In yesterday's blog, I omitted an important thing you should be aware of concerning Windows 10. If you use Microsoft Office, you can get Windows 10 free. Here's an article that describes this as well as some new Office features:
I previously discussed what options you had if you're currently using Windows XP and looking to upgrade to Windows 7. This time you get the options on upgrading to Windows 8.1.
Microsoft Support for Windows XP Ends
As I mentioned in the last segment, Windows XP support ends in April 2014. You can either buy a new/refurbished PC with Windows 7 if you prefer it over Windows 8. The other two choices are upgrade from XP to Windows 7 or upgrade from XP to Windows 8. You can find out if your PC is compatible with the upgrade by selecting here. Then select the button, "Can my PC run Windows 8." That upgrade check applies to Windows 7 as well.
Windows XP to Windows 8.1 Upgrade
One important thing to note. If you currently have Windows XP you cannot upgrade to 8.1. You can only upgrade to Windows 8. This really isn't a problem since you can get the 8.1 as a free upgrade if you have Windows 8 installed. For current Windows 8 users, you can do a free download of 8.1 from the Windows store, beginning October 17th. Full installation retail versions of 8.1 will be available for $120 starting on October 18th as well as a Pro version for $200. If you want to upgrade to 8.1 you have the choice of purchasing a digital download or a DVD at a retail reseller. Prices currently are not available.
Windows Start Button Back
It should be known that this is actually the first time that Windows 8 is available as a full install. Up until now, it could only be purchased as an upgrade or purchasing a new PC. And the famed "Start Button" will be available again as part of Windows 8.1 along with some other multitasking and tweaking enhancements. So there you have it, and for those of you with Windows XP this would be a great time to make an upgrade decision since your Microsoft support ends in April. Good luck!
Grumbling in the user ranks. . . that has been a common reaction to last year's latest addition to the Windows lineup, with Windows 8 now calling the shots. A number of unpopular changes, including the loss of the very popular start button, has not enamored Windows 8 with users. Although the release of Windows 8.1 is upon us with some needed improvements, that's not the entirety of the good news today. Those of you who would like to have Windows 7 back can certainly get it back. It's not only available, you can get it installed on a new PC.
Windows XP Support Ends April 2014
Many of you who don't like making decisions will be forced to make one in the not-too-distant-future. Microsoft will be ending Windows XP support in April 2014. What that means is XP will no longer receive updates, including those critical security updates that keep it secure. At that point, you will have to make a decision on how you will get your next Windows 7 version, if Windows 7 is what you prefer over Windows 8. You have two choices: keep your current PC and upgrade to Windows 7 or purchase a new PC with Windows 7 installed.
New PC with Windows 7 Option
Buying a new PC with Windows 7 installed is available through October. A number of vendors including Dell and Lenovo offer this choice on their web sites. If you do a Google search, you'll find it available for laptops and desktop PCs. Those of you on a budget can also get a refurbished PC at Walmart for around $150.
Windows 7 Upgrade Option
If you want to keep your current PC and upgrade from Windows XP, select the Windows 8 Buy link here, and select the "Can my PC run Windows 8" button. Don't worry, if it says your PC can run Windows 8, it also means it can run Windows 7. If your PC is a candidate for Windows 7, select the Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade link here, which will guide you through the process.
Windows 7 Considerations
One positive aspect of choosing Windows 7 is that although Windows 7 support ends in early 2015, it's extended support will last up through 2020.
If you run the Windows 8 buy link shown above which tests your PC for Windows 8/7 compatibility, it may tell you that you can use it but only if you purchase the clean-install version, which is more expensive than the upgrade version. You could be looking at close to $200 depending on who you buy from.
Windows 7 has a Windows XP Compatibility Mode, which enables you to run Windows XP applications on Windows 7. However, this is not rocket-science and some of your applications may not run on Windows 7, forcing you to purchase a Windows 7 version if the software is in your "gotta have" category of apps.
Like many things in high-tech, the answer is not always crystal clear as to which way to go, but hopefully some of the above will help in giving you some basic guidelines for making your next Windows OS choice. The key is to shop around online and get some pricing numbers and then go from there. Good luck!