RIP, Windows XP
After April, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP.
I currently have XP Pro. Just recently my motherboard fried so I brought it to a local puter guru to deal with. He gave me a Dell Dimension 4700 with XP Home to get by while I shop for a new puter.
I was going to shop at a Computer Recycle shop (something with Windows 7 or Vista) or Best Buy. I heard Windows 8 had issues and they are coming out with Windows 8.1.
What direction would you take?
Windows 7 is the best OS Microsoft has ever released. That's what I'd go with.
Mint Linux with the GUI set to look like Windows: lightweight, fast and secure. If it was a kickboxer it'd be a woman of 98lbs who beats Mike Tyson up for fun. I'm used to the heavyweights though, so still Windows too.
Gopher's right, 7 is nice. 8 in encumbered with a bunch of pseudo-tablet nonsense. Some friends of the folks got a Win8 machine and couldn't tolerate it after a week of trying to figure it out. I stopped by, installed Classic Shell (donationware) to bring back the Start Button/Menu and tweaked a couple other things to make it more traditional Windows. (boot to desktop, etc) It's 90% of 7 at that point, with 5% missing (WMC being my DVR - comes in Win7, not 8) and 5% improvements under the hood that should make it slightly better somehow that I couldn't detect. Can even make it look almost exactly like XP if that's your preference, and it was mine when I first saw 7. Now I dig the glass elements they killed in 8.
Put simply, Win8 is moronic, but as MicroSoft iterates slowly it's easy to roll it back to what you're used to.
Chromebooks are interesting. IF (notice the big if) you live in the browser and the cloud it's an easy way of computing. Nothing to maintain, easy as signing in to your Google account when you switch machines. I can see the niche, and hope it stays just so, otherwise it's the saddest dystopia I ever saw.
But do give it a look for yourself.
As for hardware these days, doesn't much matter; we've been plateaued at the 1080P challenge point for years. Just to be safe, i3 or higher, 4 gigs of ram or higher. Don't buy a package unless you really like the monitor too. Don't buy a laptop, even cheap as they are now, if you never move your computer. Whatever you do, don't use the new keyboard just because it's new if it sucks.
RIP, Windows XP
Like my buck toothed rodent friend says, go Windows 7 young man and you won't look back.
Originally Posted by gopherpuckfan
Very good input and very much appreciated.
How I use my computer is evident here. The respected elders of the music societies here have labeled me "The Great Communicator". I need to maintain that presence as well with my smart phone, but that is another topic and I will not hijack my own thread.