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I would like to move off of XP, but not sure to what? Help!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / August 1, 2014 10:19 AM PDT

I would like to move off of XP, but not sure to what? Help!

I'm one of those dinosaurs that's hung onto Windows XP (both home and office use), mostly because I have at least one very expensive business program that wouldn't run at all on Windows 7, so I actually ended up taking that system back to XP. Now, though, I'm nervous. All I want is an OS that will run my existing software securely, without all the issues that Windows 8 seems to have. Is Linux a possibility? Should I just bite the bullet and make the leap to Apple? And how compatible is existing XP-era software with those OS's? I'm sorry if these are stupid questions, but I'm not an IT guy, just a small business person trying to keep my office (and home) networks running with the least amount of computer troubles possible.

--Submitted by: Lynn E.
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Virtual PC
by fewb / August 1, 2014 12:21 PM PDT

Although the Microsoft Virtual PC is not the best virtualization option, it may be the easiest in your case. Windows 7 Pro comes with XP mode which may fit your needs. I have tried it once at work on a program which ran fine, but we have since changed programs, so my total experience is lacking. There are lots of tutorials on how to set up and run XP mode.

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Check the CPU..
by JCitizen / August 1, 2014 1:57 PM PDT
In reply to: Virtual PC

Just want to add - To make sure it is rated for virtualization; many aren't - even in the newer lineups. I never buy a work machine that doesn't support VM environments just because of that.

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This is probably the best option
by daddywalter / August 15, 2014 1:20 PM PDT
In reply to: Virtual PC

@fewb, I agree that XP mode in Windows 7 is probably the Lynn E.'s best bet for getting the business software running on a more secure operating system. But it may not be the only solution, and I'm not entirely certain that XP mode in Windows 7 is really safer than just running "native" XP. (Others will probably know, and I invite them to comment.)

Lynn E., have you contacted the software vendor about getting an updated version of the business application? Yes, you'll probably have to pay for the newer version, but you may get an "upgrade price" that's considerably less than the original purchase price.

What would I do if I were you? I'd bite the bullet and pay for the latest upgrade to the business software, then buy a new computer that exceeds the program's requirements. Yes, you'll have to lay out some significant cash, but if you choose the computer carefully it will be a one-time expenditure ... and you're back in business easily, quickly and with the online security you lost when Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP. If for some reason the vendor hasn't released a newer version that runs under Windows 7 or 8.1, I'd seriously consider shopping for alternative software that will meet your needs because the vendor obviously hasn't paid a lot of attention to improving his product, and may in fact have abandoned it.

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Try Linux and WINE
by financyone / August 1, 2014 12:59 PM PDT

Running WINE on Linux will enable some (but not all) Windows programs to run on Linux. All the software is free or free to try. Many versions of Linux come with an automatic install of WINE. If your program will run with WINE, you won't have to be a Windows prisoner any longer.

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What Linux version includes auto install of WINE?
by mach37 / August 1, 2014 4:03 PM PDT
In reply to: Try Linux and WINE

The only thing keeping me from completely dropping Windows is not figuring out how to install WINE, so I can run Quicken. I have read through several supposed sets of instructions on installing WINE on my Ubuntu 12.04, but something is missing and I can't get started. I am happily running Zorin OS 6.2 on one machine, and straight Ubuntu 12.04 on another, and they have everything - I mean EVERY thing - I need except the ability to run Quicken.

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LInux, Wine, Virtual Box & XP
by James Denison / August 2, 2014 1:17 AM PDT

A winning combination. XP can be run in Virtual Box and if you put to full screen will almost forget it's even in a sandbox. All software you use with it can be installed to it. Some Linux distro serves as the host and since Linux is low RAM use, more can be devoted to XP and the Virtual Box program. I rarely use more than 1GB of my RAM during normal usage, so can devote 2GB of RAM to XP in the box, and still have extra left over. Yes, you can assign the size of RAM for XP use. If you do that, you don't even need Wine for "windows programs run in Linux" if you don't want. Here's an example of windows based Lviewpro running in Wine on Linux.

