I have two computers. The old one is running Windows-XP. Microsoft is discontinuing support for Windows-XP which accounts for about 30% of their installed base. Microsoft has two options for you. One is to just upgrade the operating system by buying either Windows 8 or Windows 7. You have to first check to see if those operating systems are compatible with your old hardware. After the upgrade, many of your old programs won’t run, but if you used the optional installation aid, at least your settings can be restored.
The other choice Microsoft offers you is to buy a new computer with the new software already on it, and just dispose of your old computer. You lose almost everything from your old computer unless you find some way to at least transfer the data from your old machine to the new one.
There is another alternative that Microsoft probably disparages. You can install a variant of Linux such as Ubuntu on your old machine.
You might ask if you will lose everything on your old machine if you install Ubuntu. Fortunately the answer is that you won’t lose anything. You won’t even lose what you would under Microsoft’s two options. The reason is that the default Ubuntu installation option is to turn your machine into a dual boot machine. This means you will be able to run Ubuntu or Windows-XP at any time on the old computer.
You won’t want to run Windows-XP if you can possibly avoid it because of the future vulnerability of that operating system after Microsoft stops fixing security problems in Windows-XP. However, if you find that there is something you absolutely need from the Windows-XP side, you can disconnect your machine from the internet for safety reasons, and then boot-up Windows-XP.
Prior to the discontinuance of Microsoft support for Windows-XP, you won’t have to disconnect your computer from the internet to retrieve something from the Windows-XP side of your machine.
Since Sharon is the one now using the old computer for browsing the internet, all I need to do is to get Firefox running under Ubuntu on the old machine. Firefox even provides a facility to keep all of your Firefox installations in sync. I am already using that to sync my Windows-7 machine, the Windows-XP machine, and my Samsung tablet.