In a recent review of Microsoft's newest version of Windows, Windows 8, MIT professor and professional wise-guy (internet entrepreneur) Philip Greenspun stated that 8 was a "Christmas present for someone you hate". That sentiment seems to be shared by many home PC users who have purchased a new desktop of laptop in the past few months.
Why the Hate on Windows 8?
Windows 8 was a operating system designed with particular hardware in mind, namely a touchscreen on a tablet or a all-in-one PC device. As such, most of the interactions that are easy for the device are designed to be done with a tap of the finger or a swipe of the screen. Since not everyone has a touch screen and they wanted to capture the market (read as wallets) of the majority of their users, they made a few adaptations to allow someone to control the operating system with a mouse and keyboard to allow normal PC users to use the software. Windows has been designed around the hardware of the mouse and keyboard since the early days of Windows 1.0, 3.1 and the then-revolutionary Windows 95 (the birth of the Start Button). Windows 8 was designed first for the tablet/touchscreen market then the mouse and keyboard was added seemingly as an afterthought. The Start Button and Start Menu as they existed for nearly 20 years since Windows 95 are no longer and have been replaced by a touch-and-swipe-friendly "Menu Screen". What this means is all the functionality that people have gotten used to for 20 years of "Click Start" has been rearranged.
So how can I get a PC with Windows 7?
There are three options at this time for getting a Windows 7 based PC: "Windows 8 Pro Upgrade/Downgrade", installing Windows 7 on an Win8 machine directly and online retailers.
Windows 8 Pro Upgrade/Downgrade
If you purchased a Windows 8 desktop or laptop with Windows 8 Pro installed or upgrade your normal license with a Pro Pack key (costs $99 at the time of this post), you have the legal option to downgrade your Windows 8 installation to Windows 7. To do this you will need a Windows 7 Professional (the legal license does not provide for downgrading to a Home Premium or Home Basic installation) full install disk and have your Windows 8 key available (see this article on how to find your Windows 8 key). The process to downgrade is described here in great detail.
Install a fresh copy of Windows 7
You can purchase a copy of ANY version of Windows 7 from an online retailer (cost as of the time of writing depends on which version of Win7 you want and ranges from $100-300), disable the security settings which would prevent a new older version of Windows from being installed (more on this here) and install the new, older version of Windows instead on the hard drive. This process is a little tricky and involves changing some of the security settings on your machine which can be daunting. We can help.
Online retailers (Amazon, Newegg, Tigerdirect and others)
If you try to walk into a brick-and-mortar big box store, chances are you will not find any Windows 7-based PC's in stock at this point. Microsoft pushes all the retailers to sell off or otherwise get rid of their old stock one a new version of Windows comes out. This puts the online retailers at an advantage. They can provide brand new PC's with Windows 7 pre-installed, making everyone lives easier. This is much cheaper and much easier than trying to purchasing a Windows 8 Machine and trying to install Windows 7 on it, either by downgrade or by direct install.
We have performed multiple Windows 7 installations for people who were unhappy with their Win8 experience. If you, or someone you know is having similar issues, come down to our store or contact us. We can even help you with finding the right Windows 7 based PC for your neds on online retailers. Give us a call, we'll help you out.
Don't forget once you have installed your operating system, be sure to do regular back ups!
Click below to find out how in our step by step guide to backing up your PC or Mac.