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  1. #1
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    Recommend Windows, Mac, or something else?

    So I need a new laptop. The old one was bought in the dog days of 32 bit computing, before 64-bit really took off, and is now underpowered and slow. It has as much memory as a 32bit machine can handle, and I regularly prune it so that I only have the software that I need.

    And so I've been looking around, but we are at something of a crossroads in laptop computing right now. And no, a tablet is no good as my sole business machine.

    I can't pretend that I like Windows 8.1. My son has it, and seems happy with it on his touch-screen laptop. My daughter also transitioned to it from Win7 on a non-touch laptop. But... No, sorry, I can't bring myself to like it, at least not as my primary business machine. But Win10 is some way off yet. Can I wait that long? And will it be worth the wait?

    What about Macs? With software such as Parallels the switch shouldn't be too hard/painful - but do I run into licensing issues with Windows/Office/etc transferring from my laptop to the virtual windows machine on the Mac? And there is that price tag! I usually buy good laptops that last (Sony Vaio Z, currently, bought as a Vista machine so pre-Win7), but the Apple price tags make me wince a little.

    And then there is Linux. I read several posts here about Linux, but I'm just not sure if I want to move to something that is not "mainstream". And I use that word advisedly - I know that some folks will scream that it is very mainstream, thank you, but this is my business we are talking about, and sorry but it isn't mainstream enough. I want something that I am not going to have to spend hours learning.

    So what advice do you have for me?

    Thanks
    Stuart

    [PS - I laughed when I read that Macs are more versatile than Windows laptops because Macs can run Windows while Windows can't run MacOS. That's only because Microsoft will sell you an OS, while Apple won't! As you can see, I am finding it difficult to get sensible, balanced, advice!]

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    You sound like someone who likes the traditional start button and desktop of Windows 7 and prior versions of Windows. As I see it, if you go with Windows, you can either try to find a Windows 7 machine, or you can get a Windows 8.x machine and install one of the add-ins which will make it look and feel like Windows 7 (StartIsBack, ClassicShell, etc). I have Windows 8.0 32 bit with StartIsBack, and I am very pleased with it. Windows 8.0 feels more fast and efficient, and StartIsBack makes it look and feel almost exactly like Windows 7, except that it feels faster. I tried Windows 8.1 for a time, but the ride felt bumpier with 8.1 than with 8.0. (I have an old machine -- Vista era -- so that may have something to do with it.)

    A few years ago I looked at the price of Mac vs Windows -- it was about twice the price for the Mac for roughly the same capacity. Also, my anti-virus and other software wouldn't work on the Mac, and I was totally unfamiliar with the Mac.

    There is tons of software for Windows, but not as much for the Mac.

    I went with Windows. I have no regrets.

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    sjreynolds143 (2014-11-13)

  4. #3
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    My wife warmed up to Win8.1 on her new Notebook after I installed Classic Shell and it boots directly to the Desktop, mostly works like Win7 and earlier.

    I have a MacBook Pro, Linux Mint on a Desktop and a Notebook, Win7 and Win8.1 on both Desktops and Notebooks and a Vista computer still working. Most versions of Linux are free and for testing one can download an .iso file to create a bootable LiveCD or LiveDVD disc, will do most everything and can install to the HDD from that disc.

    There's free software for Linux but as it is with Mac there's more paid-for choices. For productivity and commonality I frequently use the free LibreOffice on all platforms and can work with Office files. Microsoft does have a Mac-version of Office, user files interchange with the Windows version.

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    sjreynolds143 (2014-11-13)

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    I have 8.1 that boots straight to the Desktop, but I haven't bothered with a Start menu as you get used to the new way pretty quickly. This seems to me to be a pretty good compromise between W7 and 8. It also runs all my old software, and VMware Player for all those virtual machines I want.

    cheers, Paul

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    sjreynolds143 (2014-11-13)

  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    I have a MacBook Pro, Linux Mint on a Desktop and a Notebook, Win7 and Win8.1 on both Desktops and Notebooks and a Vista computer still working.
    And of all of those, which do you prefer and why? Or are you just using them all as test beds?

  9. #6
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    I like Linux for the cost and it runs on lesser equipment than Windows but I need Windows for what I do and the 3 versions to be able to see what others see when they have problems.

    I have half a dozen clients that have changed to Mac and I needed to learn more about it.

    Linux Mint is a decent alternative for WinXP computers that can't be upgraded to later versions of Windows, have a couple of Notebooks that won't run Win7 due to obsolete technology [Intel Centrino CPU] so put Linux Mint 13 on them, others have Linux Mint 17. There's a few other versions of Linux that are suitable for changing from WinXP, mostly a display thing to keep familiarity.

  10. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    First go and see what Macs cost. They are high priced computers. If you are still interested after that, don't compare them to budget laptops or netbooks, There are some very nice and comparably priced Windows machines available.

    If you want something nice, and aren't scared off by the price, find something that is several years old on ebay or Craigs List, to see if you like it and can get up to speed. Then if you like it, resell it, and get a new MacBook Pro, and if you don't like it resell it and get a new Windows 10 laptop when they are out.

  11. #8
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    I'm not scared by price, necessarily. I'm not about to shell out regardless - I don't own an iPad precisely because I don't see a business need for it - but I am prepared to pay that bit more for a higher end machine that will last me many years. But certainly Macs are a high price for what they are / what you get, compared to Windows machines of comparable build quality.

