I see this all the time…after a number of years, you’re thinking about getting a new computer, but all of the new computers come with Windows 8, which you’ve been told is drastically different from the Windows XP you’re familiar with.
You could find a retail box of software on the shelves somewhere and install it on the new computer, but Windows XP hasn’t been updated since 2008 and Vista’s mainstream support ended in 2012. Even Windows 7 is more than 3 years old.
This is why I tell most people if you’re going to upgrade, you might as well buy into the latest and greatest system, but there are several exceptions worth considering. Many businesses have security and deployment policies that require specific operating systems, some software applications may have compatibility issues with the new operating system, or perhaps you’re just not ready to learn a new way of doing things.
Well, while change is inevitable, there are a few ways to delay that change until you’re ready for it. As mentioned above, if you are lucky enough to find a retail box copy of a previous version of Windows that hasn’t already been installed on another computer, you are more than able to install that software over what ships with your new computer. You’d need to be pretty lucky though, as Microsoft hasn’t shipped a Windows 7 box since Windows 8 was released last October.
But there’s a much easier, completely legal, and more reliable way of getting Windows 7. Buy a computer that comes with Windows 8 Professional Edition. Not many people know this, but Microsoft recognizes the challenges businesses face with timing software upgrades and includes “downgrade rights” with the Professional Editions of all of their software packages. So, you CAN buy a computer that ships with Windows 7 installed, but technically it’s a Windows 8 machine that has been downgraded. We keep several HP ProBooks in stock with Windows 7 pre-loaded, starting around $600. Not only would you get the software you’re looking for, but a sturdier machine designed to last a couple years longer than the typical consumer PC.