Operating Systems

Buying a New Windows 7 PC

Buying a New Windows 7 PC

Nobody I’ve met likes Windows 8 or 8.1. One of my most frequently requested services at the Headquarters branch is to make customers’ Windows 8 laptops act like Windows 7. Are you in the market for a new PC but want to avoid Windows 8? It’s all but impossible to find Windows 7 PCs in stores these days, but you’ve got lots of choices if you shop online.

First let’s start with buying directly from the PC manufacturers. The best three I could find that still sell Windows 7 machines from their own sites are Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Why might you wish to buy directly from the manufacturer?

Life After XP

Life After XP

Come April 8th, Windows XP will no longer be supported or updated by Microsoft. Windows is dead—long live Windows! Seriously though, what are so many of us going to do? We avoided Windows Vista because, well, it stank, and Windows 7 just seemed unnecessary when XP was still officially supported and time-tested. Now at the end of its life, XP leaves us with a hole in our hearts as we consider where to go next.

A Start Menu for Windows 8

A Start Menu for Windows 8

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this sooner. Though consumers are buying tablet computers in greater numbers than classic computers, that hasn’t removed the necessity for a laptop or desktop computer. Sooner or later these need to be replaced and that will now mean buying a PC that ispreloaded with Windows 8. And I can say without hesitation, folks despise Windows 8. I might be able to help with that.

On Becoming a Fearless Computer User

On Becoming a Fearless Computer User

From 2000-2003 I was a creative writing major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a university most well-known for its schools of engineering and computer science.  Guess I could have thought that decision through a little better, but I’m glad I didn’t.  I even lived in a private dorm adjacent to the engineering campus, Hendrick House, surrounded by some of the strangest, most intelligent and most wonderful people I’ve ever known, almost all of them engineers.  When I arrived at UIUC, I knew the bare bones of computering—how to type, how to use a Web browser, how to use a word processor, and play a few games, but not much else.  However, over the course of three years living with these technological elite, I picked up more than a few tricks not only about using computers, but about how to fearlessly teach myself more.  And now I pass that on to you.  

Attaining fearlessness in the face of learning more about the computer lies in the art of reversibility.  The most common fear my students express is that they will press the wrong keys or click the wrong thingies and destroy their computers.  I try to assure them this is highly unlikely, but that discomfort still remains. Certainly I felt that way 10 years ago.  I discovered over time that there are particular steps you need to take to ensure that, if the worst happens and your computer stops working, you can back out of your mistake or recover your computer.  With the following steps accomplished, you’ll find that you feel much less hesitant about stepping outside your comfort zone.

The World of Windows 8

Windows 8 graphic

2012 saw the debut of the latest version of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8.  Windows 8 debuted in an unusually tense atmosphere for a Windows device, as “Wintel” (Windows PCs powered by Intel processors) faced unprecedented threats from tablets and smartphones in the marketplace.  Windows 8 PCs faced sales declines over the 2012 holiday period, and the changes in the interface of Windows 8 from Windows 7 have been a major cause of concern for many consumers. Questions such as, “How can I find my old files if I upgrade to Windows 8?” and “Will Steam run in Windows 8?” are extremely common. Another common topic for questions is the difference between Windows 8—the operating system for conventional Windows desktop and laptop PCs, and Windows RT—the operating system for Windows tablets.  In this article, let’s take a look at how compatibility in Windows 8 works and what the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT mean.

The Windows 7 Age

Windows 7, the anticipated successor to the oft-maligned Windows Vista operating system from Microsoft, has arrived.  Now available in stores on DVD-ROM, on the web for download (http://store.microsoft.com/win7netbooks), and on newly-purchased PCs, Microsoft has a lot riding on the acceptance of their new OS.