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With the release of Windows 8 Preview some folks are wondering if Windows 7 is soon to disappear. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Is it smart to buy Windows 7 at this point in time now that Windows 8 has been introduced? In other words, if you only have Windows 7 installed by your system manufacturer on your laptop or PC and not separately purchase Microsoft is Microsoft going to stop selling Windows 7 anytime soon?

Now that it's released, this article has been superseded by Should I upgrade to Windows 8? - please read that for my current thinking on Windows 8.

Unfortunately the release of Windows 8 preview has caused a fair amount of confusion for some folks.

In this video excerpt from a recent Ask Leo! webinar I'll discuss whether Windows 8 should affect your purchase or installation of Windows 7 in any way. (Hint: no.)

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Leo, is it smart to buy Windows 7 at this point in time now that Windows 8 has been introduced. In other words, if you only have Windows 7 installed by your system manufacturer on your laptop or PC and not separately purchase Microsoft is Microsoft going to stop selling Windows 7 anytime soon?

So, Windows 7 isn't going to die anytime soon. I expect it be available well beyond Windows 8 actual release. First, you have to realize that while Windows 8 has been introduced, it's not for sale; it's not done.

The only thing that's been introduced is what they call a Preview. They used to call them 'betas' but the term beta got bastardized and such that people expected betas to actually work. This pre-release of Windows is exactly that: a preview and nothing more.

Unless you are ready to reinstall your system from scratch, it's not something that you want to be playing with. I actually have an article on that: should you try Windows 8? And back in September my answer was no and today my answer is still 'no'. Unless you have a machine you can set it up on that you can reformat when you are done or unless you have a virtual machine you can try it on.

Because Windows 8's user interface is so, apparently, dramatically different than we are used to in previous Windows versions, it would not surprise me in the least that if they wait and kept Windows 7 available and supported for a very long time after Windows 8 is released. Take a look at what happened with Windows XP. Windows XP's lifespan was actually lengthened several times, most dramatically during Windows Vista release.

Vista received such a negative reaction that the only solution Microsoft really had was to continue to support Windows XP for much longer than they had originally planned. And, in fact to this day, Windows XP is still supported - at least security updates and I know it's on just shy of 50% of computers around the world.

So my expectations for Windows 7, since it is has been so significantly better received than Vista, my expectation for Windows 7 is that it will be around for some time to come. So I wouldn't worry about it. So the short answer is get Windows 7; don't hesitate; don't wait for Windows 8.

It's going to be awhile before Windows 8 is actually even released for real and even then I would leave it to the early adopters to work on the problems that it will inevitably have immediately after release but now if you're buying a computer if you want something, throw Windows 7 on there. I just don't have any hesitation at all.

Article C5135 - March 27, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

March 28, 2012 2:47 AM

Windows XP was released for general availability in December 2001. End of extended support for XP w/SP3 is April 8, 2014. That's almost 12 1/2 years. Vista was released January 2007 and extended support will go through April 2017, unless it's extended like Microsoft did for XP. Windows 7 was released October 2009 and I'm guessing extended support will probably go through 2019.

By then, Microsoft will probably have released Windows 15 or maybe Windows 20. ;-)

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Ken B
March 28, 2012 8:03 AM

From what I've seen of Windows 8, it looks more like something that is meant to run on your phone/tablet (like Android or iOS) than it is for a "real" computer.

"Windows"? Why should "Windows" support "windows", when you can tell everyone that Metro-style apps run full-screen? :-)

Note that I haven't run it myself... yet. I can't run it in a VM on my system (no hardware VM support, although lots of other O/Ses run just fine under VirtualBox), so I'm thinking of sacrificing one of my other systems to try it out on.

March 30, 2012 9:46 AM

This reminds me of when my father-in-law was doing research to buy a home computer. Very smart guy (nuclear physicist) - but kept hearing rumors of better things to come, so he would put off buying his system. This went on for a couple years - until we explained to him that there would always be better things around the corner, and that is just the way life worked. And he would have been able to use his system for 2 years if he had purchased it back then. Life 'can' be full of regrets for not waiting - but that doesn't help you get much done in the interim!

joyce B.
March 30, 2012 10:20 AM

well, well, to wait or not to wait !! .. i bought my
windows xp in 2004 , and i am sure ready for a new computer !! .. its still working pretty good !!.
but, very slow !! ..and windows eight looks very
exciting !! ..but i am going to wait, the money i would spend on fixing windows xp , could go on a new computer !! . so my decision is to wait .
have a great day .joyce B.

Jabba the Cat
March 30, 2012 12:08 PM

Best rule of thumb for doing Windows upgrades is minimum wait for service pack 2, preferably service pack 3 otherwise you are likely to become an unpaid member of Microsoft's R&D team.

Marvin Burton
March 30, 2012 6:30 PM

Leo: Excellent advise. You may wish to correct a typo in the next to the last paragraph of the transcript where you say "... better received than Windows 7" when you really meant "... better received than Windows Vista" as in the audio. Also, as long as I am giving feedback, I can understand breaking your Answercast into pieces for better look up, but sometimes the transcription loses some of the lead in information and when I first started reading some of the individual answers I wondered if I was reading something unrelated to the question. You may want to look at that to ensure that each article stands clearly on it's own.
Keep up the good work. Marvin B

Greg Rush
April 11, 2012 10:08 AM

I found a blog which seems to suggest that it is also being discussed at the CxO level...wait for Windows 8 or go to Windows 7. Will get back here if I find it...I think it is "Derisking your wait for Windows 8". Do a google search.

Greg Rush
April 11, 2012 10:11 AM

Here is the blog: It has a downloadable white paper too. Nice write up I say.

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