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Windows 8 & 8.1.x

Avoiding Confusion:

Important considerations when ordering new computers with Windows 8.  There are reports of mass confusion and problems so I highly recommend you contact MSL IT before making such a purchase. For those wanting the option to downgrade to Windows 7 will depend entirely on what you purchase. Whether it is your personal computer you bring to work or a grant purchase, please consult with us before making your purchase.

Personal Windows 8 & 8.1.x  Workstations & Laptops:

For those wanting Windows 8 for your personal computer, I strongly recommend purchasing the Windows 8 Professional version. Windows 8 Professional entitles you downgrade rights to Windows 7 Professional in the event you dislike Windows 8. Unfortunately, most consumer-grade laptops ship with the regular "Windows 8" without entitlements to downgrade. Thankfully Microsoft provides an Anytime Upgrade option allowing you to upgrade to the Professional version.  Upgrading would then entitle you to downgrade to Windows 7 Professional.

Windows XP is no longer a supported option for all new systems going forward.

See: https://support.microsoft.com/help/17777

Personal Windows 8 & 8.1.x Tablets & Windows RT Tablets:

While both look similar, they run on fundamentally different hardware which limits software compatibility. Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 for systems with ARM processors, only supports applications included with the system (such as a special version of Office 2013). Only a short list of software will work on Windows RT, therefore; all your currently owned software will not work.

Getting the Start Menu Back

For those who have Windows 8 but prefer to have a functional Start Menu similar to Windows 7 you have two popular options:  Start Menu 8 by IOBit and Classic Shell.   Both are specially designed for Windows 8. It offers a perfect solution for users who work with Windows Start Menu all the time and are not accustomed to the new Metro start screen in Windows 8. These smart tools bring back both the start button and Windows Start Menu, and offers the option to skip Metro start page, allowing users who only work on desktop to boot to Windows 8 desktop directly.

http://www.iobit.com/en/iobitstartmenu8.php

http://www.classicshell.net/