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Old 15-07-2014, 08:07   #1
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Best Operating System for Cruising Computer

My background: I own an IT consulting company with over 20 years in the industry. We recently moved aboard and I still have my desktop computer at the nav table, but it takes up too much space and I want to replace it with a high end notebook, like a Lenovo Thinkpad (W540, T440, etc) or maybe an HP Envy 17.

The biggest issue I've found is Windows 8. You get a new computer and it has Windows 8 on it. They don't give you an install disk anymore, it's a recovery partition, and once you update to 8.1 it breaks.

So what do you do if your hard drive fails? Because that's where the damn recovery partition is! You can restore an image of your computer and hope that works, otherwise you've got to install Windows 8, then download 4GB to update to 8.1, and between all that probably another 2gb of updates. Doesn't sound like a solution to me where internet can be spotty, slow, and expensive.

So I'm debating Windows 7 or Linux, but then the issue is drivers, since Microsoft is strong arming the hardware folks to not make 7 work anymore to force this 8 crap on us.

So for any tech guys out cruising with newer hardware (I'm not going to use a PC with XP) what do you find works?
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Old 15-07-2014, 08:18   #2
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

I just got an MSI laptop with 8.1 loaded. My old PC was an Sony laptop using XP. I am just now beginning to upgrade all my programs and files to the new computer. Is there a simple way to do this using a USB to USB cable?
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Old 15-07-2014, 08:36   #3
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

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Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post

So for any tech guys out cruising with newer hardware (I'm not going to use a PC with XP) what do you find works?

I'm using W7 Pro on a Dell (that was semi high-end when I got it a couple years ago). Works OK.

FWIW, I have W7 Ult on a newer destop machine in the office, works slightly better. Oddly there are subtle differences between the two W7 versions.

Best choice might depend more on what applications you want/need to run.

And/or whether you can stand to do things the way Steve jobs dictates (and don't mind the extra cost), or whether you need flexibility.

If the latter, and if Linux supports your applications, could be fine. Of if you really need a Windows solution, I expect it's probably better to get a fix for a potential W8/hard drive failure scenario than it is to adopt an older system.

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Old 15-07-2014, 09:00   #4
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

I think I bought two Lenovo laptops last year and I was able to get Win 7 on the system. I have to use Win 8 at work and it stinks. I hear that a later release of Win 8.2 MIGHT make Win 8 more usable on a PC.

To back Windows, you need to run a backup and store the image on an external drive.

Later,
Dan
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Old 15-07-2014, 09:12   #5
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

We are using Windows on the netbook and Android on the tablet. None gives us any problems.

b.
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Old 15-07-2014, 09:42   #6
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

You do realize you can install windows 8.1 directly from a jump drive, right? And I've found that most of the time the upgrades work out fine. I think you just don't like win 8 and you're not interested in looking into the solutions and ways that it works best. For the common consumer, install media is going the way of the dinosaur and many users don't even have optical drives anymore. I'm fine with that.

Other solutions are to ghost your PC from time to time. Then you have an actual image of the HDD in case of failure.

Any modern OS is fine if you know how to handle it well. Pick the one you're best at. W8.1, W7, Android, Mac, Linux (many flavors).
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Old 15-07-2014, 10:33   #7
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

I have a dislike of Windows 8 as well and Microsoft still sells and fully supports Windows 7. You can buy a Windows 7 OEM disk for $100 and then do your updates. It's really easy.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - Operating Systems - Newegg.com
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Old 15-07-2014, 10:44   #8
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Re: Best Operating System for Cruising Computer

I think for a cruising computer linux is the best choice.
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Old 15-07-2014, 10:47   #9
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

there are high end affordable linux notebooks (check out system76.com) available.

also you can download and create an ubuntu bootable thumbdrive to test out the OS. if you like what you see you can install it on your computer. buy yourself a passport USB drive and backup whatever windows programs or data .. no need to ghost. also windows executables can be run in linux using a program named WINE.

i just switched from XP to linux MINT (KDE version) and found that it easily recognizes all my printers and devices .. no need to worry about device drivers. install firefox or chrome and you are good to go. lots of documentation is available online at linuxmint.com.
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Old 15-07-2014, 10:48   #10
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Re: Best Operating System for Cruising Computer

Many of us have increased reliance on computers these days. In the "old days" we had Mainsheet magazine to get us the technical tidbits so important to our safety. Now, we use the internet for information, and the computer for navigation. On another forum, a skipper was lamenting the fact that he'd lost his routes and waypoints, and couldn't determine if it was a navigation software issue or an operating system issue.

Spoiler alert: this is GEEK oriented.

We recently had a Windows crash on our W7 laptop.

I can't encourage you enough to read Andy Rathbone, who wrote many of the Windows for Dummies books. Google him, there are two or three very helpful white papers on this simple stuff that many folks simply avoid until it's too late!!!

Create/make/do all three of the following:

System repair dic
System recovery disc
System Image (don't work on discs, needs a portable HD)

The system image will copy all of your data files, too, in addition to all your programs and settings, but I back up my data separately and regularly anyway.

All this takes maybe an hour a week.

(W7 on a celeron Compaq Presario CQ62 - el cheapo)
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Old 15-07-2014, 10:52   #11
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Re: Best Operating System for Cruising Computer

WIN7 is more reliable than WIN8, so it's a better choice. Linux is good, but unless you know it well, hard to find people who can help you. I'd also recommend solid state storage instead of a hard drive- far more reliable and worth the extra money. We don't even use hard drives on notebooks at work anymore.
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Old 15-07-2014, 10:55   #12
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Re: Best Operating System for Cruising Computer

Go with OSX. The drivers are there and its UNIX at root. You can run windows emulation for apps through wine bottler or wineskin

WineBottler |*Run Windows-based Programs on a Mac
Wineskin: play your favorite Windows games on Mac OS X without needing Microsoft Windows | Wineskin, Play your favorite Windows games on Mac OS X without needing Microsoft Windows

or Full windows distro's through Parallels or VMWARE fusion

Virtualization and Automation Solutions for Desktops, Servers, Hosting, SaaS - Parallels
VMware Virtualization for Desktop & Server, Application, Public & Hybrid Clouds | United States

or dual boot into whatever.
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Old 15-07-2014, 11:26   #13
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Re: Best Operating System for Cruising Computer

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Go with OSX.
Doesn't this require specific (expensive) hardware to run reliably?
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Old 15-07-2014, 11:32   #14
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Re: Best Operating System for Cruising Computer

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Doesn't this require specific (expensive) hardware to run reliably?
Are you implying hardware costs and OS's are related? Any cheap hardware will fail an OS no matter what the OS is.

If you want cheaper Apple HW, get factory rebuilt and older models. There are a number of sources for that, and you don't need all the bells.
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Old 15-07-2014, 11:43   #15
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Re: Best operating system for cruising computer

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Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
also windows executables can be run in linux using a program named WINE.
Alas, WINE is not the end-all-be-all. Lots of programs don't run under it.
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