Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8. While you’re technically free to keep using the 12-year-old operating system, doing so may put you at greater security risk for attack as future vulnerabilities go unpatched.
In Microsoft’s perfect world, most users will take the opportunity to switch to Windows 8, even if it is a drastic change from Windows XP. But you don’t have to go that route. Although Windows 8 has plenty of redeeming qualities, there’s nothing stopping you fromadopting Windows 7 instead.
We won’t make the decision between Windows 7 and Windows 8 for you, but if you do decide to heed Microsoft’s nagging post-expiration pop-ups, we can help you pick the right operating system for your needs.
The case for Windows 7
The biggest benefit to Windows 7 is familiarity. The pop-up Start menu is still intact, and the basic functionality is similar enough that you don’t have to relearn much. You can even make Windows 7 look like Windows XP with just a few tweaks.
By comparison, Windows 8 (and the sweeping Windows 8.1 update) has a steeper learning curve. Microsoft got rid of the pop-up Start menu and replaced it with an app launcher that takes up the entire screen. This Start screen is filled with new kinds of apps that are optimized for touch interaction. While the desktop is still available, you may find yourself getting bounced back and forth between the two interfaces.
Crucial system commands are hidden in invisible “Charms” and “Hot Corners” that only appear when you move your mouse to certain points on the edge of the screen. Summoning the hidden menus becomes second nature once you’re using to it, though there’s certainly a learning curve to the unfamiliar system.
Likewise, you can bring back some familiarity to Windows 8 with settings tweaks and third-party software, but it’s a much more laborious process. Windows 7 is the safer bet if you want things to stay pretty much the way they are in XP, or if you’re buying a new PC for an XP-using relative.
Windows 7 also has the benefit of being a highly refined, complete operating system. From the start, it was a vast improvement over Windows Vista, rather than a complete reinvention that introduced new problems. And since its launch in 2009, it has received a major Service Pack upgrade and countless bug fixes. Windows 7 isn’t perfect by any means, but unlike Windows 8, it doesn’t feel like a work in progress.
The case for Windows 8
To say that some users dislike Windows 8 would be putting it lightly. The drastic interface changes have polarized critics and alienated mouse-and-keyboard users, who feel Microsoft put too much emphasis on touchscreens.
The traditional Windows desktop is available the new look of Windows 8. Despite the lack of the Windows Start menu iconic ’ (for now) and you have to travel through the full-screen applications to the house to get (again, for now), those concerns vanish day , as Microsoft is trying to deal with the biggest complaints PC users of Windows 8 through software updates.
And if you can keep an open mind, Windows 8 brings a lot of advantages, even without a tablet PC or touch screen.
Some of these benefits are thin or under the hood. Start and stop times are much faster on Windows 8, and the overall performance has improved a bit ‘. Virus Protection is now integrated into the operating system, so you do not have to download Microsoft Security Essentials or pay for an antivirus suite, and a new secure boot option is enabled by default.
Windows 8 also adds a few more tools for desktop users, such as a new file transfer dialog that combines all in one window and provides a pause button. The task manager has received a complete overhaul as well, with a cleaner look, disk stats and data consumption, history of applications, and a better way to manage the programs that run at startup.
If you use multiple monitors, Windows 8 has features built-in multi-monitor, so you do not have to buy third-party software. Tools Backup files have greatly improved in Windows 8, with a way to save a complete history of your documents, music, photos and video folders.
If you’re not afraid of the new Windows 8 interface, you can also find some uses for their applications in a modern style. A text editor full screen, for example, can be a great way to tune out distractions and the ability to “snap ” more applications side-by - side is useful in all types of situations, such as setting an application following calculator to the spreadsheet in Excel.
Reflecting hardware support and reality
There is also the hardware to consider. It’s a challenge to find the PC with Windows 7 online, and you can still buy copies of Windows 7 in stores if you are building your own PC. But in general, the choice of Windows 8 hardware is much wider, super cheap laptop for Ultrabooks - thin and light. Just to sweeten the deal, until June 15, Microsoft will give you $ 100 to upgrade to a Windows 8 machine.
You’ll also be able to take advantage of the latest hardware, for example, the fourth generation of the Intel Core battery efficient (Has well). The downgrade to Windows 7 on a new computer is an option, but not by the standard Windows 8. To do this, you must be running Windows 8 Pro, which adds to the total cost of your new computer.
Also, if you are just now migrating from Windows XP, you may not the type who likes to update often. Note, then, that enhanced servicing of Windows 7 ends in January 2020. Windows 8 provides extended support until 2023, so it has an extra few years before we have to repeat the whole year.
Finally, some older Windows XP machines cannot even be capable of running a modern operating system. If you have a PC that does not meet the Windows 7 or Windows 8 Requirements - be careful with those little system! - Our guide, light easy Linux operating systems designed to entice refugees from Windows XP.