In response to the current discussion on moving away from Windows, I'd suggest that SurvivalBlog readers take a look at Puppy Linux as well. It is a free bare bones OS that does most of the basic Windows functions and uses very few resources on your computer. The minimal requirements are as follows:
• CPU : Pentium 166MMX
• RAM : 128 MB physical RAM for releases since version 1.0.2 or, failing that, a Linux swap file and/or swap partition is required for all included applications to run; 64 MB for releases before v.1.0.2
• Hard Drive: Optional
• CD-ROM: 20x and up
These small requirements may allow people to dust off some obsolete or malware-infested PCs and put them back to work.
Since it runs completely in a tiny amount of your PC's RAM, you can carry the extremely fast OS and all of your work on a thumb drive. This also allows you to easily dual boot it with Windows for those "must" applications. Just reboot or shutdown the PC and your last session is wiped clean, only saving what was put on the thumb drive and leaving a small partition file. It is a wonderful choice for those who are concerned about privacy.
Boston T. Party has an excellent section on Puppy Linux and other privacy measures in his book One Nation, Under Surveillance.
Regards, - Bill Z. in Wyoming