Much as I would like to get away from the clutches of Microsoft, I *need* Windows because I've got lots of software which won't run on anything else.
My current - rather elderly - laptop is running Win XP Home Sp3 and lots of essential applications - many of which came free with various PC magazines, and would cost a fortune to replace or upgrade - so my 'new' laptop needs to be able to run all of these. I've also got a number of USB devices - printers, scanners, MIDI interfaces, etc. - which need to work with the new laptop.
Most new laptops seem to come with Windows 7 - and I'm hearing comments suggesting that elderly software applications (e.g. Quicken 98, Design CAD 3000, etc.) which work perfectly well under XP may refuse to work under 7. Is this likely? Is there a solution? Would I also need new drivers for all my USB-based devices?
Would I be any better off with Vista (which I've so far managed to avoid!) or would I face the same issues as with 7? [One or two half-way-decent-looking 'refurb' laptops are seemingly still available with Vista].
How easy is it to 'downgrade' a Vista or Win7 PC to XP - and would that solve my problems? [I have a valid XP-Home licence from a PC which I scrapped - and some original (may just be SP1) media - but not the latest version.]
Other Issues: How the heck do you backup and restore systems which no longer have floppy drives? In my current setup, I have Norton Ghost 2003 which needs to boot into DOS from a floppy - and can then clone a drive or partition to another internal or external (or network) drive. It doesn't provide the option of creating a bootable CD. Come to think of it, I'm not at all sure that it would recognise SATA disks! I get the impression that later versions of Ghost can backup the system disk while Windows is actually running. Is this correct? Also, they seem to come with a bootable 'recovery' CD from which to boot in order to restore a backup. Does this work ok? Is so, it looks like I'm going to have to invest in the latest version of Ghost!
Your comments - particularly regarding the best choice of OS for my particular circumstances - will be greatly appreciated.
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