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Operating Systems Windows

Ask Slashdot: Buying a Laptop That Doesn't Have Windows 8 570

Posted by timothy
from the craigslist-if-available dept.
First time accepted submitter Sagan's Pie writes "I'm starting to look for a laptop for college, and the only thing I seem to find are laptops or tablets that have Windows 8. I have used Windows 7 for a long time now, and would not have a problem giving it up, but not for Windows 8. After visiting many major online retail sites, I've found that finding either a Windows 7 laptop, or even a laptop without an operating system is nearly impossible. So where should I go if looking for laptops sans os, or at the very least sans Windows 8?"
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Ask Slashdot: Buying a Laptop That Doesn't Have Windows 8

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  • Try NewEgg (Score:5, Informative)

    by GeckoFood (585211) * <geckofoodNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:03PM (#42825383) Journal

    NewEgg still sells Windows 7 laptops. Go into the laptops/notebooks section and enter Windows 7 as a keyword. Some of the units that come back are refurbs, but some are brand new.

  • system76 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:05PM (#42825411)

    https://www.system76.com/

  • MacBook or Dell (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:06PM (#42825415)

    Get a Macbook and then put Windows 7 on it.

    Dell also has a Windows 7 [dell.com] page.

    I'm sure any business-friendly vendor will have the same if you poke around.

  • Dell.com (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:06PM (#42825429)

    You can go to Dell.com and they have the option to build your own laptop with the OS you want.

  • by oic0 (1864384) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:08PM (#42825455)
    Install a third party start button program that also takes you straight to desktop. At that point you basically have windows 7, just dont hold your mouse cursor in a corner or that not so lucky charms BS appears. Wish there was a way to turn that off.
  • Another alternative. (Score:4, Informative)

    by murph (16036) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:09PM (#42825485) Homepage

    http://zareason.com/ [zareason.com]

  • by metrometro (1092237) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:10PM (#42825517)

    The big PC maker's online storefronts have a consumer and business section. Your milage may vary but the business section of say, Dell or Lenovo, tilts towards good build quality, OS flexibility, and less crapware. Finding a Win7 machine is no problem at all.

    http://shop.lenovo.com/us/laptops/thinkpad/x-series/x230 [lenovo.com]

  • Clevo / Sager (Score:5, Informative)

    by oic0 (1864384) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:10PM (#42825519)
    Clevo based laptops typically come configured however you want and lacking whatever you don't want. No OS? no problem. You can also get em without hard drive, memory, chip, video card, whatever. They can be bought bare bones or with as much as you want in em. Also, the screen selection on them is usually much better. You can opt for much higher resolution than youll get in a dell etc...
  • System76 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kryai (976997) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:12PM (#42825561)
    I just purchased a laptop from https://www.system76.com/ [system76.com] their laptops come only with Ubuntu, had excellent customization options, and reasonable pricing (why is it so hard to customize laptops nowadays, when did this happen =\ ) My colleague recommended them and I get my laptop Monday so I don't have first hand experience yet, but I just had to make this decision and that's what I ended with selecting.
  • Re:system76 (Score:5, Informative)

    by cab15625 (710956) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:13PM (#42825585)
    Just to clarify for the AC, system 76 sells/ships laptops, desktops, and servers with Ubuntu. If you are a linux user or feel like you might be ready to take the plunge, this is a good place to start. At least their systems are fully linux compatible. Even if you don't like ubuntu and have some other pet distribution, it has a better chance of working on one of these than if you get a windows laptop and flush the hard drive to install linux. Bonus: no windows tax, and no money to MS (except for possible hidden patent trolling on hardware or firmware).
  • by Nichotin (794369) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:13PM (#42825587)
    Do you have access to DreamSpark via your school? I study IT in Norway, and with my Microsoft DreamSpark login I can get a good bunch of their operating systems for free. If you do, then get a Windows 8 laptop (just make sure Windows 7 compatible drivers are available), then install Windows 7 from DreamSpark.

