just to add that there is a little more to this than the above, if you are going to do a clean install then you will need to have all you drivers just in case one of them is not recognized under XP, you will need to have copies of all you programs on CD(for example office) because you cannot just transfer programs(they must be reinstalled) you will need to transfer your data off the computer since it will be wiped in the clean install. Oh and just in case the actual upgrade doesn't take(driver problems) it is better to have a copy of your windows98se CD ready too but a lot of cases one can find the missing drivers under XP on the Internet from the maker's site but that is not always the case(hence the fallback plan)
to be honest with you will only be upgrading to a system that in turn is out dated and unless microsoft changes its mind and doesn't stop selling XP end of 2008, so you have to buy XP and then buy officeworks and probably some protection like Norton, a lot of money for a windows 98se machine I feel
because of the above needs I suggest just trying a free liveCD of linux, which will not touch your system since it boots up on the ram first(it runs slow on the ram but it is only a test of system something one cannot do with windows) and if you see that it recognizes everything and that you like what you see then go for the install itself, many linux distros to choose from but if you do try linux, always become a member of the forum that goes with the distro, for example puppy linux would need the puppy linux forum(because everybody always has questions at first) anyway if you are not happy with what you have under the live CD test, you can simply turn off the computer taking out the live CD and it boots back exactly as if it had never been there.
Edited by fleamailman, 04 September 2007 - 03:48 AM.