Forget Linux – A Chromebook is the Perfect Replacement for Windows XP

There are innumerable reasons why users might still be using Windows XP, but ever since Microsoft announced that the operating system would no longer be supported there has been a debate around how its last advocates should proceed. The ceasing of support will unquestionably create problems for people who still rely on the system, and it’s clear that an alternative OS needs to be found – but which one? There are a plentiful number of Linux distributions that can adequately replace the ancient Windows software, and they do have the benefit of not costing users anything to install, but can Google’s Chromebooks also be considered as a valid alternative? We think they can, here’s why…

Chromebooks Cost Less Than Mainstream Laptops

Of course, you could upgrade to a newer version of the Windows OS. You might hit a problem though – if you’re running XP on a laptop more than five years old or if you have been using a smaller netbook, there is a good chance the computer will not have sufficient specifications to smoothly run one of Microsoft’s more recent offerings. A Chromebook can be bought on Amazon for between $199 (Acer C720) and $319 (Samsung Chromebook 2), whereas a well-endowed Windows computer would comfortably set you back $500 or more. An Apple machine can cost you in excess of $1,000. acer c720 640x449   Forget Linux – A Chromebook is the Perfect Replacement for Windows XP Furthermore, if you are looking to replace old Windows XP machines in an office then you’ll get an additional price incentive – Google is running an offer until the end of June whereby businesses that decide to switch to Chromebooks will get $100 off each managed device bought. If your business opts for a device with VMWare Desktop included as a service, you will get a $200 discount.

Chromebooks Are Virus-Free

One of the main reasons for upgrading from Windows XP is the operating system’s increasing security vulnerabilities. Chromebooks couldn’t be more different, with the stateless system virtually immune to viruses. They have been designed to be secure as possible, using a blend of automatic updates, sandboxed browsing, verified boot and localised data encryption to deliver a built-in level of safety that is unrivalled in the tech world. Even in the event that a hacker bypasses this security and uses the Chromebook’s software development kit to introduce security vulnerabilities, the exploit would only allow the attacker to access the user’s data for a single session. avast web rep 640x400   Forget Linux – A Chromebook is the Perfect Replacement for Windows XP Of course, you still need to be vigilant against phishing attacks (we recommend using Avast’s Web Rep extension) and there are some additional security tweaks you can make, but Chromebooks are arguably the most secure laptops on the market today. It’s all in stark contrast to Windows XP’s security nightmare. Even the security features on Microsoft’s Windows 8 require a significant amount of management and user-input – despite being the most secure version of the OS to date.

You Can Install Linux On Chromebooks

Although Google is introducing a growing number of offline applications, it remains true that some specialist software is simply not appropriate for web-based usage or is not available through the Chrome Web Store. Thankfully, this does not pose a problem. Chrome OS is a Linux-based operating system and, therefore, there are a number of Linux distributions that can be quickly and easily installed on any Chromebook – enabling you to install any software which is compatible with Linux. This includes Skype, VLC Media Player and any other specialist software. Skype on Chromebookv3 640x359   Forget Linux – A Chromebook is the Perfect Replacement for Windows XP Remember, once you’re running Linux you can even use Wine to run Windows software – you won’t even notice that you’re not using Windows! If you intend to install Linux on your Chromebook, we recommend purchasing a model which uses an Intel processor to maximise compatibility.

Chromebooks Are Updated Frequently

Chromebooks offer you three ‘release channels’. Each of these is aimed at a different type of user, and switching between them is easy. The channel that most people will use is the ‘Stable Channel’. On this channel, major updates are released every six weeks, with smaller tweaks and changes released every two weeks. This means that if bugs and errors occur they are fixed far faster and more efficiently than on either a Windows, Apple or Linux machine. Chomebook Change Release Channel   Forget Linux – A Chromebook is the Perfect Replacement for Windows XP On the other end of the spectrum, the experimental ‘Development Channel’ receives updates twice per week, but due to a lack of thorough testing it can be buggy and unstable. It is not recommended for most users. This update frequency is in stark contrast to the user-experience offered by Microsoft’s infamous ‘Windows Update’ tool. For the inexperienced user it has always been unclear what each update does and its relative importance – not to mention the memory consumed by the non-stop stream of rollouts.