    Another option is to install Start8 from Stardock or similar, if it is the new interface stuff you don't like. I found Windows 8 quite likable with a proper start menu.
  • Re:Try NewEgg (Score:4, Informative)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:21PM (#42825723) Homepage Journal
    Have you tried the Apple store?

    No windows 8 there.

    :)

    However, on a more serious note...you could get a nice macbook pro....and install VMWare on it...and get a OEM copy of Win 7 (I still seem them on newegg for a decent price)...and run it in a VM.

    This combo allows you to have the best of all worlds on one computer...OSX, Windows (your fav. flavor) and Linux...etc.

    That's actually the route I went.

  • Re:Try NewEgg (Score:5, Informative)

    by gQuigs (913879) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:22PM (#42825741) Homepage

    From what I understand that will depend on the UEFI implentation of the Windows 8 machine. That may no longer work depending on the manufacturer.

    If you can't disable secure boot you won't be able to even install Windows 7, much less my preferred Ubuntu.

  • Re:system76 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:23PM (#42825763)

    http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/laptop-computers/
    Good deal, you can choose Windows 7, or "No operating system required" to spare 79 pounds. I have one for six months, serves me well with Debian Wheezy on board.

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:30PM (#42825875)
    At the risk of not actually answering the question you asked, why not use Windows 8? One click and you are on the desktop, and the experience is roughly the same as windows 7. If that one click is too much effort, install Classic Shell, and get almost exactly the same experience as windows 7. It works for me (YMMV).
  • Re:Downgrade Rights (Score:5, Informative)

    by omnichad (1198475) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:31PM (#42825895) Homepage

    That has nothing to do with using downgrade rights. You have to get downgrade media from the OEM, however.

    http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/downgrade_rights.aspx [microsoft.com]

  • Re:Try NewEgg (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:31PM (#42825905) Journal

    Buy a computer that has the specs you want. Then wipe the hard drive and install Debian. Return the Windows 8 license for a refund. Problem solved.

  • by hurfy (735314) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:32PM (#42825929)

    Get out of the stores with 3 choices, perhaps?

    here
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-14-G4-2149se-Butterfly-Blossom-Design-Laptop-PC-with-AMD-A6-4400M-Processor-and-Windows-7-Home-Premium-with-Windows-8-Upgrade-Option-bundled-with/21191020 [walmart.com]

    Newegg had 144 hits (lots of refurb, but better than craigslist suggested below!) on win 7 home premium alone.
    Dell, Tigerdirect, even Walmart all had them.

    I think this was meant to be posted next year...... ...and all those refurbs will still be there, even if new isn't....

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:39PM (#42826049)

    I've been using windows 8 for a while (got it for free) and I'd have to say it is far from a "hunk of crap". Yes, metro sucks, but you don't have to use it, which is what GP suggests.

    Some things I like about 8 are this: reduced memory/disk footprint, easier access to commonly used functions (mouse to the far bottom left, right click; works with start8 too, though some start menu replacements disable this useful feature) more efficient copy dialog that even shows instantaneous rather than average transfer rates (pretty nice feature to have, yet shockingly windows 8 is the only OS that does it) better explorer functions like e.g. "admin console here", and built in support for mounting iso's. With windows 7 you have to add these in on your own, with windows 8 they are already there.

    If you want to show your distaste with metro, enable the customer experience reporting setting and just don't use it. They actually do make design decisions based on that.

  • Re:Is it normal ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fishchip (1203964) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:59PM (#42826335)
    Don't go ruining another great Slashdot Win8-bashing thread so early. That's the only reason I can think of for the existence of this thread because it was over with the guy who said 'Wipe it and install Win7'. Really, is that so much of an ordeal over finding a new lappy retail without Win8?
  • Re:Thinkpad (Score:4, Informative)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:11PM (#42826489) Homepage Journal
    I'm not the OP here but I am a thinkpad guy so I thought I'd offer my $.02. I recently upgraded from a very much battle-worn R32 to a new T510. The former was a value series but indisputably an IBM thinkpad. The latter is a Lenovo from the regular line-up. I've owned both since new, the latter of which I ordered custom-built.

