I got your Charms.
October 28, 2013 6:35 PM   Subscribe

How best to get Windows 7 on a new laptop?

I’m done with Windows 8, and I’m not interested in 8.1 – this disaster can’t be fixed. What I need is Windows 7, or something that looks just like it. How best to achieve this?

A. Buy a machine with W7 installed. My hesitation is that all the latest models come with W8, so maybe I’d be missing out on some big hardware thing.
B. Buy a machine with W8 and install W7 on it. My hesitation is driver issues. I don’t want any issues.
C. Buy a machine with W8 and install Classic Shell over it.

For the record: I need Windows Explorer, wireless & Bluetooth, and routine Office & Internet functions. I don’t need gaming or major video. Or touchscreen. Or Charms.

Any hive thoughts?
posted by LonnieK to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have the shell. It's still Windows 8. Lots of programs still open in the Windows 8 metro/tile whatever version I'm then I'm struggling to get back to the desktop. Personally I'm currently looking into options A or B. The thing about the latest models is that they're being made to "take advantage" of Windows 8. I have this gigantic touchpad that gets in the way of everything and hardly any mouse-clicking section because I'm supposed to be touching the screen I guess, the keyboard is horrible, a lot of the manual buttons are missing like a manual way to toggle on/off wifi because Charms!
posted by thebazilist at 6:55 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Given what you describe as your needs, the latest and greatest hardware is probably seriously overkill anyway. I think my first inclination in that situation would be to just find one that comes with it already. If you're concerned about drivers if you are going to put Windows 7 on it, you could always go to the manufacturer website before buying and check to see if they have them. Like, I own a Windows 8 laptop, but there are Windows 7 drivers for it and I've been tempted more than a few times, since I don't mind the interface but the way the OS actually runs now is driving me crazy.
posted by Sequence at 7:13 PM on October 28, 2013

I bought a Toshiba laptop last month that came with Win8. The downgrade process to Win7 took me a couple of days (with the worst thing being the wireless driver) but it all seems happy now.
posted by kbuxton at 7:22 PM on October 28, 2013

Dell still sells machines with Windows 7 on it. Do that?
posted by deezil at 7:27 PM on October 28, 2013

You can still find loaded, new-hardware Win7 systems handily categorized on deal sites like this one. (Mostly Dell or Lenovo.)
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2013

I use Win8 with Classic Shell. You can configure Classic Shell so it turns off the hot corners (those terrible things that take you to Metro if you mouse over them), and you can change the default programs for opening particular file types to ones that aren't in awful Metro-land (Photo Gallery rather than Photos, for example). It took a little bit of Googling and configuring to set everything up the way I wanted it, but the OS is usable now.
posted by topoisomerase at 7:35 PM on October 28, 2013

For clarification: A) you currently have a (recent/new) computer with Windows 8 running, or B) you tried out computers with Windows 8 and you are not impressed, so you are looking for a new laptop with Windows 7?

If you are currently in the market for a new laptop, you can still find laptops with Windows 7 installed.

But if you have a new laptop with Windows 8 and you want to have more of the Windows 7 experience, you can make Windows 8 more like Windows 7 (one of many online tutorials on changing the user experience in Win8).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 AM on October 29, 2013

Response by poster: Clarifying: As I said, the 3 options I'm considering all involve buying a new laptop. I appreciate all the takes. I'm inclined to buy one with W7 and avoid the W8 world for a while. I suspect W7 is going to be around a looong time, particularly in the corporate world. Thanks all!

(For the record: I bought a couple W8 machines, tried them out, returned them. W8 wasn't the only issue, but i don't want to repeat that experience.)
posted by LonnieK at 11:59 AM on October 29, 2013

I would look toward the more business-y lines of laptops. They will definitely have the support you need for Win 7 usage. Like drivers and such.

Also, try out a machine with Win 8 Pro. I think there are some subtle differences that make it more easy to deal with.

Also, also, Windows 8 isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. But it does take some getting used to. If you just install and use the non-metro versions of applications, it works fine. On my Win 7 machine, I found that if I pinned my frequent programs to the start menu (and UNPINNED stuff from the taskbar), I nearly never have to dive into the full programs menu. Win 8 ends up being the same. Move your frequently used apps to the front of the metro screen and it works as well or better than the normal start menu.

Last mention: I recently upgraded to Win 8.1 and they have annoyingly made some changes that revert it back towards 7 a little bit.
posted by gjc at 5:40 AM on October 30, 2013

If you are still checking this thread, Dell is currently having a PC sale through Oct. 31st at 6:59 AM EST, and they have Windows 7 machines included.
posted by gudrun at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2013

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