You Can Work Offline Using A Chromebook

Since Chromebooks were launched one of the main criticisms they faced is the lack of offline functionality. This argument no longer holds true with modern Chromebooks as all of Google’s native Chrome apps work offline, and there are a vast number of apps in the Web Store which work without a connection, from games and entertainment software through to productivity and academic tools.

What Are You Going To Do?

Are you still running Windows XP? Do you consider Chromebooks to be a viable alternative? What steps have you taken to either protect yourself or upgrade your systems? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credits: TechnologyGuide TestLab Via Flickr

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26 Comments -

garza

While a chrome book is nice it has to be used with a sd card or a usb thumb drive for storage. The SSD will fill up fast. Most only come w/ 8g of hard drive space and assume that you are going to “cloud” everything. — sure you can buy a bigger SSD but thats not why you bought it in the first place. — As far as Linux programs go — you have to install linux first — eating more memory in the OS… an average of 3-4 g depending which linux distro you choose…. Installing Linux on an XP machine you already have saved you a ton of money — LXLE is a great light weight distro that flies on 1-2 gig ram.

likefunbutnot

IMO, Chromebooks are hamstrung by the limitations of the Chrome application ecosystem and relatively slow CPUs. Most Chromebooks also have low resolution screens.

I really believe that a Windows RT device offered a comparable price is a far better idea for most people. Windows RT also has a crummy application selection, but at least Microsoft doesn’t force every program to be a square peg in the round hole of running through a web browser.

A properly equipped Linux or Android tablet would probably be best of all, but of the frustrating lack of uniformity in their user interfaces and overall lack of consumer-accessible documentation would be a stopping point for a lot of end users.

Guy M

It’s really dependent on what you use the Chromebook for. If you’re an e-mail/Facebook user, then they are more than adequate. I’d go as far as to say that unless you’re gaming or graphic designing, it is better than a MS laptop.

ReadandShare

For casual use, sure, why not? But for business use, I would NOT permit my employees to share / store business data unencrypted using Google Docs — and protected by a mere email password!!

And if you install Linux on your Chromebook, then you are really not ‘forgetting’ Linux, as this article’s title suggests, are you?

But I do agree that a Chromebook + Linux can be quite useful — esp. for casual use.

Guy M

The key to corporate use is to treat the Chromebook as a thin client and have them do business work in an RDP environment.

I highly agree about storing business data on a server that you can’t encrypt or control – which is what all of this cloud nonsense is about.

Jone

I rather buy a Windows RT device. Its virus free as well, long battery life, fast, many original Windows features included, no data mining. Google is a data mining virus. I would never trust using a Chromebook for anything personal or put one in any business setting.

Peter F

Having searched the chrome store on many occasions for a movie making program for use on a chromebook and failing I won’t be buying one.
I only make the odd little film/ video blog, but for all the apps on the chrome store that offer film making potential, they all seem to want me to pay for the privalage of NOT having somebody elses watermark all over it.
If Google made their own, I’d happily make the switch to a chrome book tomorrow…. until then I’ll have to tick to Windows 7 until my laptop falls to bits…. Don’t know what I’ll do then except bite the bullet and go for windows8/9/10/11etc

Col. Panek

If you install a real Linux, you have your choice of open source video apps: OpenShot, PiTiVi, Avidemux, KDenLive, Cinelerra…a few I forgot…. no need to bite Microsoft’s bullet yet again!

michel

Although I’ve long been wary of Google, I’m really attracted to the idea of a Chromebook. I use MS Office on my desktop and back up to OneDrive, so a Chromebook would be a light, fast laptop that would sync effortlessly. I’d be able to work on my files with Office Online.

Plus Two

Uh…you do know that Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel right…? Perhaps you should change that title.

