Q: Can we buy Windows 8, uninstall our Windows XP and then install Windows 8? We have tons of stuff on the computer and do not want to buy a new one. We do not use our computer for anything except ancestry, email and ordering goods online. Some sources say compatibility is a big issue with Windows 8, and we may not be able to use the hardware we now have. So are there no options for those of us who are casual users?
A: I feel your pain! Windows XP has been around since 2001 and has been a workhorse all those years. Unfortunately, there are just too many security holes to keep it around any longer.
Windows 8 is problematic to the extreme, and the learning curve with this new OS is intense. On top of that is the real concern much of your hardware will not work with Windows 8. Basically, you have three options:
You can stick with your Windows XP system. Yes, you will have security holes, but if you are backing up your user files religiously, then when a virus or malware strikes, you can make your decision at that time to either buy a new computer or choose another option below.
You can try to find a vendor who is selling new computers with Windows 7 installed. You wouldn’t have the learning curve of Windows 8, and Microsoft plans to support Windows 7 for several more years. End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates or online technical assistance.
End of mainstream support: Mainstream support is defined as support for a minimum of five years from the date of a product's general availability, or for two years after the successor product is released, whichever is longer. In the case of Windows 7, its successor (Windows 8) came out Aug. 1, 2012, so Microsoft could have elected to end mainstream support on Aug. 1, 2014, but has delayed this to Jan. 13, 2015.
End of extended support: Microsoft will offer extended support of a product for either a minimum of five years from the date of a product's general availability, or for two years after the second successor product (two versions later) is released, whichever is longer. For Windows 7, extended support will end on Jan. 14, 2020, but Microsoft can always elect to push that date back as well.
If your computer is still meeting your needs, consider hiring someone like myself to back up your files, wipe the hard drive, then install a fresh copy of Windows 7. These are the services I provide for a flat rate of $350 ($50 discount to those over 65):
- Back up user files, wipe the hard drive, mark any bad areas of the drive and clean the bootstrap area of the disk that might be harboring viruses
- Install Windows 7, anti-virus and anti-malware software and the latest printer driver
- Install basic utilities such as Java, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Flash
- Ensure that your Internet works and is configured correctly
- Install additional RAM (additional cost—estimate provided first)
- Other owner requests (installation of specialized software or hardware)
- Free door-to-door pickup and delivery if within 10 miles of Chesterton.