Which operating system should I choose for my next laptop?

Bumferry H September 27, 2013
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I am in the long process of selecting my next laptop (I like to take my time on these things). Having had a good opportunity to use Windows 8 on someone else laptop I am not impressed and would like to know what, in your opinions, are the best operating systems for laptops.

I am aware of Apple, know nothing of Linux(?) and somewhat dislike Windows 8.

Apple is expensive (in my opinion) – but it is worth the money?

Windows 8 seems overly complicated, has lost a lot of the appeal and ease of use I have grown up with and from my experience is too “fiddly” compared to Windows 7 or XP.

So, over to you guys: what do you use and what made you choose your system of choice? Am I just stuck in my ways and should I get to grips with Windows 8 or switch to a Mac? Or is there something else out there I should consider?

Looking forward to some interesting answers!

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Susendeep D
    October 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Getting a new laptop with a OS depends upon your budget and willingness for data migration to work in new environment.

    If you've a lot of legacy softwares and have invested much in Windows,then it would be better to get Windows 8.1 as of now,it comes with a option to disable loading of start screen after boot up.

    If you've a lot of money and would like to get mixed in new environment and like to have a bit of more learning curve and agree to invest in software separately,then Mac OS is the best.It would be able to run your Windows software either using parallels or using Bootcamp.

    Linux too have a learning curve and the best way to get started is by using Linux Mint.

    So,in conclusion,if you consider Apple laptops to be costly for you and think that you are still not ready to use Windows 8.1,then consider buying a laptop with no OS version and try using any Linux distro of your choice.If you are not happy with any distro,then later on you can purchase Windows OS of your own edition and have clean machine without manufacturer's bloatware.

  2. Amir M
    October 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Well it depends what will you be using your laptop for... what it will be it's purpose will you using it for gaming, blogging, just browsing the web. What i want to say it is that you decide yourself what do you need a laptop for and then just do a quick search on the web and you will find a best solution for you.

    happy hunting

  3. Usman M
    September 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Get Windows 8, upgrade it to 8.1 on 18 Oct (free) and by the end of Oct, you will figure out your way around the OS and know that there is no match. People complain, yes there are some faults, but it is still better than the shortcomings of others.

  4. Gjergji K
    September 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    As many here suggested, you should know of what use will you make the computer. As for general purpose:
    - create/edit documents;
    - listen /watch media;
    - internet surfing;
    - image/photo editing apps;

    I would choose Linux Mint. The system is stable and you have lots of alternative apps to cover the list mentioned above.

    In case of productivity, I would suggest Windows 7 / 8. You will find lots of software/apps to cover every need you have.

  5. Kyrillos M
    September 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I Myself have always struggled with the fact that I have many uses and many needs and therefore I cannot settle with just one. I am lucky enough to afford a Macbook Pro, which I admit not all people can afford. On my MBP I have a tribleboot of OS X 10.8.5, Windows 8 and Crunchbang (#!) linux. I also have a highly customised Arch Linux virtualbox inside the OS X.

    The native-running os's are each for a designated, long term and resource needy use:
    -OS X for general use, home studio and everything else
    -W8 for gaming and other Windows-only software needs
    -#! for developing and other long term linux needs
    The Arch linux virtualbox is for short term linux needs and for playing around.

    This all boils down to the fact that – as Dalsan M pointed - there is no one answer that fits all. The choices need to be done by figuring out your needs and selecting a choice that serves them. The choice can be just one OS or several like in my case. Virtualisation is also a good option for less resource intensive and more short term needs.

  6. Andy C
    September 28, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I'd go with whatever you're supplied with, AND load Linux Mint (Cinnamon) as well. Choose what works best for your normal workload (might be Windows 8 for work and gaming, Linux for non-work activities).
    Avantage is that a lot of the things you need in windows, there's probably a good open-source equivalent that you can get for either OS. For example, if you don't want to buy Microsoft Office, LibreOffice is at least as good, free. Photoshop too expensive? try 'The Gimp', also available for either OS. Article writing? Scrivener.(Beta is/was free for Linux, but it's not expensive even so). Plus, there are a lot of 'cloud' apps, for example those available from Google that reduce the importance of the OS.
    It might have been useful to put your intended use for the machine in the question, though.
    Hope that helps.
    -BR
    -Andy, Oulu, Finland

  7. Oron J
    September 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I feel for you. It's difficult to make the choice just now. Windows 8.1 is just around the corner, and will be somewhat better in that it will allow you (if you like) to bring the interface a little closer to how Windows 7 was.
    Apple make very fine computers but they are much more expensive, and if you're not used to them, there's a learning curve there too!
    Finally, Linux. On the plus side, free, and there's lots of choice, so you can experiment with different distros before you settle on one you like. It's very stable, and some distros (e.g. *buntu, Mint but also many others) are extremely easy to set up. On the downside, it is very different from Windows "under the hood", and many versions also use a different user interface, and it's not always an improvement... Finally, the range of drivers and applications available is smaller, so you need to make sure that any applications that are important to you are available, or at least that there are suitable alternatives.

