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"The firefox display suggests a display driver problem? I assume you updated Mint fully before using it. :)"
"Mint Mate is user friendly, well put together and has a helpful community so I would try to get it to work first. I would not expect Cinnamon to work well on an older machine."
Or maybe Mate is just a lot easier on the processor than Cinnamon.
[edited by: graeme_p at 6:54 am (utc) on Sep 24, 2013]
"Also remember that running XP from wine or any other vmware MAY still render the computer vulnerable to online exploits."
"You may well find Kate or Geany to be a better option that notepad."
Are ALL windows-based application vulnerable when run on linux via Wine?
Try Elementary OS. It feels pretty snappy.