Re: Start up problem
Since the problem affects both OSs, removing either and replacing it with the other is not going to solve the problem, nor is it going to make anything better.
Generally speaking, when you can boot a PC and see the boot messages, but it then fails to get into an OS or all the way to a desktop, that is a sign of either corrupted filesystems or a failing hard drive. The latter tends to be the case when the boot-to-desktop time starts to get really long. The hard drive is failing on reading sectors and tried over and over -- taking a LOT longer to read all the startup stuff.
The problem with testing this from a LiveCD or Live USB is that both of those are going to be really slow. However, if either runs without problems, that further implies that the hard drive is dying.
As to using Win7, it improved a LOT over Vista and is able to run OK on PCs that could not run Vista. While you might be able to use it, there is no reason to believe that it will run any faster than the XP currently on the machine.
Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17; MS Win 8.1.
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