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Why a Chromebook Makes The Perfect Windows XP Upgrade

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Microsoft has finally ended support for Windows XP, leaving millions of users around the world at the mercy of malware, unpatched security holes and exploits.

Scary sounding stuff, right? With a modern browser like Google Chrome, which is supported on Windows XP for another year, and a decent anti-virus package like Microsoft Security Essentials, also supported until 2015, you might be able to eke along safely for a little while longer.

Not that you should, mind. Windows XP is old hat; it’s been around for more than a decade now, a veritable eon in computing terms. Every day you put off switching is another day lost using a stress-free, safe and modern computing alternative.

What To Do?

So you’re sat at a Windows XP box running on hardware that even museums would baulk at displaying; or you’re tapping away on a clunking heap of plastic once called a laptop, now just a junktop.

To avoid the XPocalypse you have three distinct choices:

  • Buy a new PC or notebook preloaded with Windows 8.1, Microsoft’s latest OS
  • Keep your PC but upgrade to a newer OS, perhaps even a free Linux distribution
  • Switch to an alternative, like a Chromebook

Given the name above the door you won’t be surprised to hear us recommend the last of these. Here’s why.

acer-c720p-2600Chromebooks Are Cheap & Powerful

Let’s tackle the biggest incentive: compared to Windows laptops Chromebooks are much, much cheaper.

Why? The chief reason is that Google provides Chrome OS, the operating systems used on Chromebooks, to PC makers for free. This saving is passed on to customers in the form of a lower RRP.

There are two main type of Chromebooks available: those using Intel processors and those using ARM. Performance-wise both work great, but Intel-based devices tend of offer marginally faster performance, while ARM models boast better battery life.

Whatever the Chrome, from powered off to online in as little as 10 seconds! 

Depending on the size and power you think you’ll need you can pay as little as $179 for a brand new device from sites like Amazon.

No Virus Software Needed

The fact that you don’t need to run virus software or malware protection on Chrome OS always comes as a shock to Windows users.

This isn’t a fluffy bit of advertising; the OS has been designed by Google to be as secure as possible from the ground up.

While you still need to keep an eye out for phishing scams (this is when rogue websites pretend to be legitimate ones) and continue to exercise caution when sharing data online, this is true of any OS, including Windows.

Easy To Use

Coming from Windows XP you’ll be used to working in a certain way. For the most part you’ll find the interface very similar.

desktop-walkthrough

Just like Windows, you have a desktop and a ‘start menu’ where you can launch and search for applications. A task bar sits along the bottom for launching favourites faster and switching between those that are open. To the far right sits a system tray and notification centre.

While there is a slight learning curve involved, and a number of things are different, it’s all incredibly straightforward to get to grips with.

Yes, You Can Work Offline

As for working offline? It’s a common myth that Chromebooks can’t do anything offline.

Screenshot 2014-03-28 at 00.14.08

huge array of applications support offline working, including Google Docs (for all your office needs), audio and video players, photo editors and games.

Applications aren’t chained to the web browser either. Chrome Apps run independently with powerful features, custom interfaces and system integration.

They Get Better All The Time

Google push out fresh updates to their Chromebooks every month or so. These add new features, improve performance and make things more secure. Updates are downloaded in the background and are installed when you switch off.

Better yet they’re free: you never have to pay for upgrades.

Learn more

Interested? You can learn more from Google’s own Chromebook website, or by browsing available models on e-tailers like Amazon.

Learn More About Chromebooks

  • Adam

    A better Windows XP upgrade is Cr OS Linux or other lightweight Linux distro with Cinnamon/LXDE/MATE.

  • That Virtual Boy
  • Kenny Strawn

    Let’s make this very clear: The whole reason why Google A, made the Chrome logo movable, and B, moved the app launcher to the bottom left, is to quell people’s familiarity fears about Windows 8. Not to mention, of course, packaged apps… So yeah, Chrome OS naysayers, especially with packaged apps on board, no longer have a leg to stand on.

  • daniel brenha

    My only 2 complains about chromebooks in general are the lack of Portuguese keyboard layout and some light steam gaming, but the latter is solved with some dual booting.

  • Dakota Jacobsen

    Promevo will be providing everything you need in relation to moving towards Chromebooks/boxes. We will be providing the devices, management licenses (at the discounted $50 price), and VMware solutions! If you have any questions feel free to email me at dakota.jacobsen@promevo.com.

  • Michael Mistretta

    ChromeOS is the Linux desktop I always wanted .. except it does not run Linux software. :/

  • h20ray

    its not upgrade.. –” sigh

  • august rats

    how about creative suite?

  • DRalis

    Already did it. Not looking back. About to put Linux Mint with Chrome or Chromium on my old XP netbook. But I now have an Acer Chromebook and an Asus Chromebox for my everyday needs. Does everything I need mostly. Linux can handle the rest – like ripping DVDs and CDs.

    • Joe LaFreniere

      May I ask why you decided to get both the Chromebook and Chromebox? Why not just dock the C720 when you need to?