You don't even need to try it out yourself first to see if you are interested. Go to youtube and watch videos on using Virtual Box, Wine, and various Linux distros. Some of the consistently best Linux videos are by Spatry and Nixie Pixel. If you decide to try one out, run from the LIVE DVD first and and play around with it there, but realize that's "read only" setup and if you create or want to save something it MUST be done to another drive since it can't be saved to the DVD. The LIVE versions load into a RAMdisk, so whatever settings are changed or things saved, all disappear when it shuts down. If you like it, you can then install and everything it does will be persistent, meaning settings changed will stay that way, files saved will be to the hard drive, it will be like any installed OS in that regard.

Here are some informative videos on the favorite distros of former "windows only" users.

Zorin and vs Windows 7 in the 3rd choice.



Kubuntu, based on KDE

"Mom" does Spatry's version of Manjaro Linux. Cute kid and his mother, I think in Australia.

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Package Manager
by James Denison / August 2, 2014 1:35 AM PDT

That's where you find WINE which can install easily into the distro you choose. In Mint I just chose it and the package manager installed it with no problems. Later I loaded the latest copy direct from the Wine development group, also using the package manager, but by downloading a *.deb package which the manager installed for me.

Be sure to ONLY get an LTS version (long term service) of whatever distro you like, as a beginner, so you don't have a short term development version that quits getting updates 6 months later. The LTS versions are usually supported for 4-5 years.

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Quicken and Wine
by James Denison / August 2, 2014 1:38 AM PDT
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by James Denison / August 4, 2014 10:50 PM PDT

Reminded me dimly of something in the past, so went looking.

page 2, Turbo Tax

10 ways Quicken breaks in windows

ah yes, here it is, the 2008 Net2 breaking of Quicken by Windows. As I recall Quicken took a hit several times around then in windows.

Windows still having problems with Quicken even today.

Fixing PDF problems in windows 8

Considering all the trouble Quicken has running under windows, it's not too surprising it may not run under WINE.

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Finding WINE
by mach37 / August 15, 2014 2:18 PM PDT

Just today, 8/15, I discovered that my Zorin installation has WINE already installed; I just wasn'f familiar enought with the menu system to discover it. And Thanks, James Denison for all those links - I'm sure one of those will tell me what I need to know.

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by itsdigger / August 15, 2014 3:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Finding WINE

Wine is installed with most Linux Distros. No mystery there .

And in reality, Linux is pretty much Linux. When ya get right down to it.You can make any Linux distro any way you want ,
it just takes practice.

All these folks that want to glamorize say Arch Linux or a buntu distro like Mint or any other buntu are just blowing smoke .

It's just glitter because you can do that by yourself . You can make any Linux distro any way you want.

Don't think for one moment that a Free Linux Distro will take the place of Windows though , because it can't.
Just try and watch a movie from Amazon Prime or play a REAL game on Linux.

Maybe try to scan to docs. on a computer with a Samsung laser printer.

The thngs our family's and kids want to do , you can't do with Linux.

I adore a Debian Distro, but it doesn't take the place of Windows .
Don't let anyone jive ya.....

Linux is not a Windows replacement . It's a use for an old computer and it's cool if you want to go check your e-mail and stuff but don't let anyone tell you it's a Windows replacement


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What Linux version includes auto install of WINE?
by RetNavyChief / August 15, 2014 9:35 PM PDT
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Virtual XP in Windows 7
by Mr Windows / August 1, 2014 2:00 PM PDT

I agree with fewb, get yourself a copy of Windows 7 Pro or above. Once it's installed on your system, go to Microsoft's Web Site, and download these files.

1. Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool.exe

The Hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV) detection tool checks if the computer processor supports HAV, and if this setting is enabled.

