well that sounds like a lot of money to me if one adds the price of the XP license, and the officeworks license(if you don't already have the office license in CD form), but how about paying nothing for the moment, let me show you this link(below) the idea is just download, burn and boot on it, just seeing if you have all the drivers. that is before even thinking about installing, it is called the live CD test something that windows can't do(no nasty surprises of finding that after installing that x or y driver is missing like on windows because one has not yet install the system to the hard drive), if all the drivers are recognized once you are up and running from ram in the live CD test, then and only then I suggest installing, because there are many other linuxes to choose from if some driver is missing.
OK supposing the drivers are no problem in the test, and that you have then installed Mint linux on the system, the first thing you will notice is that it is very like windows in that there is firefox, openoffice and other things that give a windows look without trying at all to be windows. openoffice works perfectly with both work and excel, I use them both,
Protection, well simply I have never seen any malware and therefore there is no need for protection, for fun see if you can find a malware problem for linux in a google search or take a look on the Mint linux forum but basically one is not running hidden things on a hidden system that is while the lockup procedure is better under linux
let me know what you think, good luck and save you moneyhttp://www.geekstogo...ux-t187713.html