Problem resolved... Sort of...
Long story. I found an old (8.?) Ubuntu install disk in a book. No ISO, direct install. But had no drivers for my hardware (gateway notebook) so to get online I walked 10 miles and panhandled (homeless, unemployed BTW) $32 for a WiFi dongle with drivers. Then updated to full 10.04 Ubuntu online. Works great. IMHO better than Windows 7.