully. After this step, the system will be ready to be completely installed. It takes around eight to 15 minutes for the complete installation.

Finally, the system will ask you to reboot, then remove the CD on the drive. Do this. Then, for the first time, you see the login screen.

Enter the username and passwords provided by you during the installation. Now you can now see the Ubuntu Desktop.

Linux and Windows can have similar functions but be highly different in the method of executing those functions. For example, copying files in Windows is very simple (using Ctrl C, then Ctrl-V), but Linux makes use of terminal commands that you will still need to learn. This means you will have to spend some time learning Linux. 

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