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Location: Somewhere inside 9.9 million sq. km. Canada
Distribution: Slackware 14.1, 14.2
WinXP is going away in April 2014
It is the support ( bug fixes ) that goes away. Your system will still run.
I want change to Linux 12.1
Is this some version of Ubuntu? If not, what distro?
There are lots of tutorials on how to install a dual boot system. If your intention is to blow away your XP system, and use the entire hard drive for linux, then again, there are instructions on how to do this. I can't direct you to any, since you didn't state what distro you want to run.
Quicken. I have never seen a linux version of Quicken. It might be possible to run it under Wine, however, I do not know for sure. Well, here is a surprise. A quick google search turned up this link.
To run some native windows on linux one might buy crossover office's product or a free program called wine. It allows some programs to run under the different operating system. If you only want to run Quicken for some reason it may work well enough. Wine is a work around to get windows apps to work in linux.
There may be linux native applications that could substitute.
Hopefully you don't have this xp system connected to the internet if you also use private data on it. As noted above, you can continue to use xp for many more years as long as you keep it off the internet. Well, you should have been doing that.
rchapin 38: My guess is that you are looking for Ubuntu 12.04, a distro that is designed to provide an easy introduction for newcomers to Linux. I encourage you to try it - it is the way a great many people have moved from the proprietary systems world to Linux.
If you go to https://help.ubuntu.com you can find introductions that cover just about all the basics of making the transition.
I came to Linux a few years ago, and my most important comment is this: you will get the most effective answers to your questions on this or any other forum if you do all the research you can before asking. That way, forum members can give you a more accurate answer. They will also respect your effort.