2. Windows6.1-KB977206-x86/x64.msu

Install this update to remove the prerequisites required to run Windows Virtual PC and XP mode. The prerequisites include a processor which supports hardware assisted virtualization (HAV) which is also enabled in the BIOS. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

3. Windows6.1-KB958559-x86/x64-RefreshPkg.msu

Windows Virtual PC is the latest Microsoft virtualization technology. You can use it to run more than one operating system at the same time on one computer, and to run many productivity applications on a virtual Windows environment, with a single click, directly from a computer running Windows 7.

4. WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe

Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 makes it easy run many of your productivity programs that run on
Windows XP on Windows 7. It uses virtualization technology such as Windows Virtual PC to provide a
Virtual Windows XP environment for Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode provides a 32-bit virtual Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (SP3) environment.
This download includes a virtual hard disk (.vhd file) with Windows XP SP3 preinstalled

You may not need 1 & 2 if your computer is a newer machine, but running Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool won't hurt. By the way, when you download these files, don't just run them, save them on your hard drive. Microsoft doesn't support XP anymore, and there's no telling how long these files will be available on the Web Site. You may have to re-install them someday, it would be worth your while to burn them onto a CD.

I run Windows 7 Ultimate on both my desktop, and laptop computers. I have set up XP Mode on both of them, and on many clients who are like you, switching from XP to Windows 7. They also have XP specific software that they need to run in Win 7's XP Mode.

There is one other nice feature about software installed in the virtual XP, it's visible, and runnable from the Windows 7 desktop. All you have to do click the Start button, go to All Programs, Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode Applications, and then select the program you want from the list, and run it. It will open, and run in its own little virtual machine, and will act like any other window on the Windows 7 desktop.

So you can run your "very expensive business program that wouldn't run at all on Windows 7", in its very own XP Mode window, on Windows 7. This will give you some breathing room to update your software, to run on the newer Microsoft operating systems (Windows 7, 8, and soon 9). I hope this helps you.

Mr. Windows

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my goodness!
by James Denison / August 2, 2014 1:48 AM PDT

it would be easier to just load XP into a virtual box in Linux!

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It's funny you should mention that.
by Mr Windows / August 2, 2014 12:37 PM PDT
In reply to: my goodness!

I was, today, going to make an addition to my post about the same thing. Though, to be honest, I was going to suggest Windows 8 rather than Linux. So, here goes.

Lynn, you already own copies of XP, and their Product Keys should be on a sticker on the XP computer cases. That's all you need for this next little example. If you don't have the actual Windows XP installation CD, don't worry. There's lots of places on line where you can download an ISO, or the installation files, to burn yourself an installation CD. It's the Product Keys, which you already have, that will make this project a success.

For this example get yourself some copies of Windows 8.1. Any version will do, you just want them to run on your computers.

1. Backup all your data. I should have said that in the Windows 7 example, but I forgot. Don't you forget.

2. Install Windows 8.1 (from now on when I wright Windows 8, I mean 8.1), formatting your hard drive to give it a nice fresh environment to install to.

3. Jump on Windows Update, again, and again, until you have every last update there is.

4. Download, and install Classic Shell For Win 8 to give you a true Start Menu for Windows 8, and a few other enhancements. You can find it at: .

5. Go to ORACLE's VirtualBox Web Site:, and download the VirtualBox platform package for Windows, VirtualBox 4.3.14 for Windows hosts x86/amd64. Don't worry about the amd64, it works on the Intel chip just as well. Save it in your Downloads directory.

6. Now download VirtualBox 4.3.14 Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack. Save it in your Downloads directory too.

7. A bit farther down the page you will see User Manual. Click on that (NOT the HTML version) to open it, then save it to your Downloads directory as well. We just want everything in one easy to find place.

8. This would be a good time to download, and install the Adobe reader, if it's not preinstalled in your copy of Windows 8.