    If I were pressed to make a recommendation now, I'd say get a Windows PC, back it up immediately and try a number of Linux distros. If there are none that work for you, install 8.1 when it becomes available (only a couple of weeks to wait!) and configure it to work your way, or as close as possible to that.

  8. Min S
    September 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    It is true that Macs are more expensive, however I'd advise you to buy a Mac and then install Windows 7 alongside (via using Parallels software). This way you will have the best of both worlds.

    Winodws 8 is not worth it when compared to Windows 7.

  9. Dalsan M
    September 27, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    To get better advice, you would have to provide your main uses, your major wants, and what you can live without. Windows offers the best in compatibility with hardware and the most options for software. Games are more readily a available for Windows (for now). Windows 8.1 should offer a better experience than 8 since the major complaints that end users had were supposedly worked out, so if you wait for 8.1 to come out on laptops, then I would wait. If not, 8 is fine (some software will need work-arounds in order to install them), and there are many free options to enable the start menu and basic desktop that you are used to.

    That being said, you can easily install any version of Linux (Ubuntu, Mint, etc.). Another thing to note is that Steam is working hard to make gaming as available in Linux (and OSX) as it is in Windows. Steam is even making Steam OS and Steam boxes as an alternative to the normal game systems.

    MAC OSX may be expensive for the initial purchase, but the quality of the hardware and software is hard to beat. The media editing and manipulation experience on a MAC is typically better than any other OS, mostly since Apple has geared their software and drivers for artists rather than business types. If you can get past the price, Macs offer the best in ability to legally install just about any operating system on their computers. The hardware (CPU, GPU, etc.) is supported by Windows and Linux, which is not the case for OSX on any other computer except Mac hardware. OSX does not support AMD processors, and probably never will. Besides this, OSX is not legally allowed to be installed on any other hardware system than Macs.

    For the most part, there are alternatives to Windows software for other operating systems (make sure there is, or else learn to live without it). But, I would recommend a Windows 8.1 (or 8) system dual booting with Linux Mint or similar Linux distro. I personally couldn't justify paying so much initially for a Mac since I wouldn't have the ability to use some important software that isn't available for Macs. I know I can install Windows on a Mac, but that would be an extra cost on top of the price of a Mac. Personal usage and preferences would be most important here, but we cannot tell you what you want and need, you would have to tell us.

  10. Hovsep A
    September 27, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Windows 8 vs Mac OS X Mountain Lion head-to-head review
    http://www.itpro.co.uk/desktop-software/20273/windows-8-vs-mac-os-x-head-head-review

  11. Jan F
    September 27, 2013 at 5:07 am

    If you haven't used a Mac before I suggest to "stay away" from it or at least test-drive it in a shop before making the decision.
    One thing you have to keep in mind is that by default no Windows software will work on a Mac. So for some of it you'd have to get the Mac version (additional costs?), you might have to look for alternatives or use visualization.

    If you are interested in a Mac and OS X I suggest to make a list of the software and tools you regularly use and then see which one is available for Mac and which one has promising alternatives. The rest of them would have to be run in a virtual machine or using boot-camp. If that applies to most of them you are probably better off with a Windows machine.

    Personally, I was lost when I first handled a system with Windows 8 on it. But I also heard that once you get used to it you may actually prefer it over 'the old style'.

    Another option is to get a device that comes with a Windows 8 Pro license. Then you can always make use of your downgrade right.
    http://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en/licensing/sblicensing/Pages/downgrade_rights.aspx

    Basically if your system comes with Win 8 Pro you have the right to downgrade to Win 7 Pro. All you need is a valid Win 7 Pro installation media and then install it using the Win 8 key. In some cases internet activation will fail and you have to do it via phone.

  12. Harshit J
    September 27, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Get Windows 8. For that user interface problem, just install a simple start menu software and disable the start screen and charms bar. Though, you can use Windows Store to download games for fun.
    Getting Windows 7 is not recommended because of the huge performance improvements in Windows 8.
    Have you tried WIndows 8.1 preview? Did you like it?

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