Computer Upgrades are Inevitable

If you’re still asking whether or not you need to upgrade from XP to something else, the answer is yes, unless you are about to give up technology for good.

Do you remember this?

Your choices

  • Windows 8 PC
  • Windows 7 PC if you manage to buy the license
  • Mac computer
  • Linux computer
  • Android
  • iOS (Apple) tablet
  • Smartphone or “phablet”

If you find another choice that is not on this list, you’d better to be able to support your decision on your own.  Even some of these are not for the faint of heart.

Upgrading Windows is the most obvious choice.  If you use Windows XP on your desktop or laptop and want to continue doing so, then you need to look at Windows 7 or Windows 8.  Windows 7 is not officially for sale any more but so many have resisted version 8 that there are still ways to buy it if you’re stubborn.  Special orders from the manufacturer, or fulfilment from Microsoft directly may work for you.  In the past, Microsoft licenses have allowed you to run an older version legally when you buy a newer version.  However, as the title says, “Upgrades are Inevitable”.  If you buy Windows 7, it won’t last forever, and Microsoft will do things to ensure that Windows 8 has more features and looks more attractive.

Go Mac is a choice people sometimes consider at this point because they think that learning Windows 8 will be hard anyway.  There is a bigger difference between Windows and Mac than between Windows XP and 8.  But if you’re up for something different, then go ahead.  Computing platforms are converging, not diverging over time.  This has been driven by needs for interoperability, and the ease of sharing data and applications via the Internet.  Before switching, check out two things: what are your favourite applications, and what applications do you need.  If you still need your least favourite application, then make sure you can use it on your new computer.

Go Linux? People ask about Linux sometimes and if they should try it out.  I say yes, but only if you are willing to be your own mechanic.  I have exclusively run my business desktop and laptop computers for over ten years now.  But that is a rare accomplishment.  All of the applications are available, but you need to be comfortable in the environment.  If you’re geeky enough, or adventurous enough, then go for it.

Upgrade to Android? This is a possibility for some.  You might find that the Google Play Store has most of the apps you need to operate, and that the rest are available from a SaaS, or as web-based systems.  You can do your accounting, customer management, ERP, and much more through a web browser these days.  Maybe an Android tablet is all you need, and you can get one with a keyboard for greater productivity.

Upgrade to iOS? If you would rather have an Apple tablet than Android, all the same arguments apply. Some software like iTunes and Facetime are exclusive to Apple platforms.  Android has other apps that will do the same thing though.  If you have a Mac computer, consider an iOS tablet or phone because of the easy integration, and also because you might already think like a Mac.

Smartphone for business is a legitimate question now.  A “phablet” is an oversized smartphone that can almost pass for a tablet.  Anything with a five inch screen or larger.  An average smartphone has as much capability as your Windows XP computer did when you bought it.  That is, you can browse the web with mild discomfort, and you can send and receive emails but you wish it were easier, and you can read some documents and edit some documents.  It would be nice if it were easier to share files and documents, but it’s not that hard to figure out how to make it work.  If you’re very mobile, then ditch the desktop and keep your computer in your pocket.  The catch is that you will probably find times when you still want to use a keyboard, so you might end up with a secondary device anyway.  However, the online applications and websites will still give you more amazing things you can do than your Windows computer did when it was new.  In 2001.