9. Now open the User Manual in your Adobe reader, and read up on setting up a Virtual Machine. Don't worry, it's not difficult to do. Just give the User Manual a good read for the first few chapters. We want you to be comfortable doing this, and the knowledge you gain from the Manual will make you comfortable.

10. Install the VirtualBox software like you would any other application. If you're new to Windows 8, and you are, I think you would be more comfortable installing it form the desktop rather than the Start Page. If you have all the updates done on Windows 8, you can skip the Start Page altogether if you want. Instructions are available on line, in various help sites.

11. When you have VirtualBox installed, it's time to install XP, and set up its Virtual Machine. With VirtualBox open, and running, click on the "New" button at the top of the VirtualBox Manager window. A Wizard will pop open to guide you through setting up a new Virtual Machine. From that point on, just follow the wizards, until XP is installed, and running.

As you're using the same computers, with the same RAM as you were using for XP, I would allocate as much RAM as you can to your Virtual Machine. If your computes aren't maxed out on RAM, I would think about adding some more.

When you get to what kind of Virtual Disk you want in the Wizard, I would go with a dynamically allocated file. That's the same type that would be created in the Windows 7 example, and though marginally slower than a fixed-size file it lets you work away in XP, and still have some room to play with Windows 8.

At this point in the process you will get a second Wizard. The First Start Wizard will help you install XP in your newly created Virtual Machine. This will entail you putting your XP installation CD in your optical drive, and telling the Wizard where it is, by using a drop down list.

Now it's just a matter of following XP's installation instructions. This is where your Product Keys come into play, you will need them to install XP. Fortunately, they should be on a sticker on your computers case. On my Dell it's on the top, but every manufacturer puts it in a different place. If it's not on the computers case, look on the CD case, or envelope, or box if you bought it retail.

12. Now that you have XP installed in its Virtual Machine, and run Windows Update to bring it back to the last of the updates, then close off its internet connection permanently. You can now start restoring your data from the back up you made at the beginning of this process.

13. When all your programs, and data files have been restored, you can go back to working in XP to your heart's content.

14. Install your Antivirus software, and connect with the internet with Windows 8, keeping your XP isolated from the outside world, and there for safe. If, while working in XP, you need to go on line for some reason, minimize your XP window (if your using XP in full screen), and go on line with Windows 8. You can copy, and paste between the two Operating Systems, and if you have installed the Extension Pack, and VBoxGuestAdditions, your XP will have access to Windows 8's drive.

Now, this setup is not as seamless as XP Mode on Windows 7, you can't run XP programs from the Windows 8 desk top, but it is the easiest way to get your XP specific software to run on Windows 8. It will also give you a lot more breathing space to run XP before Windows 8 reaches its inevitable end of live. You can also use this exact same setup on Windows 9 when it is released.

This gives you another option to keep your XP up and running. I hope it helped.

Mr. Windows

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Several problems
by Rick75230 / August 15, 2014 12:01 PM PDT

I have installed full XP under VirtualBox and that is what I would suggest too.

But regarding "if you don't have the install disks", that's another story!

There's pretty much no place you can get a legal copy of the ISO on-line. So aside from the ethical/technically legal issues, there is also the practical problem of how do you know whatever you download isn't infected?

Or maybe someone slipstreamed the install disk? (A process intended for in-house tech support folks that handle hundreds of machines, which updates parts of the install disk.)

Or maybe it's an OEM version that only works on one brand, such as Dell or HP.

More importantly, it is not true that any MS product key will work on any copy of the same MS product. MS produces Windows copies in batches. Within a single batch any key will work on any copy. But, for instance, when Win 8 came out I bought 3 upgrade disks. When one install subsequently crashed (I later found out Nvidia video drivers were the actual culprit) rather than doing a full-blown reinstall, I figured I would just clone an existing one and when Windows wanted to reactivate I would just enter the second product key. The activation refused to take it. Although I received the 3 copies at the same time, all the same product, each product key would not work on either of the other two copies.

