I'm getting to the point where I want to do some recording, just me (guitarist) and either my drummer friend and/or backing tracks for practicing and such, but I don't want to make the mistake of jumping into a technology and field that I know next to nothing about. I've been dealing in computers for a long time, and the one thing that I don't want is a lot of - hardware - and software - and compatibility hassles. If it was all analog this quest would be pretty simple, but since everything has to plug into the computer, then things get complicated and messy quickly. I will be running WindowsXP Pro and SUSE Linux 9.0. But I can't find my XP code number. Q1 Anyone know what I can do about that? Will Microsoft help me out there? I want to end up being able to post sound samples online, so it would be good to end up with MP3 files. Q2 Is that right? Or are their other or better file formats to target? Q3 Can I do all the recording into my computer? Or are the hardware struggles going that route to problematic, like some systems skipping during recording or playback for example? Q4 Should I go for a stand alone hardware recorder that also has computer access? - I want the best most reliable and hassle free recording - for the least amount of money. I'm thinking in terms of $500 and lower (if possible).