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There is no data that cannot be replaced on the machine, so no back up or copy is required. It has been used primarily as a link. I selected it 3+ years ago to use as a secure link and transport some family photos and etc while traveling. Sticks and cards have made that use obsolete. Therefore a wipe and clean install of any o/s doesn't pose a problem, if the hardware will support. I'll investigate Xbuntu. As for the OP not having any info about Dellbuntu or whatever it is called - the OP'er didn't know there was a Dellbuntu. The OP'er is an old guy who came to the conclusion 3+ years ago that Ubuntu on a Netbook was probably a better solution than Windows and buying AV software. Clam and the firewall are free. So that's howcome he got this rig. He still uses XPPro as his daily O/S. Thanks to all. This has been an excellent experience.
Zedex, I admire your "can do" attitude and willingness to learn. I think you have a good plan to learn more about the different Ubuntu variants (like Xubuntu or Lubuntu), wait until sometime after April, and then install your favorite "flavor" of 12.04.
My one concern is which graphics chip your netbook has. Here is a command to check that. You'll need to get into the Terminal (look under Applications, Accessories, or press Alt+F2 and type "gnome-terminal" without the quotes, press Enter) and copy & paste the following command:
lspci | grep VGA
(The vertical line is called a "pipe" and is shift + \ (backslash) on most keyboards.)
Hopefully it does not say Intel GMA500 Poulsbo, because that card can be a little tricky with non-Dellbuntu Ubuntu versions. If it says Intel 945 or 3150 then you should be OK.
I have taken pics of Terminal's reply to the query, the computer, its screen and its keyboard. I don't know how to put photos in here so below is a link to a little blog I do. The pics can all be expanded to close to full screen so everything should be readable.
Distribution: OpenSUSE 13.2 64bit-Gnome on ASUS U52F
The screen shot you provided looks very good. Google Xfce, LXDE, KDE, Unity, Gnome and see what you like best, and install a desktop of your like. snowpine suggested your video card will work with any of these.
The new release of Ubuntu will be not until April so by then you have a good idea of what you are looking for in a desktop.
Perhaps you can play with some liveCDs in the main time
Thanks to everyone on this thread. Your response has been greatly appreciated and I'll let you know in April how it went. I shudder to think of how it would have gone if I'd just gone ahead and tried. I didn't even know there was a Delbuntu. I'll be looking over the different desktops and will settle for the most simple.