    It's just ... I've played again over the weekend with son's Win8.1 machine and I just don't like the OS. I'm trying really hard, honest!

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjreynolds143 View Post
    I'm not scared by price, necessarily. I'm not about to shell out regardless - I don't own an iPad precisely because I don't see a business need for it - but I am prepared to pay that bit more for a higher end machine that will last me many years. But certainly Macs are a high price for what they are / what you get, compared to Windows machines of comparable build quality.

    It's just ... I've played again over the weekend with son's Win8.1 machine and I just don't like the OS. I'm trying really hard, honest!
    I don't like Windows 8/8.1, and I don't have any computers that run them. When I recently got a new laptop for my wife, I got an HP Probook 4540s that was "downgraded" from Windows 8 to Windows 7 Pro.

    I have been running Window 10 Preview on an old computer. It has a lot of the appearance issues that I don't like about Windows 8/8.1, but other than appearance, in my opinion, it's a lot better.

    I still think you should get a used MacBook and try it. It will tie up some money while you are trying it, but then you can resell it, and in the end it will cost you little or nothing.

  13. #10
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    @Prescott...

    +1

    I have multiple Win 7 devices (plus 1 remaining XP box... and 2 Linux boxes) but really, really disliked Win 8 so haven't updated (and have downgraded on 2 newer laptops).

    I also have a gorgeous 17" customised MacBook Pro which I love for certain things... but it's not my day-to-day device.

    I am really looking forward to Win 10 to see if MS can recoup their losses in terms of user satisfaction (although I accept that that may just mean me. )

  14. #11
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    I have multiple Win 7 devices (plus 1 remaining XP box... and 2 Linux boxes) but really, really disliked Win 8 so haven't updated (and have downgraded on 2 newer laptops).
    I have a couple of Windows 7 boxes, my wife has one in the next room, and both her laptops are Windows 7. My laptop is Linux Mint 17.

    I also have an XP box. It is here right beside me, on the floor, not hooked up to anything. I don't have anything that I have to run, that has to be run on XP, so I'm just not motivated to keep it up.

  15. #12
    3 Star Lounger
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    sjr,
    Windows 8 and 8.1 can easily and free (of charge) be set up to run in desktop mode. You would be in a familiar environment and could use all the software you are used to.

    IMHO much more important and having much more massive long term consequences are Micro$oft's blatant attempts to lure/force us into giving them our email address. That creates an "advertising ID" and the results of that I see almost daily in my customer's Inbox in the form of dozens and sometimes hundreds of unsolicited advertisement emails.

    Only my $0.02 though.
    Eike J Heinze
    What I am about
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  16. #13
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    IMHO much more important and having much more massive long term consequences are Micro$oft's blatant attempts to lure/force us into giving them our email address
    I did give my Hotmail address on one setup of Win8 but when I got a new 8.1 Notebook in March I did not do so, followed the prompts to skip that. But then I may need to do so if wanting to download from the Store. Not a big problem, I have to do the same with my MacBook Pro and Apple's Store. So far I've not received any unwanted/undesired E-Mail from either.

  17. #14
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    It sounds as though you intend to run Windows and Windows-based software on your new laptop (“do I run into licensing issues with Windows/Office/etc transferring from my laptop to the virtual windows machine on the Mac?”).

    If so, why not simply buy a new Windows-based laptop? You can still buy some models with Windows 7 pre-installed, or select a desirable model with Windows 8 and learn how to make that OS work for you. (After all, you would have to learn Apple’s OS X should you elect to go that route.) This will get you up and running with new hardware; you can then decide at your leisure if you wish to upgrade to Windows 10 once it is launched and stable. There will be no rush, because Microsoft is committed to support both Windows 7 and 8 for quite a while.

    Or, stay the course with your current hardware until Win 10 is out and about and buy a new laptop with it pre-installed. Given current estimates that we will see this new OS launched by mid-2015, the reviews should be in by late summer and laptops with pre-installed Win 10 in stores soon thereafter.

  18. #15
    3 Star Lounger
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    Question A is like this:
    1. Like free software
    2. Apple is 2X Windows PC price
    3. Install some software yourself

    And question B:
    1. Mostly boot up and use the web exclusively
    2. Seldom install software
    3. Hates Win8 interface. Apple too expensive.

    Question C:
    Apple a day ...
    Short answer - Go all Apple all device all the way. Don't look back.

    If Yes on A, get Windows 7 or Win8/10 PC
    If Yes on B, brave new world and move to Linux.

    If you just boot up and use the web mostly (include check mail), there is only minor difference between Linux PC and Windows PC. Firefox on Linux looks the same as in Windows, Android. Think of the web browser as the OS, in a sense.

    Linux for a wile, you might feel at home later with Android and Apple devices too. (They are Linux variant in a way. Actually all of them are derived from Unix).

    This month's 'Win Secrets' article says even MS is moving toward Android and Apple, leaving Windows behind. You might follow MS steps!
    Brave a new world.
    There is backtrack option too:
    Later, if you don't like Linux, then buy Win7/8/10 and wipe the PC back to Windows OS.
    Last edited by scaisson; 2014-11-20 at 18:42.

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