hand holding instructions for loading Linux via DOS
I have an old PC laptop running Windows XP. I don't know why and I've given up caring but the computer is insanely slow. (I've run Malwarebytes and it finds no malware) I have other computers that are lighter, easier to use, etc. so my original idea was to just trash all the data on this laptop and then hand it in to a recycling center. But then I thought it might be interesting to have a Linux computer around. I've looked online but the instructions I've found are for dual boots. I don't care about the Windows XP OS and its so corrupted I don't believe I can successfully use it to install Linux. I tried just installing a Sourceforge program called Eraser to erase all the windows data and even that didn't work, the computer is just too corrupted.
So what I was wondering is can I download a Linux file to the c drive and then from DOS run a command to just install Linux? Don't care about dual boot or anything like that in fact the more I can just over-ride and get rid of the Windows XP stuff the better. I'm pretty competent when it comes to software at the Java level but I haven't done shell stuff in decades and even then I avoided it as much as possible so I need something that is really hand holding, starting with how to get the Windows machine to boot into DOS and reminders for how to navigate DOS directories.
I welcome any suggestions or ideas both as to loading Linux and how to easily and securely delete all data from Windows XP.