Yosua Wisnu

Yeah, change the title, I dont see any connection “Forget Linux” and “use Chromebook”, since most of those points you pointed out is also linux’s good qualities.
-Chromebooks Cost Less Than Mainstream Laptops, use linux with your WinXP computer cost even less :D.
-Chromebooks Are Virus-Free, linux is practically virus free too.
-You Can Install Linux On Chromebooks, you said “forget linux” now u did a full circle mate.
-Chromebooks Are Updated Frequently, and linux is not? XD.
-You Can Work Offline Using A Chromebook, sure linux is better at this “offline” state.
-What Are You Going To Do? I’ll use linux in ex-WinXP computers

Bob Carroll

As expected, I see lots of uninformed comments from folks who have never actually tried a Chromebook (at least not for more than one hour). Regarding installing Linux on a Chromebook, you can install it on an SD card or even a fast 128GB USB 3.0 flash drive if you want. Using Crouton, you can switch back and forth between ChromeOS and Linux instantly since it uses the same optimized Linux kernel and same optimized Chrome drivers.

I have watched movies by attaching a 2TB portable USB hard drive with no problem. You can also access your external networked LAN Plex Media Server (Linux or Windows) by simply going to http://plex.tv/web/app to view or listen to any of your media files, complete with transcoding when necessary.

It’s the same old F.U.D. Windows and Mac users said about Linux. The difference is that unlike the great variety of excellent Linux distributions, ChromeOS (1) comes preinstalled on your Chromebook, (2) it basically looks and behaves the same on different brands (3) it is much easier and more intuitive overall than Windows or Linux (4) much more crash resistant and idiot proof (5) much lower maintenance and higher security, no drivers or antivirus concerns (6) it has mainstream business, education, and government interest and support backed by a major high tech corporation.

likefunbutnot

There is a big difference between FUD and legitimate distaste for the product.

ChromeOS has the beginning of an application ecosystem. There are things that it does reasonably well, like playing videos and some sorts of video games. However, it’s a poor choice for any sort of content creation more complex than a spreadsheet.

ChromeOS applications are functionally just web pages displayed in Chrome. Unfortunately, very few of those web pages provide any real guidance as to how to use ChromeOS applications. You can only say “Just play with it until it works” so many times to an end user before they get frustrated and move back. Many people still do not understand basic concepts like use of a browser address bar. It’s very difficult to say that throwing everything into a browser interface – particularly when browsers on other platforms are not used the same way – represents an intuitive way to use a computer.

Chrome certainly does have security problems. It’s very possible to have malignant applications installed, particularly those that display additional or overlay new ads on a web page. ChromeOS is more or less going to be vulnerable to anything else that has a javascript engine.

Drivers are not and should not be an end user concern. Every computer I’ve ever seen sold at retail has had functional drivers installed for its internal hardware. So has every mobile device.

Finally, ChromeOS is a vehicle to deliver advertisement. That’s what it’s for. It’s not some great gift to the computing world on behalf of Google. If you’re doing mass deployments of it in public or education, you’re essentially paying your Chromebook vendor for the privilege of looking at ads from Google and/or anyone else who happens to have found a way to hook their contend delivery network into a ChromeOS app.

A41202813GMAIL

I Have Zero Need For Portability, And Only Use Toys When There Is Not An Adult Option Around.

Any Configuration With Less Than A Full Tower Is Just Another Shade Of A Toy.

Buy A Modern Motherboard With Lots Of PCIEXPRESS16 Slots And You Can Have XP For Another 10 Years, Easy.

What Happened To XP Will Happen To 7 Too, And PCIEXPRESS16 Cards With Drivers For XP And 7 Will Be Here For A Very Very Very Long Time, Either New Or Used.

I Seriously Doubt M$ Will Ever See Another Cent From Me.

XP, FOREVER !

Anonymous

No. Chromebooks are retarted, they were designed to be online only, and I thought you said” FORGET LINUX” In the title. You hypocrites showing “You Can Install Linux On Chromebooks” just shows you don’t have a live and linux is harder to use than MS-DOS.

dragonmouth

Using a Chromebook as a replacement for XP is exchanging one proprietary lockin for another. Any kind of automatic update scares the living daylights out me. It is MY computer and I will control it, not M$, not Google, not Fruitco. What they think is “best” for me, rarely is.

Using Chromebooks for business may be illegal in some fields, such as healthcare. The HIPAA legislation demands certain security levels for the data. Cloud storage does not meet those requirements. I’m sure there are other fields with similar restrictions.

Adam

Chromebooks are a great choice for education, as a second home laptop, or for users that spend most of their time in a browser and want a device that starts up fast and is easy to use.

