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Ask Deemable Tech: What If I Don't Want Windows 8?

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Microsoft
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James asked, "I heard you talking about Windows XP expiring. I don't want to go to Windows 8, and I can't find any new Windows 7 computers to buy. What do I do?"

We’ve been talking about this a lot lately because Microsoft officially stopped supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This means that, while you can continue using XP on your computer, Microsoft will no longer be doing anything to keep it up to date. There won’t be any new security updates or patches to keep hackers from finding new ways to break into the operating system. If you decide to stick with Windows XP, Microsoft is basically saying that you are now on your own. They recommend upgrading to Windows 8 instead.

You didn’t say why you’re not interested in Windows 8, James, but we’re going to guess that it may have something to do with its user interface. Microsoft decided to completely get rid of the classic Start Menu with Windows 8, and replaced it with a Start Screen that was unlike anything else on the market. This made a lot of people unhappy because it was not what they were used to. It even made some people literally sick to their stomachs from motion sickness because the Start Screen slides from left to right while you’re using it.

We’re happy to report that Windows 8.1, the latest version, is much better in this respect. They’ve brought back the Start Button, and you can reduce the motion features associated with the Start Screen. According to rumors, Microsoft may just return to the classic Start Menu in the next version of Windows.

Unfortunately, James, you really can’t afford to wait for that to happen. And you’re not likely to find a new computer with Windows 7 on it because Microsoft no longer sells the rights to manufacturers to install it on new computers.

If you really want to go to Windows 7, you can still purchase copies of it from third party vendors like Amazon.com, NewEgg or TigerDirect, and install it yourself. This isn’t very difficult if you are just upgrading your old Windows XP machine. Just stick the disc in the drive and follow the instructions. Microsoft has gone to considerable lengths in the last few years to make Windows upgrades easy.

However, things get a little tricky if you’re looking to install Windows 7 on a new computer with Windows 8 already on it. To do this, you’ll have to completely remove Windows 8 from your computer first, which means formatting your hard drive and starting from scratch. This can be intimidating, so we recommend paying your friendly neighborhood computer guy to do it for you. He can probably get Windows 7 safely installed in an hour or two, and you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that it’s been done right.

For more great tech ad?vice, download the Deemable Tech app (for iPhone and Android), and listen to Deemable Tech's full length podcast at Deemable.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @Deemable.

Ray Hollister can be reached at rhollister@wjct.org, 904-358-6341 or on Twitter at @rayhollister.
Tom Braun is a writer living in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to writing about tech and co-hosting WJCT’s Deemable Tech, he writes content for websites and blogs, ghostwrites ebooks, writes short fiction and has written a woefully unpublished dystopian young adult novel that is no doubt his ticket to fame and fortune. Before realizing his true calling as a writer, Tom worked for over a decade as a software developer. He enjoys board games and traveling and once spent a year living in The Netherlands.