This isn't an in depth comparison of Windows and Linux, it is a quick overview of why I feel Linux is better than Windows. I know many people I talk to have been thinking about trying Linux so here are a few reasons.
The screenshot above is from my laptop. You see fancy transparency and effects like newest version of Windows - Windows 7 has, Linux has had this ability for a decade or so. Windows 7 provides these effects, but only on a brand spanking new & very fast machine. My laptop is from 2003. Windows XP runs "ok" on it, yet this fancy Linux runs much faster and is FREE.
2003 Dell Inspiron 8600
1.4 ghz Intel Celeron CPU
1.5 GB DDR1 Ram
32mb nVidia Go 5200
333 mhz Front Side Bus.
Running Linux Mint 9 KDE
If my computer information doesn't make much sense to you just think that various bits in my laptop are 1/2 to almost as fast as one of those cheap $200 "netbooks". If Linux runs fast and smooth on a machine this old, just think of how it will work on anything new within the last few years.
Makes it seem like a load to pay a few hundred bux for Windows when it is slower, crashes often, gets viruses and other lame stuff that doesn't affect Linux. People say they want to buy a Apple because they don't have the problems windows does, but Apple OSX is based on Linux in the first place.
The ONE problem people have with Linux is that they cannot use Windows programs of games on it. Just like Apple Mac has all their own software that replaces your need for Most Windows programs, Linux does the same, but has MORE FREE SOFTWARE. If there is a Windows program you wish to keep using in Linux there is a 75% or so chance it will work using "WINE" which is a compatibility layer that sits between Linux and your windows program. It fools your program into thinking it is running on a Windows Computer.
Linux is free because it has a community that builds and fixes it, they do it to give something to the world, not to make money by selling you a crappy product. This same community acts as technical support to help solve problems people may have, or to guide new users through common issues. The main difference here is that these people are not here to SERVE you no matter how you treat them like customer service at a company you bought something from. These people help because they are nice and if you treat them like they owe you something or like you expect something from them they will just ignore you and ban you from their corners of the web.
Another reason I refuse to use Windows is that it is purposely sold with defects, problems, and security holes as well as having built in backdoors to let Microsoft and the Government into your computer to see what you are up to.
Choose Linux to make your old computer run better than new for free, and stop worrying about viruses.
People say that Linux is hard to learn or use, it is easier for many people than switching from Windows to Mac, or Mac to Windows.
Go to the Linux Mint Website to check out the Linux distro that I use (there are somewhere around 300 different versions called 'distributions').
If you have any questions the people in the forum are nice and happy to answer questions go to the Linux Mint Forums.