If you’re considering Chromebooks but also need access to Windows applications you can look at solutions like Ericom AccessNow, an HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook users to securely connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server and VDI virtual desktops, and run their applications and desktops in a browser.

AccessNow does not require any client to be installed on the Chromebook, as you only need the HTML5-compatible browser.

For an online, interactive demo, open your Chrome browser and visit:
http://www.ericom.com/Demo-AccessNow-4-Chromebooks.asp?URL_ID=708

Please note that I work for Ericom

Ziaur Rahman

In me opinion Linux is the only perfect replacement of windows xp.

Mic Hall

Don’t buy or suggest a Chromebook for someone going to College.

For use to support educational use Chromebooks are very limited. Nearly all book publishers require IOS or Windows to support plugins and software. I know of NONE who support Chromebooks specifically but because of support for the Chrome browser may work in a limited fashion for a students needs.

At the Colleges I work with we warn students to purchase a regular laptop, Apple or PC with windows because of the limitations of support and requirements placed on students for use of specific software that is not compatible with the ChromeBook or Linux.

Neb R

This is a somewhat ridiculous article. Aside from the fact that Chrome OS is based on a Linux Kernel, many of the Linux distros can replace your old XP and for free. Also, they will work on an older hardware. So let me see. I can keep my old laptop and have a free operating system capable of all that any other OS would be… or buying a Chromebook? Sorry – that is a no brainer.

Bill M

Chromebooks work great have 2 in the house and this comes from a gamer who owns a “tower” pc Now it isn’t for gaming on Steam but for EVERYTHING else we do in the house they rock. The OS is 100x faster than any OS out there that the “Slow hardware” argument doesnt work. No viruses, The apps are just fine and cover everything you could possibly need and cost wise you couldn’t get a new system for under 200 that has the capabilities or portability. I start my 4.2 ghz quad core system, 8g of G.Skills 1866 ram and 1 ghz video up against my wifes CB and she is on line, checking email, facebook and banking before I even get booted up. and her CB is a C710. yeah hardware is EVERYTHING.

Tim Vels

I will just stick with Linux or Windows……
Thanks but no thanks for Chromebooks

John L

Purely an observation but in my experience the vast majority of XP machines came supplied with 256mb or 512mb of RAM installed. Having tried a year or two ago to install various Linux distros on a machine with 512mb RAM the vast majority will not install and the ones that do are so slow they are unusable. Linux distros now need specs similar to what a Windows 7/8 machines require to work correctly. I have run both Windows 7 and 8 on machines running 1gb RAM and they run okay, not quick but usable. My experience with Linux was the same except Ubuntu, that ran like a snail. I know you can upgrade the ram but that is often not a cheap option especially when both slots are already in use.
A Chromebook could be a good option for anyone who just needs to surf the internet and check their email but I would consider them in the same way as I view Windows 8 apps in that they are a nice sideline but useless for real work.

Guest

I’ll either stick with XP or unplug the stupid Internet and go back to MS-DOS. Sick and tired of this gimmicky “cloud” junk that’s more like a broken umbrella. The only Internet program I use is the Internet, and not dumb, pointless teenage social-media apps like Facetwerk or Pinheadgram or Tumblebirds or Tubejob or whatever preschool toy du jour the Wrong Direction fans are playing with lately.

Google is like that creepy guy at the bar who keeps asking for your phone number, so you give him a pizza parlor or 1-800-HEY-FYOU just to shut him up. I wouldn’t trust them not to short-circuit my grandmother’s pacemaker or install spy chips in your underwear. M$ is no better, of course, but at least Windows OS was designed for use offline (having originated in the good old days prior to the web), which is more than I can say for an OS built by a stupid Internet startup. Even the much-maligned Clippy the Office Assistant was never as intrusive as the friggin’ Googlemonster. Why didn’t these guys go bankrupt after the dotcom bubble burst?

It’s getting to the point that I’d rather pet a an actual firefox with rabies than bother with any of these companies or the Internet in general. Perhaps someone should come up with the Kaczynski OS and disable the whole network once and for all.

salhi

I would say the monitor is awesome to have. Its a small screen and you can mount it on to other things. It’s also great for DIY stuff.

Travelinrob

Anyone using Netflix on their Chrome book? If so, is it a positive experience?