Post by Hunter Bonner

 When a person purchases a new computer today, it’s going to come with Windows 8.1.  It is widely known that Windows 8 has had a cool reception from the public to say the least.  However, you do not have to be stuck with this operating system.  Here is how you can get a new PC or upgrade your existing machine to an alternative of Windows 8.

First of all, by all accounts, Windows 7 is the most successful OS since the launch of Windows XP.  Vista was horrible, and Windows 8, quite frankly to this writer, to this very day I scratch my head thinking, “What is this crud?”  Windows 8 is by all accounts a massive departure from the Windows operating systems of the past.  It did away with the Start Menu, which had been a staple of the franchise since Windows 95.

For these reasons above, consumers, businesses, and IT Professionals alike did not much care for Windows 8.  In fact, many businesses have chosen to stay on Windows 7 on existing machines, and anything new that they order, they are still keeping Windows 7.  In my opinion, Windows 7 is going to be around for a very long time like Windows XP was.  Whether it sticks around for as long as XP remains to be seen, but it’s going to be a long time.

So how can you as a user get a copy of Windows 7?  First of all, if you are in the market for a new machine, forget about walking into Office Max, or Best Buy and getting a machine with Windows 7 on it.  They are not offering those anymore.  If you are needing a new machine, many companies like Dell, HP and the like offer what is called a “Windows 7 Downgrade” option.  In fact, some computer manufacturers will knock off as much as $100 or more on the downgrade.  What this means is you get a shiny new machine, but with Windows 7 preinstalled.

If you have an existing machine and you want to upgrade say from Vista (you poor souls), really you only have one choice.  That choice is buying a copy online from a third party retailer.  You cannot buy copies of Windows 7 on shelves anymore, or from Microsoft directly.  However, many retailers stock piled copies of Windows 7 in anticipation that Windows 8 was potentially going to not go over well.  That bet has paid off.  A quick internet search will lead you to places where you can get a copy and then install yourself.  A word of caution though, and that is make sure that these are still original shrink wrapped boxes to ensure you are not buying pirated software.

Another option is, hold off till Windows 9.  There are already confirmed reports coming out of Microsoft that the company got the message on Windows 8 and they are bringing back a Windows 7 look and feel to their next operating system.  Specifically, the return of a real Start Menu.  Not the hybrid one in Windows 8.1, but one you are used to seeing.  If your machine is still holding up, just wait this one out.  There is talk of a Spring 2015 launch, so sorry, will not be here in time for the Christmas shopping season.

Of course the Mac users out there I can hear already will just say, “Ditch Windows and go with a Mac!”  There is some credence to this as Apple’s Mac sales increased by 20 percent recently.  Most likely due to Windows users put off by Windows 8.  So in the interest of fairness, and because I do not want my blog and Twitter feed blown up by Mac fanboys with cries of unbalanced writing, I throw this out there as an alternative as well.  Just make sure you can do everything you are wanting with a Mac that you are currently doing on a PC.

Finally there are a number of open source (free) operating systems for you to try.  Ubuntu is a popular one, and one that I have mentioned in previous articles as a way to perform file rescue.  You can download this one onto a CD and run it from there before making final changes to your hard drive.  Not all programs will install on the Ubuntu operating system, so again, word of caution before switching.

There are many alternatives to Windows 8 out there for you to choose from.  Hopefully, some of these choices will inspire you to explore them, and make your life a little easier.  At least until Microsoft fixes their mess.

Hunter Bonner is an Information Technologist.  He can be reached via his blog at and on Twitter @HunterBonner

Nitie Atamenwan