Need to upgrade from XP

I'm not entirely sure which forum to post in...mods, please move if necessary.

I recently had a virus infection that screwed up my Windows XP installation. There's so many files missing or corrupted that I am forced to reinstall XP or reinstall my backup (I made one right I after I bought the computer.)

So, to reinstall XP, I would need at least $100 to backup my data with an external HD. I tried backing up on DVD's, but my drive is only 16X, so it will take roughly 12 hours to backup 30 gigs. The virus erased my network driver, so I can't pull stuff off my desktop to my laptop. Also, I will have to plug in my 3.5" floppy which is another pain in the butt.

My other option is to upgrade to a new OS. Hopefully, this will save my data and allow me to not have to spend on an external HD. (I currently have 600 GB on 4 drives with ~400 GB unused, so I really don't want to buy more HD space.)

So, I was wondering: if I do upgrade, what would be a good choice? My main concerns are cost, convenience, not having to backup my data and compatibility with MS Office and other Windows programs.

I have been thinking about Linux for a long time, but I don't know much about Ubuntu, which sounds like Linux but more advanced. I could also get Windows 7 ($130 in my area).

Thanks in advance.
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  1. Yes. Do a search for "OEM Windows 7" . However this is a limited version that is to be used on one PC for the life of that PC. Whereas the full version can be transfered to a different PC if you want. But the OEM version is the least cost.
  2. Backing up 30 gigs wouldn't take you 12 hours by dvd, 16x roughly takes about 6-8 minutes to write a 4.7 gig disc, so you're talking about an hour maybe two max with selecting the backups etc.! But if you already have a backup made right after you bought the computer you could use that. Also I would highly recommend an external hard drive regardless, very handy in case this happens again and to keep all your important stuff backed up on a different system in case of physical damage to either. Also you could get an external harddrive enclosure, set you back about $15 or $20, remove the drive and stick it in the enclosure and hook that up to your laptop to backup the data, just be sure to clean it first.
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