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billgant 12-11-2006 08:06 PM

Seventy niner who doesn't understand anything.
I'll be seventy nine next April and have a bunch of questions. Can I install Linux without losing my Windows XP programs? Which Linux should I install for a beginner? Will I be able to use Microsoft Excel 97 and Word with Linux? As you can see I don't know much but I do know I would like to get away from microsoft.


rickh 12-11-2006 08:30 PM

Your Windows programs will not work in Linux, but there are alternative, comparable programs for most functions. You will be able to use your Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets in Linux unless they are very complicated. There may be some minor tweaks required, but nothing major. You will be able to save spreadsheets, word processing documents, etc in a format usable by other people still stuck with Windows.

Which distro you should use is an unanswerable question. You will have to learn and become comfortable in one of them. One of the major releases is recommended, so that there will be plenty of help available. Check out for ideas.

You may want to run a dual-boot system for a while until you decide whether Linux is acceptable for your needs. A LiveCD distro is also an option. That runs Linux from your CD drive, so you don't have to install anything on your hard drive to try it out.

You might also want to consider one of the "non-free" distros like Xandros or Linspire. They run about $80, but are designed to easily replace Windows. After you use one for a year or so, you will likely want to move to a real Linux distro.

nephish 12-11-2006 08:34 PM

welcome aboard sir !
You can set up a linux distro to dual boot with windows so that you can select which operating system to load at boot.
Ubuntu i think is about the best new guy distro out there, i have been with linux for 6 years and it's still my favorite.

Windows programs will not work under linux, but there are many many apps that do the same things as the popular windows programs for linux.

Perhaps you would like OpenOffice as an alternative to the Microsoft Office programs. I am not sure that they are 100% compatable, but as i understand it, they are very close. We are moving away from Microsoft after all, right ?

If you want to try out linux without installing it, run the ubuntu live cd. It loads the OS from the CD-ROM and does not even touch your hard drive. But it will be kinda slow since it has to run from the CD which is much slower than the hard drive after an installation.

Hang out here a lot, i have found folks very helpful hereabouts.

good luck !

petersum 12-11-2006 08:38 PM

Wow! I hope I will still be interested in Linux at that age!
Try to get some LiveCD versions to try out first, as they wont disturb your present Windows XP. If you can burn your own CD's then there are many that can be downloaded as .iso images. There are so many to choose from. If downloading is difficult speedwise, try Slax as it is very small but quite impressive.

Microsoft Office docs are seen in Linux by using OpenOffice. It is a one way street where Linux can see and use Windows documents, but Windows can't see Linux. You'll probably find that Linux's Office is much more versatile than Microsoft's.

billgant 12-11-2006 08:45 PM

Thank you so much. I did try search engins first

billgant 12-11-2006 08:55 PM

Thank you rickh and nephish. I will try your advise and will certainly be back for more info. I did try the search engine but got so confused that I thought I might have a better understanding here.

alred 12-11-2006 08:58 PM

go for live cd and try to work out from a live cd in wahtever ways ...

this is what microsofts cant do ...


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