In the market for a new PC? If you want one that runs Windows, you've probably discovered that your choices are Windows 8, Windows 8, or Windows 8.
Sure, there are some Windows 7 systems floating around out there, but for the most part they're refurbished.
Dell to the rescue. The company still offers a selection of new Windows 7-powered desktops and laptops, and for the next few days, they're all on sale.
For example, there's the Dell Inspiron 15 laptop, which features an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, a DVD burner, and a 15.6-inch screen. Sale price: $399.99. It runs Windows 7 Home Premium x64.
If you're looking for desktop horsepower, the Dell XPS 8700 offers plenty: Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon HD 7570 graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. It's on sale for $799.99, and it, too, comes with Windows 7 Home Premium x64.
Now, to be fair, Dell isn't the only vendor still offering new PCs with Windows 7. I checked HP and Lenovo, for example, and they have models as well. So you do have other choices.
But are they smart choices? Windows 7 is four years old. In fact, it was released to manufacturing exactly four years ago today. Windows 8 has yet to celebrate its first birthday, and it'll turn 8.1 before it does.
Make no mistake: I am not a fan. I think the OS is a giant misfire on Microsoft's part, and the 8.1 release won't really correct its fundamental flaws. The new Windows is fine for phones and tablets, but it's not a proper desktop operating system.
However, much as I prefer Windows 7, I think I'm ready to stop clinging to it. Windows 8, for all its idiocies, works just fine once you add a Start-button utility and boot directly to the desktop. What's more, it comes on machines bearing the latest and greatest hardware, including touch screens, fast-booting SSDs, USB 3.0 ports, and so on. I know you can get all that on a Windows 7 system, but it'll definitely be last year's model -- a little behind the times before you even take it out of the box.
I recently splurged on a Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook, and although I barely interact with the "8" aspects of Windows, I love the speed and design of the machine. It feels new and futuristic. I think if it had Windows 7, it wouldn't.
All this is just my way of saying, I don't like Windows 8, but I've learned to to live with it -- and my productivity hasn't suffered. You can still get a Windows 7 machine if you want one, but stop and ask yourself if you really want one. It won't accomplish the goal of "sending Microsoft a message." The only real way to do that is to buy a Mac.
Your thoughts? Windows 7 or Windows 8? Or has the latter pushed you into the Mac or even Linux camps?