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Virtual Machine
by davecon1 / August 16, 2014 2:41 AM PDT

Just wondering, why go through all that when you can just run Hyper-V in Windows 8.1 ???. I use it and it works great...

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using VirtualBox to run XP in a Windows 8.1 computer
by pyramid14 / August 17, 2014 7:30 AM PDT

Your comments were really great. I'm facing a similar dilemma that's kept me locked into an older computer running XP. I've read the VirtualBox manual but had a couple of basic questions I was hoping to ask. My situation is I'd like to buy a new computer running Windows 8.1 but still run my mid-1990's Lotus123release5 software on a Windows XP platform and be able to move between the two environments. I have thousands of macros and formulas what don't even work in 123 release 9 much less Excel. This is home use so there aren't network or enterprise issues. I have the disks and key codes for the XP.

Once XP is running in VirtualBox when I put the Lotus installation disks (1.4m floppies!) in will the Virtual Box recognize the A drive just as it would on my current computer?

If I run 123 in VirtualBox and everything else in 8.1, can I move back and forth between the host and virtual applications just by moving the mouse? I use 2 screens and almost always have two applications open, one on each screen.

Also, can I readily move data from the host to the virtual such as copying something from a web site that's in the host and pasting it into a spreadsheet that's in the virtual? I'd also often save a file from a web site on the host and want to access it from the virtual application.

Lastly, would my data files reside where they are now (with host and virtual OS's both accessing the same drive) or would I have two C drives that the computer would read as if they were two separate computers, or would the VirtualDrive call for a disk partition with a different drive letter? In effect, how would applications in either environment access files? It's a significant question for me because virtually all my files have many formulas that pull data from other files so the path in the virtual box has to be exactly the same as it is now to avoid endless rewriting-- c:\xxx\yyy\zzz.wk4.

Thank you! Your article has given me hope that I can replace the computer and not have to spend 1,000 hours to get back to the functionality I have today.

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Re: diskettes
by Kees_B Forum moderator / August 17, 2014 7:44 AM PDT

Let's hope those installation diskettes are still readable without errors. There's a good chance they aren't unless you made a yearly copy.

If there are any errors, try copying the Lotus5 folders in Program Files (or where-ever they are) to the same location in the virtual XP and run it from there without install. Might work.


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readable diskettes
by pyramid14 / August 17, 2014 10:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: diskettes

Thank you but they're still good. I did a clean re-install of XP about three months ago to drag some more life out of the old computer. Worked fine. Unfortunately as the rest of the world has moved on web sites are slower to load, new software is slower to open, etc. Even with the re-install the difference between my computer and my wife's running 8.1 is striking.

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Windows XP Virtual
by Noddy4 / August 15, 2014 11:39 AM PDT

When my old XP machine passed away, I had been running it mainly because there were programs that would not run on anything later than XP. My main system is Win 7 Pro, with dual screens, and I was using switchable keyboard and mouse between the two systems, Win 7 and Win XP.
After the demise of the XP system, I finally found out about the XP virtual machine and downloaded and installed the necessary software.
Fortunately, both my old programs, and all the associated files, had been backed up to a 1TB Hard Drive so I was able to retrieve them and load into my Virtual XP system on the remaining Win 7 computer. Much relief all round.
So you could say I am very happy chappy!

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Short Answer is Windows 8.1 + Classic Shell
by Bob_Meyer / August 1, 2014 2:10 PM PDT

If you are moving up from XP the short answer is Windows 8.1 plus Classic Shell (find it at ) and upgrade anything that won't run on Windows 8.1 to something that will.

Your XP programs won't run on Linux or Mac. If you can find a legal copy of Windows 7 Pro you could try the XP virtual machine there, but that's just another costly delaying tactic.

