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

Sagan's Pie (1944932) writes | about a year and a half ago

Operating Systems 8

Sagan's Pie (1944932) 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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8 comments

This is not even hard. (2)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42805023)

Go to Dell's website for small & medium business [dell.com] . Click laptop, then check the Windows 7 or Linux box. Pick one. They start at $300 or so. Ubuntu has a lot of options today - but I would be quick about it. I heard MS just invested heavily in Dell.

Or HP's website [hp.com] - be prepared to wait here. HP's retail website takes several minutes to load on my 50mbps broadband connection right now - amazing for a "technology" company. HP's laptops start considerably higher.

Or go any other vendors' website and buy the Linux or Windows 7 PC that suits you. Pick a brand. It's so easy one must assume you didn't try. Generally speaking the Windows 7 comes with a Windows 8 license and W7 is through downgrade rights but it is pre-installed and guaranteed compatible and supported. That way Microsoft still gets to report your purchase as a W8 sale and you can "upgrade" to W8 later if that suits you, and maybe reinstall the W7 if you recoil in horror from the wonderfulness that is TIFKAM (The Interface Formerly Known As Metro).

Microsoft sold a boatload of discounted OEM W8 pro licenses with W7 downgrade rights to get the W8 ball rolling and OEMs are preinstalling W7 on their PCs because they want to move product into a market that's somewhat reluctant to try this brave new world. They put these options in the "business" lines rather than consumer, but you don't have to be a business to buy them - and the business lines are generally better constructed and better supported anyway. If W7 or Linux is what you want now is a great time to buy a PC as the W7 compatibility that people demand generally includes Linux compatibility as well. W8 only laptops not so much as the UEFI (a new way of fast and secure booting) may not like Linux and brick your laptop when you boot Linux unless you know the high voodoo. Once you can't get a W7 laptop you'll have to patrol the Linux fan sites for safe product again like we used to back in the day when WinModems and Broadcom NICs and even CPU vendor chipsets were deliberately incompatible. For now though you should be OK.

Re:This is not even hard. (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year and a half ago | (#42805619)

Or go any other vendors' website and buy the Linux or Windows 7 PC that suits you

i prefer toshiba... care to tell me where i can buy a new toshiba notebook with linux preinstalled?

its the same story with asus (the other good brand). most if not all oem notebooks come with windows 7 or 8 and if you wipe it and put linux on you risk voiding the warranty.

saying that you can simply just go to any vendors website and buy a laptop with linux is like saying that you can get into a time machine and go visit the dinosaurs... easy to say but doesn't quite align with reality

Re:This is not even hard. (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42805707)

Dell and HP are two top laptop vendors historically in the US. There are many more who sell Linux laptops. Lenovo [lenovo.com] has no qualms with selling Linux, nor does Asus [pcworld.com] . There's four of the top five. I don't know what Toshiba's problem is. Maybe they have stock in Microsoft or vice versa.

saying that you can simply just go to any vendors website and buy a laptop with linux is like saying that you can get into a time machine and go visit the dinosaurs... easy to say but doesn't quite align with reality

Four of the top five laptop vendors sell Linux laptops, and there are many more in the second tier. How does that not align with reality? What do you want - That none of them offer Windows at all? That may come to pass, but it's early for that yet.

Re:This is not even hard. (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806563)

toshiba and asus are two of the top selling notebook manufacturers

dell and hp are shit. dell only does well selling laptops to business customers. hp is a has-been.

the lenovo page you linked to only talks about compatibility with linux (nowhere on the page does it say anything about actually buying a lenovo laptop with linux preinstalled) and the other regarding asus is just a pcworld news article

so i guess you can't tell me where i can buy a new toshiba notebook with linux preinstalled

Four of the top five laptop vendors sell Linux laptops

what are these vendors and where can i buy them with linux preinstalled?
i can install linux on pretty much any laptop, but the problem isn't whether you can install linux; it's that you can't buy one with linux preinstalled

Really not hard at all. (1)

Molochi (555357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42805335)

As symbolset said. Though I'd say to try Newegg. They're still defaulting their most powerfull laptops to Win 7 64.

Re:Really not hard at all. (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42805729)

I like Newegg too, and agree.

Think outside the retail box (1)

thechemic (1329333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42805709)

I usually just buy off of ebay. Here is a DELL M6500 Covet laptop: Quad core, 12GB ram, 17inch that includes Windows 7 professional. http://www.ebay.com/itm/121047137490 [ebay.com] At only $1199.99, that machine would spank the @#$% out of any high end machine you could buy off the shelf at best buy.

Downgrade Rights (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806901)

For a rather long time, the "Pro" version of Windows has included downgrade rights, allowing you to install and run an older version of Windows. The practical meaning of this now is buy a computer from the small or medium sized business section of the vendor, that comes with Windows 8 Pro, and look for the one with Windows 7 Pro preinstalled. (You're buying the Windows 8 Pro license, and using it to run the Windows 7 software. If you've got the Windows 7 Pro disks (possibly requiring the OEM variant), you can install it yourself. Definitely get recovery media - back up that recovery partition if nothing else. Downgrade rights are only part of the Pro license; you don't get to do this with the "Windows 8" license.)

Alternately, I hear that Apple doesn't ship with Windows 8.

(As novel as "buy a Linux laptop!" is, that's not the way I'm leaning - despite running Linux on all my laptops.)

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