Personally I would put XP Pro on it so you are not faced sometime in the future with that "System Restore" disk from HP with the pile of bundled software you do not want. I would use the NTFS file system over Fat 32... then you are set to go for a good college career. Thank you for your military service.
Best of luck!
I'm leaving the Army due to major disability and will be going back to college. I wanted to upgrade to a computer I knew would handle anything I'll need for the next four years of school. I bought an HP Pavilion a530n because I wanted one of the new 64-bit AMD processors, and an incredibly good deal presented itself at the PX on that system. It came with 512Mb of PC2700 Ram and XP Home Edition on it and I have been using that for about seven months now. It's starting to act up on me now: slowing down, doing weird stuff I don't think it should and didn't do before, etc.
I've picked up from the CNET discussions that it's a good idea to reinstall your OS periodically and start fresh. I have the "System Restore" disc that HP recommended I create when I first started using it that will take it back to the way it came from the factory with XP Home and the pile of bundled software. I have my own copy of productivity software which is Office 2000 Professional, so I wouldn't necessarily have to depend on the bundled stuff that came with it. Unfortunately, productivity software was NOT the only thing in the bundle, and I don't use 90% of the stuff. I also have a brand-new copy of XP Pro I bought before I got this computer.
Which would be the best way to go, using the System Restore disc or putting XP Pro on it?