      • DRalis

        I’m beginning to wonder that myself. But I just thinking the constant plugging and unplugging is a pain. Besides, the price was right and I know Google won’t be walking away from their OS. One plus to both. The Chromebook is not upgradeable at all. However, you can add up to 16GB of RAM and swap out the SSD in the Chromebox. I got them both for just about what I spent for my last Netbook and less than what a Win 8.1 device costs.

        • Joe LaFreniere

          Thanks for your insight.

          • Boothy

            I got the Chromebox and series 5 550 chromebook.
            Similar reasons to DRalis, the price of the 2 the same as a Windows machine, and with Chrome sync, moving from 1 to the other is seamless. And I had the monitor and peripherals from the old desktop.
            I actually upgraded the Chromebook to a 64GB ssd, as I travel with it a bit, and just wanted the extra space for media (streaming of hotel wifi or 3G just isn’t reallt feasible).

  • Adam Greenblum

    Evaluating Chromebooks requires setting proper expectations. 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

    • Oliver Black

      I looked into ericom, didn’t work in 2 minutes, downloaded 2x RD client, worked in 1, I have low expectations though

  • ldoodles

    Actually, not true. I upgraded from a Windows XP laptop to an Acer Chromebook, and I have to say, the Chromebook sucks. This article calls the Chromebook the “Perfect Windows XP upgrade,” but it’s not. I used my Windows XP laptop to do 3D modeling, programming, media playing, game designing, and animation. The Chromebook can’t do any of that without some major compromises. It can’t do 3D modeling, the programming tools for it suck, the media player literally can’t do anything right besides play mp3 files, you can’t even find a good MSPAINT alternative for it, and the animation programs for it are either online only or sluggish. If you’re looking for an XP replacement, a cheap Windows laptop, desktop, or even tablet would be a better choice for you.

    • Shark Bait

      Yep unfortunately their crap for professional software. I love my chrome book for personal use computing but switch to my high power desktop for my engineering applications

      • ldoodles

        Yeah, I’m actually in the process of putting Elementary on my Chromebook, so that should solve my problem. It’s tricky though, and it has to be timed right. (I almost installed every version of Ubuntu by accident, had around 400MB of space left. I had to reinstall Chrome and try again, so back to the drawing board. How does that even happen?)

    • Oliver Black

      Most people who do this will already have left xp, and for the majority of people chrome os is sufficicent

  • Shark Bait

    My favourite bit is how they just work, I do t think it can be understated how nice that is,. No setting, no virus protection, no installs, no annoying updates. Those things happen yes, but you never know. And it just works, its great after years of pissing about with window

    • Boothy

      Agreed. Whilst the latest W8.1 update has been good for performance the 0.7gb download, 45min install, then being presented with 1.2gb download for office 13 updates was a bit of a time hog…..

  • andy stumpf

    Get a chromebook for $99 . You only have 9 more days with best buy.

    So true. Chrome book kills it. And it’s way cheaper than 179 I just got my c720 yesterday morning for $99. Been streaming Pandora while cranking work out on drive and Gmail while texting with mighty text all day yesterday and today and just hit 30% battery without a charge.

    Check out best buy for the best $99 deal on chromebook…trade in a xp laptop since it’s now worthless, get the credit and pay $99 for the Acer c720. Install Ubuntu or your favorite distribution if you like!

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Computing-Promotions/Windows-XP-Trade-In-Offer/pcmcat327400050019.c?id=pcmcat327400050019

    • Nighthawk700

      What does Best Buy do with the laptop? Since I have to show it boots into XP, I can’t wipe the hard drive in advance, which would make me more comfortable with turning it in.

    • Kevin Welsh

      I’m thinking of jumping on this deal as well, considering I have two or three xp laptops just gathering dust in the basement.

      Anyone have recommendations on which chromebook to pick up? The Acer C720 seems to be a popular choice, but I have heard some good things about Dell’s offering too.

  • http://waltersthinking.blogspot.com/ Walter Ruggieri

    Chromebooks a perfect for basic computing. If you have something more complex to do, Chromebooks are not the way to go. I like the fact that I can do all my normal computing stuff and I did not have to pay a fortune, deal with a bloated OS, and not have to worry about getting a stupid virus that will wipe all my stuff away. I also like the fact that I do not have to keep paying for upgrades.

  • ssNK

    well, i assure you that w8.1 could work perfectly smoothy on most of w xp pcs
    why prefer chrome os instead of a real os?

  • Cameron Rogers

    Chrome OS is NOT a good replacement for XP. Id rather stick to XP. I mean, seriously, all you can do is browse the net or do the very simple basic of tasks.

    With XP you can play games that are actually GOOD instead of those garbage mobile quality ones. You can also use better apps. Microsoft Office is 5 times better than google docs. The only use for a Chromebook is in the office for people who only type up documents or do PR work or crap like that. For home use, a Chromebook is hardly worth it.

    If you can afford to spend about $50 more, I highly recommend you buy the Asus 11.6 Windows 8.1 laptop. Its even got a touch screen and its a bit bigger than a chromebook.