We explain how to keep your Windows XP netbook running once XP is no longer supported.
QUESTION I have a Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook running Windows XP. With support ending in April 2014, what options do I have regarding a replacement operating system. I don't want to ditch a perfectly capable PC.
HELPROOM ANSWER There's no reason to panic about the end of support for Windows XP, but it's a good idea to upgrade to a supported operating system where possible.
The best choice for you will depend on what you want to do with the laptop. If you're hoping to continue to run the applications you currently have, then you'll need to stick with Windows.
Fortunately, we've seen many reports of people running Windows 7 quite successfully on their Dell Inspiron Mini 10, although it will run much more smoothly if you upgrade the memory from 1GB to 2GB. Checking Dell's support site (support.euro.dell.com) also reveals some drivers available for Windows 7 32-bit.
If you're not too bothered about maintaining a Windows installation, but just want to keep the netbook working, then you can install Linux. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 is officially certified for Ubuntu, which you can download and install free of charge.
In general if you're thinking of upgrading any older PC from XP to Windows 7, checking the manufacturer's website for Windows 7 drivers is a good starting point. The presence of these is a good indication that you will at least be able to install the operating system.
You can also run Microsoft's upgrade advisor, available to download from: tinyurl.com/ybgop43. This will analyse your PC's hardware and software, and advise you of any potential problems before you upgrade.