Patty writes:

Wondering if you can help me purchasing a new lap top computer..and what programs etc I should include.  I have used XP Professional since it was available and was highly pleased with it.  We have HP equipment and have no problems there either. I am a Treasurer and Secretary for my Clubs and want programs that are compatible with other computers.  We use Microsoft programs as well.  Several of my friends have purchased the Microsoft 8 and say it is too complicated and they are unable to understand how to use this program.  Since I enjoy and read your newsletters wondered if you could suggest a good program for me.

Patty, it sounds to me like you’ll want to stick with Windows as your operating system. So your choices would be a Windows 8.1 system or having Windows 7 installed on your new computer. Windows 7 will seem more familiar to you, but while Windows 8.1 is a little different at first, I think it’s actually a great operating system. (Time for a shameless plug for Steve’s WSU Guide to Windows 8.1 -a great way to learn this new operating system.) Plus, Windows 8.1 will be supported by Microsoft until 2023, three years longer than Windows 7.

I will warn you that because of the age of your current operating system, (and I’m assuming the peripherals you use with it) that you may find some compatibility issues with either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

Also, some of your older programs may require new versions. You can head to the Windows Compatibility Center to look up your hardware and peripherals and see which operating systems they are compatible with.

If portability is an issue, you might also want to look into a tablet with a attachable keyboard such as a Surface Pro. They are much lighter and easy to transport and the touchscreens work well with many Windows 8.1 features. (You don’t need a touchscreen to use 8.1, by the way.) So, if you need to take your device along to club meetings at various locations, this could come in handy.

You might also find that using cloud services like Microsoft’s OneDrive can be a big help to your club. You could put up documents, spreadsheets, photos or presentations that would be instantly accessible to all club members.

~ Cynthia