The place for nonprofits, charities, and libraries

Windows 8 or Windows 7

  • Hi

    This is my second post on these forums and I am hoping to get some good feedback, as I see there are some wonderful contributors here.  I apologize in advance for adding to the multitude of questions from folks who are not sure if they should upgrade to Windows 8.  I have not yet read anything in the forums from someone in the same situation as we are.  Mainly that we are running several different versions of Windows and need to upgrade all of them to one OS that will last us for the years to come. 

    So, here's our situation: We are a small nonprofit that has been around since 2007.  We receive mostly government grants and have to keep good track of our finances and be able to share things with each other.  Out of the 8 computers in the office, we have almost every version of Windows from Windows 7 Home to Windows XP Pro. We also use a shared drive that hold ALL of our documents.  Upgrading with a clean install should be no problem, as there are minimal files on the computers that need to be saved before doing the clean install.  We rely heavily on QuickBooks, Outlook, Word, Excel, FileMaker, PowerPoint, Adobe Design CS5 programs and the ability to connect to the computers remotely via VPN (there are 3 laptops in the office that are used when the ED or AED travel).

    I understand Windows 8 is new and the risk of getting into an OS that might be obsolete in a few years.  However, I am mostly curious about the advantages and disadvantages of going with Windows 8 over Windows 7 (or vice versa) assuming they will both be around for many years to come.

    Thanks! I look forward to reading your responses!


  • I cannot answer about choosing between 7 and 8. I'm just wondering whether "upgrading with a clean install should be no problem." I know that, once upon a time, it would have been practically impossible to clone one completed installation for all that variety of hardware, and I suspect that remains the case, so you could still have an arduous task to install Windows, and the multitude of applications, on each computer.

  • Dear Kalim,

    Take a look at this recent discussion of Windows 8.  Also, take a look at this blog post from  The opinions I've read have been pretty negative unless you're going to use it on a touchscreen device. 

    BTW, CITI is having a webinar on Dec. 6 that will be a tour of Win 8 so if you act quickly you can take part.

    If you do decide to try Windows 8, run Microsoft's upgrade assistant first to make sure your software, hardware, and drivers are compatible.  From what I've read this shouldn't be a problem with reasonably recent computers, but I haven't tested it myself.

    And please let us know what you decide to do.



    Forum Moderator
    Robert L. Weiner Consulting
    Strategic Technology Advisors to Nonprofit and Educational Organizations
    robert [AT] rlweiner [DOT] com

  • From reading your description of your usage, Windows 7 without question. Your usage is still completely in-line with traditional desktop usage. The programs you use all are designed for desktop use, not to mention potential incompatibilities with VPN or any legacy software or documents. 7 is an easy upgrade from XP. 8 is not a intuitive upgrade from any other Windows OS. I've always been in the if it's not broke just keep using it crowd and Windows 8 is the epitome of why. Desktops work well, they're efficient, everyone knows how to use them, why change to a very different system when the one that definitely works is going to be around for just as long.

  • thanks for the feedback Robert!

    I've read a lot of the negative too.  I've also read some good reviews.  One in particular is here on ZDnet

    I'm on the fence about it myself.  There are also devices like this on ebay and review on engadget that might make the transition easier.  The cost would have to be comparable or less than those for a Touchscreen monitor.  What do you think of these as options until a monitor upgrade for a small office?


    Jesse, I'm hoping most of the software mentioned are pre-installed (MS Office programs, VPN accessibility) and the rest are only on 3 of the computers for use by main officers (Filemaker, Quickbooks etc.) so it shouldn't take too much IT time.  I am curious what software will already be on there.




  • Thanks for the input jestep.  I'm a bit bipolar on the issue.  One side agrees with you completely.  But on the flip side, don't you think technology is headed in that direction anyway?  We already depend heavily on our smart phones and tablets.  Why not take the leap and be ahead of the game, instead of trying to catch up when the rest of the business world moves on to such an OS?

    How do you feel about the Desktop app feature of Windows 8?  It seems like it functions as a Desktop (minus the Start Menu, which you can easily add by following a guide like this one on cnet ) and would help ease the transition for folks who have a harder time with change.


  • We don't know at this time if windows 8 will follow the legacy of Win 3.0, Win98 first edition, Win ME, Vista or the legacy of Win 3.1 Win98 SE, Win XP and Windows 7.  

    For our NP I will be acquiring Win 7 as long as possible as I was standard on Win XP for as long as possible.  If we had a specific application that requires Windows 8 that's a different story.  Except for specific App I won't be buying touch screens until the price point is about $30.00 more than a similar monitor.


  • I do think that some technology is headed that way, but I do not think it's going to be some mass migration or anything to the point where users must switch. I think Microsoft would be extremely naive to assume the millions of corporate users are going to swap to a tablet style interface that lacks key features and usability in desktops as we currently know them. My bet is that they are forced to continue another desktop OS, or an 8.5 will full desktop functionality, but time will tell. We will certainly stick with 7, and still admittedly XP, until our concerns with the newer OS are resolved.