    What's your opinion of the new keyboards

    I think the new keyboard is still great, easily better than any other on the market for a laptop. Response is great, a nice tactile feel. Keys are 95% size IIRC and no problem to type on. I type quite a bit - just finished my PhD thesis - so I probably know my keyboards better than most. I do have a couple IBM M series full-size keyboards (with trackpoint, of course) that I use for heavy-duty typing but there are times when a silent keyboard is called for and the T510 is great for that time.

    My only complaint on the keyboard is that the finish leaves something to be desired. I have naturally oily skin which seems to eat the finish off fairly quick. My left mouse button, for example, looks quite a bit older than it actually is. I do keep a silicone skin on my keyboard most of the time, FWIW.

    If so, any opinions as to changes in quality, keyboard or otherwise?

    All in all, I would say my T510 is still a great unit. Hardware wise my only gripe is that this particular model (or any T510) doesn't have the ultrabay, and hence is limited to the system battery (though I do have the 9 cell). I can also tell you I have dropped my thinkpad from table height - while running - more than once already and that has caused absolutely no noticeable damage whatsoever to any part of the system.

  • Re:Is it normal ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by myowntrueself (607117) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:16PM (#42826545)

    http://www.classicshell.net/ [classicshell.net]

    Windows 8 is fine, its pretty fast, and with one simple third party UI extension is actually usable.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:30PM (#42826747)

    Everything in Windows 8 looks like they are just single-color HTML <div>'s with some margins splattered around.

    Compare also the boot logo of Win7 [blogspot.com] to the amateurish logo of Win8 [neowin.net].

  • I agree (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:42PM (#42826877)

    What with doing Windows support for a living I use the new and old Windows versions all the time. I run 8 at work, 7 at home. 8 is fine, once you get a start menu back. Start 8 is my favourite, costs $5. Start is Back costs $3 and actually restores the Windows start menu, the code is still in Win 8, at least most of it. Classic Shell is of course free and works fine, I just don't care for it as much.

    One that is there, it works real well. It is fast and stable, and it has some improvements I like, the new task manager is quite nice.

    It isn't worth rushing out to upgrade, it isn't OMGbettar than 7, if you have 7 stick with it. However it isn't problematic. It runs every program I've tried on it that also ran on 7 (and I've tried a lot) and it isn't problematic to use.

    For that matter even the new start menu is perfectly usable, it is just more clunky than what it replaced. It isn't hard to use, just slower and inelegant. Perfectly usable though, we leave it on the 2012 servers we have.

  • Re:Try NewEgg (Score:5, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:11PM (#42827191) Journal

    All Win8 machines that have the "designed for Win8" sticker are required to have the ability to disable UEFI Secure Boot.

  • by UltraZelda64 (2309504) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:22PM (#42827291)

    Why does everyone seem to forget that god damn "Charms" bar and those fucking Metro-style system notifications when they try to claim the Windows 8 desktop is no different than the one in Windows 7? Or the lack of start menu which requires third-party programs to bring back, unless you want to deal with that shitty start screen designed as the basis for Metro and an interface for touchscreens? Or the fact that they literally gutted core Windows system dialogs and replaced them with Metro versions? Windows 8 is far from being "not much different" than Windows 7.

  • Re:Try NewEgg (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:47PM (#42827915)

    If the device you buy has Windows 8 Professional, you automatically have downgrade rights to Windows 7 Professional. It's been in place on the Professional Windows versions since Windows XP. Get Windows 7 install media, call Microsoft and they provide a license.

  • Re:Is it normal ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @09:47PM (#42828341)

    Well, wipe and reinstall win7 is not cheap. Windows 7 is not given away, and if you don't have an old non-OEM version hanging around it will cost you.

    Really the reason so many people have Windows is because it comes free or close to free with computers. If people ever had to pay full non-OEM prices then it would die quickly.

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