questionswiped netbook clean of xp,now what can i install…

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What software do you have and which operating system is it compatible with?

If you used XP in the past, you may have a better transition to another Microsoft operating system like Windows 7 or 8. Linux is an awesome operating system but it's not necessarily compatible with your existing software. If you are planning on changing all your software, Linux may be a good option. There are many free or almost-free office programs available for Linux.

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Theoretically you can install just about anything. On the other hand in practice, what's worth installing will depend on the netbook.
Netbooks tend to be under-powered to keep price low and battery life reasonable, in addition to keeping them very small. Windows 7/8 may be doable, but older netbooks might struggle to run it. You'll especially run into problems if you're using a netbook with a small solid-state drive.
If you're trying to play older games (DOS/early Windows based), Windows is the best bet (XP is actually your best bet).
If you want to squeeze the most performance you can out of it and use it for some basic productivity functionality, I'd recommend a flavor of Linux with minimal extras installed; just make sure you can find the drivers you need.
Finally, some of them out there actually can have MacOSX installed, though there are very few of these. I think the Dell Netbooks were most known for that.

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@cengland0: It is a2nd pc,just web surfing, emails, no shopping or games

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http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop
Awhile back I installed ubuntu on a slow, old PC that used to have XP on it. It worked ok. Web surfing and email it should be great if you can get used to a different OS.

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@bsmith1: I second Ubuntu. Mint is also good; it's based off of Ubuntu.

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I have a little ASUS netbook which is my vacation machine. I'm getting ready (or technically, The Spouse is getting ready) to replace my beloved WinXP with Win7, which I'm learning to use on my desktop.

The Spouse uses Linux, but I'm not that brave yet.

So far, with a couple of oddball and frustrating changes, Win7 is survivable.

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You could install viruses...though I wouldn't recommend it.

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I third ubuntu! Just wiped my Windows 8 and swapped for ubuntu 12.04. One caveat: this newer version has a slightly different layout/functionality that some people are complaining about but it doesn't bother me.

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I first Lubuntu (light weight ubuntu)
With a 5400 RPM HD, 1.6 atom processor, and 1gb of memory I would pick Lubuntu.

Same layout as XP(ish)
You can edit the task bar.
Ubuntu store.

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I've run Linux(first Ubuntu, later moved to Mint) for years now, and couldn't be happier. Lubuntu is a great lightweight idea, still fully functional. You should notice at least a modest speed increase, never a bad thing.
I'd like to also think of trying Android on it. Tons of apps, could be interesting.
The thing to remember now that it's all clean: you can't hurt it.

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Maybe Elementary OS? I haven't actually run it yet, but have been meaning to.

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if you are going to another MS product I would skip Win 7 (even though i like it better than 8). It runs better with fewer resources and works well with out all the aero stuff.

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If you're going with Windows, AVOID Win8 at all costs, still way too many bugs and takes much longer to find anything that is 2 clicks in Win7-older.
If you choose to go with Linux, Ubuntu is popular, but if security is important, have a look at the full desktop version of Scientific Linux (based on CentOS and Red Hat). Another option that needs very little configuration is Linux Mint.

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You can use a LiveUSB or LiveCD to try different versions of Linux before committing. So see what you like. You can customize
(Something like http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ )

For an XP machine I'd lean towards a distro lighter on resources like Lubuntu (or even Slitaz if you don't mind working a little) like they recommended.

ETA: ChromiumOS is also an option - basically gives you the simplicity and ease of use of a Chromebook on a standard PC.

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@mattschuette: Any idea how long this has been around?
Looks interesting (thought I was looking at OSX at first), but I hate being a guinea pig for early builds :)

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@drchops: I was looking at Hexxeh's ChromeOS but got interrupted before I found if the wifi works with his model.
http://chromeos.hexxeh.net/

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@caffeine_dude: Yeah, I think Chromium is a pretty good call.. I'd say it's the easiest to learn by a long shot since pretty much everyone knows how to use a browser.
Didn't even realize he posted the model info :) - looks like it has fairly common hardware at a glance, so that's promising.

Also for anyone who cares (re ElementaryOS) it looks like this newest version has been out for a bit, so the major bugs are probably hammered out.

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@mattschuette: Looks more like a MacOS clone, definitely not suggested for people allergic to Apples...

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@drchops: The source of all knowledge indicates initial release of 31 March 2011.

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@screwballl: Ummm, it's a Linux kernel. It's based on Ubuntu. The fact that it looks like OS X really has no bearing on anything. As @drchops mentioned, just burn a bunch of Live CDs, just about every distro is a Live CD by default anymore, and you probably have a few hundred blanks sitting around. Use whatever you are comfortable with.

But, hey, if you REALLY want something that isn't Linux and doesn't look like OS X, there's always FreeBSD, NetBSD or even GNUStep.