Best of luck

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shell easy install
by howjef / September 9, 2014 7:55 AM PDT

Link worked. Install and setup about the easiest I have ever seen. Didn't think I missed the classic start. Didn't really seem a big deal . BUT, this feels like coming home Happy

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Another alternative..
by JCitizen / August 1, 2014 2:12 PM PDT

I noticed you just want to run securely - you could set up your XP machine up with Steady State, a free utility that works only with XP as the last OS supported by it. Steady State can nuke your operating system back to a pristine state each time your reboot. You will never have to worry about OS updates, and viruses and malware will be a thing of the past, although you might want something installed to defend against key-loggers in the temporary files during each boot and browser session. Even legitimate sites can get you infected, and they can do their damage without installing and watch your moves or inject into the browser session from the temporary files. Trusteer's Rapport is the best defense I've found for that. You could possibly do without any other protections other than that and CCleaner for individual cleaning sessions between boots.

If implementing Steady State is too challenging for you - the instructions are on the TechNet site hosted by Microsoft - you could always go to the 3rd party vendors that are covered by the user reviews on CNET here.

I go to libraries and public kiosks that use such technology, and they are still using XP, and run just fine - our local college uses DeepFreeze, and hasn't had one serious breach since. The only exception to that didn't count because it was a misconfigured router.

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or use...
by James Denison / August 2, 2014 1:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Another alternative..

.....snapshot feature in Virtual Box, when XP is run on Linux.

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by JCitizen / August 15, 2014 11:54 PM PDT
In reply to: or use...

At least if VM malware takeover the virtual session, they will just leak into Linux, and maybe not be able to do much damage - but I do read that can happen to any host operating system using virtual machines. At least with a product like Steady State, or third party alternative, the issue would be easier for a newbie to resolve. I feel Linux virtual environments are too complicated for most newbies, especially if they have never used Linux before. If they could get a shop or other expert to set it all up for them, for a nominal fee, then maybe that could be a viable alternative.

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Won't work.
by theallmighty / August 16, 2014 12:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Another alternative..

Won't steady state, or those kind of programs. It will erase anything new after you set it up. So won't she lose all docs and files after that?

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Linux and xp dual boot
by h_bretman / August 1, 2014 5:32 PM PDT

I also have a prog which will not work on Vista, W7 or W8. I have installed Ubuntu 14.04 and now can dual boot with xp. I have set xp to not go online, my prog does not need to go online, and I use Ubuntu for email and browsing. I am impressed with Ubuntu having not used Linux before. On boot up icons are on the left side and smaller buttons top right. I have changed from the supplied firefox to Google chrome and signed in. All my stuff from chrome running on windows is there and apart from not running windows progs it works just fine.

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Go for Windows 8
by cstevens / August 1, 2014 8:11 PM PDT

Whichever option you choose, you're going to have a learning curve. Although I love the Apple platform, in your case since you've stuck with XP for so long I would recommend you simply update to Win 8.1. Yes it will be unfamiliar and will take some time to learn but so would either Linux or Mac OS X.

With Win8 you would be best assured that legacy apps would work, something that MS is generally pretty good about.

One thing that might help is a simple program, Stardock's start8. It returns the Windows start menu for easy access; its disappearance is probably the single most frustrating aspect of the move to Win8. Start8 is a pretty cheap program.

Good luck!

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Classic Shell Menu is free
by Rick75230 / August 15, 2014 12:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Go for Windows 8

I actually like the Win 9x menu style. I didn't even start using 7 until Classic Shell Menu came out, so I could restore the Classic style that was optional on XP and discontinued in Win 7. and have two entirely unrelated programs, one paid and the other free.

One very minor annoyance with the free program is that Microsoft asked them not to duplicate the Win 7 or Win 8 start button so they changed their default button a bit. But there are numerous on-line sources with free duplicates (and many custom styles). I like the original Win 7 button, so I have that on both my Win 7 and Win 8 installs.

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