On April 18th, 2019, systems running Windows 7 began to receive notifications for the end of life for that venerable operating system. The successor to the generally despised Windows Vista, 7 has been supported for ten years, which in technology is a very long time. Like all great software it was beloved by many, but the time has come to let it die in peace.
Those of you still using Windows 7 are likely annoyed by these prompts to upgrade, and may be wondering why it’s important to do so. Among many other reasons, the most crucial is the lack of security updates going forward. I’ve written elsewhere about the implications of this (https://www.techno-literate.com/2019/03/21/time-to-leave-windows-7-behind/), but in short, your data and Internet usage will be at risk if you continue to use Windows 7 after the end of 2019.
If you’re still using a computer that you purchased with Windows 7 preinstalled, you may find your Windows 10 experience to be sluggish. Very old computers from the last decade are definitely not powerful enough for modern software, so you may need to consider purchasing a new system. Here’s some basic information that you’ll need to know as you shop.
Laptop or Desktop?
There are a dizzying variety of computers in all shapes and sizes, from mini PCs to laptops to tablets to tower desktops. Most people need to choose between laptops and desktops, and it’s important to keep in mind that they offer different functionalities.
Desktops are the old standard, and are most often equated with the traditional “home computer”. They come in several sizes and usually require a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, which may need to be purchased separately. An All-In-One (AIO) desktop is a computer built into a monitor, and is popular among home users. Desktops are known to be upgradeable and more easily repairable than laptops.
A laptop is a portable computer with an integrated monitor, mouse, and keyboard. While much better for carrying around than a desktop, laptops are usually less powerful due to the constraints of running on battery power and being housed in an extremely slim case. While laptops can be used in the same capacity as desktops, I recommend against purchasing one unless you’re planning to be using it for its portability.
What Should I Look for in my New Computer?
When shopping for a new computer, it’s important to look at the specifications published by the manufacturer. While your needs may require something a lot more powerful, these recommendations should be adequate for the majority of home users who desire snappy multitasking and smooth web browsing. The basic specs you need to be concerned with are standard in the industry, so here’s a simple list of what you should look for.