I thought based on the tech spec that my PC would handle Ubuntu, but it's slow. I want to get rid of it, and perhaps install Xubuntu.
How can I completely delete this OS (the only one installed)? I have no windows to use to "overwrite" it.
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Boot other distro/OS that you want to install on your desktop and when you're prompted to set up your partitions, delete all existing.
Now when you've deleted all partitions, create a new one for your new distro/OS and install it.
Use another computer or Ubuntu 12.04 to download and burn the Xubuntu ISO to your USB/CD and boot from it. Select the option to completely erase the old OS when installing Xubuntu.
You don't need windows to overwrite it; use the USB key you already have, or the one you're going to use to re-install from; the obvious thing to do is to download Xubuntu, create the new USB drive, and do as others have suggested; if you really want to clear the drive first, you could just open a terminal,
sudo -i to become root, & use
fdisk to remove all partitions from your hard disk - but it isn't necessary to do so.
Why is it so slow? Is there a driver problem? Often it's silly things like a sound driver, or insufficient memory, if you use tools like
free to see what's happening you may save bother with the new OS as well. I would suggest you try to work it out if you can as hardware drivers may well remain the same after an upgrade.
You know you can just add the Xubuntu packages to any existing Ubuntu? It's a meta-package available in
apt or the Software Center or Synaptic...
apt-get install xubuntu-desktop will do it.
And for just the XFCE window manager, it's
apt-get install xfwm4