How do I install Ubuntu on my old desktop which functioned perfectly well till I got problems with Windows XP? At the moment all I can do is open a few of the files I saved to my USB. All my Excel and Word files on it cannot be opened though because my trying to improve XP by reinstalling it using the original cd resulted in all the programs I had including Office vanishing.

I cannot go to any webpages either as essential files are missing. My desktop only has 256 MB of RAM. My technical skills are zero unfortunately.

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    The fact that there is a broken version of XP on the computer is irrelevant; you install Ubuntu the same as you would otherwise: use a working computer to download it and put it on a disk, and boot it up in the computer and install. – psusi May 12 '14 at 23:16
  • Is the normal installation failing? – Braiam May 13 '14 at 1:30

If you only have 256 MB RAM I would use Lubuntu. This is a flavour of Ubuntu that uses the fewest resources. You may even want to try something else than Ubuntu.

256 MB RAM is really small. Even Windows XP (with all updates) would be really slow. Maybe you can try to upgrade it to 512 MB.

Also, some more information about your system would be nice.

To install it you'll have to use a CD or USB drive. I think a CD will be the best choice as older systems are usually not able to boot from USB.

You can download the ISO from the Lubuntu website and burn it on CD using ImgBurn (or another program that can burn ISO images). Don't just drop the ISO file itself on the CD as it will not be bootable that way.

Then you'll have to start your computer from the CD. This is usually done by pressing F2 or DEL just after you power on your computer.

Search for something called Boot Order and make sure CD is on top. Then save and exit. Your PC will now start from CD.

Just follow the on-screen instructions. If you have any questions you can leave a comment.

Ubuntu has an internet browse (Firefox) and a office suite (LibreOffice: including Word and Excel) built in.

LibreOffice is not the same as Microsoft Office, but you can view and edit Microsoft Office documents with it.

I think Ubuntu also has an email client built in (Evolution) but I'm not sure about that. If it hasn't you can always easily install it using the following command in the terminal or use Ubuntu's Software Center:

sudo apt-get install evolution

I think you'll get used to Ubuntu faster than you think, especially if you're only using internet, email and office.

You can backup your important files to an USB drive by choosing Try Ubuntu when you boot from your Ubuntu CD (do this before installing Ubuntu).

Ubuntu will start a live environment. Open a file manager and on the left you'll see all your hard disks. Click on Windows to open your Windows files (the name may be different, just try them all).

Your files will be in Documents and Settings/UserName. You can just drag them to your USB drive.

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Lubuntu is your best chance considering the low RAM that you have, you can click here to get the latest version which will give you an install disk just like the Windows XP disk you reainstalled with.

Lubuntu is a very simple system, and if you can navigate around Windows XP, then Lubuntu should take little time to learn.

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With only 256MB of RAM, Ubuntu and it's derivatives ( like Lubuntu ) is not a good choice for your PC. At the moment I can't think of any GNU/Linux distribution that both runs well with as few as 256MB of RAM and is easy to install especially if you don't want all your files to be lost ( if you don't care about those it's much easier ).

If all you want is a quick way to use the internet there are some distributions out there that aren't installed to the hard drive but run from a CD (everything that's not saved to an external medium will be lost after reboot ). Those distributions specifically designed for low RAM environments include:

and many others. I'd recommend DamnSmallLinux for your purposes but keep in mind it behaves really differently from Windows XP. If you want to use it, Download the ISO-Image ( ftp://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/damnsmall/current/dsl-4.4.10.iso ) and burn it onto a CD. Then put it in your pc and boot from it.

EDIT: From a usability perspective you really should try Lubuntu first. You may have to use the alternate install cd (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu/Alternate_ISO) though, that is much less easy to handle than the normal installation. In case this doesn't work proceed as described above.

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    If Lubuntu didn't work i would try Puppy Linux. – TuKsn May 12 '14 at 22:53

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