Well, after setting up a friend’s laptop (older Compaq, 512MB Ram), the expected happened 2 months later and I was summoned to perform surgery on the hd.
Somehow, several worms and Smitfraud variants “mysteriously” appeared and XP wouldn’t boot into the OS after login.
Apparently, her adult son and his friends were surfing and downloading everything (which I had warned against, several times), and had managed to infect the machine severely enough to warrant a complete wipe and OS re-install.
She is not a technical person, this is her first computer, and she had expressed several times how she wanted a system that worked so she could check email, send pictures to family, etc. I suggested Xubuntu and explained how she wouldn’t have to worry about the virus thing any longer, and she was ecstatic.
While I was preparing the PC for her the first time around, her other son said that she was comfortable with Windows (completely false) and that he didn’t want me to install Linux on the box because it would be too complicated for her (even more complicated than having to pay me to come fix it?).
In the end, I ran a quick round of DBAN and installed Xubuntu, to which she can’t give enough praise: “It’s so fast!” “It looks wonderful!” “It’s so easy” etc…
So, once again, huge props to the Xubuntu devs and much love to the Linux community