Help Me Choose: Operating systems

The operating system (OS) is the most important software on your PC because your PC must have an OS to run other programs. The OS allows you to give your computer commands through the graphical interface, like where to save your personal files, without you speaking the computer’s language. It recognizes input from the keyboard, sends output to the monitor, organizes files and directories on the hard disk, and controls devices like webcams and printers. In addition, it manages how your computer accesses available networks.

To choose the right OS, consider how you plan to use your PC and whether it is touch-enabled.

If you’re buying a touch-enabled PC, want to use cloud services and Windows apps in addition to the features of Windows 7, and want a faster loading time, choose a Windows 8 edition.

If you browse the internet, work on Word documents, make presentations, use social media, and you’re not buying a touch-enabled PC, choose a Windows 7 edition.

If you mostly use web-based applications, are not dependent on OS-specific programs, want low cost of ownership, you’re comfortable with open-source software, choose Ubuntu if it’s available.

To learn more about the features and editions of Windows 8, Windows 7 and Ubuntu, use the tabs below.

Choose ...If you ... Features*
Windows 8 Plan to use a touch-enabled device
  • Windows UI designed for touch input
Want to take advantage of the wide range of new Windows apps designed for Windows 8
  • Windows Store (wireless connectivity is required to access the Store)
Want real-time updates to the information you care about
  • Live Tiles
Want assurance that you always have the latest version of your Windows app
  • Windows Store always has the latest software available (wireless connectivity is required to access the Store)
Want secure bootup
  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) BIOS that intercepts and notifies you of threats early in the boot process
Want to use cloud services to the fullestWindows Store — purchased apps are available on multiple devices.
Windows Store — pick up where you left off in a game or app; from anywhere you can access your app (wireless connectivity is required to access the Store).
SkyDrive — Windows 8 apps are more easily integrated with SkyDrive. (internet connection required)

New Windows 8.1 Features

Want more personalization options

Set the lock screen to your favorite photo, or turn the lock screen display into a slide show of your pictures. Pin tiles to your Start screen for the people, sites, and apps that matter to you, and arrange them the way you want
Would like Improved Apps

Apps that you love have been redesigned with better features :

  • Photos app allows user to open pictures from other apps – Mail, SkyDrive, Camera
  • Camera App allows you to record video and take a picture at the same time. Also there is new Panorama functionality
  • xBox Music and Video app has been completely redesigned to simplify user experience
  • Mail app has a new print function in the app bar, gives notifications while in other apps

 

Like to Skype

Nothing beats Skype when you want to catch up with your best friend, see your kids when you’re on the road, or reconnect with far-away family.

 Touch, keyboard and mouse: seamless integration

Windows 8 is hands-on and designed to eliminate the need to choose. You don’t have to “work” on your PC and “play” on your tablet. The most efficient way to get stuff done is immediately available. Whether you’re browsing apps, reading a book, typing on the go with touch, creating a project that requires the more productive horsepower of a traditional mouse and keyboard, or doing everything at once, Windows 8 makes it easy. You use whatever works best, whenever it works best. No trade-offs.

On new touch-enabled PCs, the things you can do with a mouse and keyboard are just as easy to do with touch. You can switch between apps, organize your start screen, and pan and zoom. With the touch keyboard, you can navigate, type and interact on the go. Because you work in different ways depending on which app you’re using, Windows 8 makes it easy
to use whichever method works best.

The touch keyboard has two modes designed to suit the way you work. You get a full-sized keyboard with large buttons or a handy thumb keyboard that splits the keys on either side of the screen, making it easy and more comfortable to use on the go. Typing feels natural whether you’re sitting down or walking around.

Thumb Keyboard
The innovative thumb keyboard makes typing on portable devices easier

Touch Keyboard
Type naturally with the touch keyboard

The Windows 8 keyboard speaks your language. On new, touch-enabled PCs, the keyboardlayout automatically adjusts to the language you choose for Windows, so your language settings apply to the whole PC rather than just certain apps. Whether you want to typeand click, swipe and tap, or do a combination of both, you can navigate and work easily and efficiently in the language of your choice with Windows 8.
 The new language of touch
On new, touch-enabled PCs, you can move things on your screen comfortably.
Here are a few common Windows 8 gestures.

Swipe from the right edge for system commands
Swiping from the right side of the screen reveals the charms with system commands. Swiping from the left brings up previously used apps.

Mouse equivalent:
Place the mouse pointer in the lower or upper right corner of the screen and move your mouse up the right edge.

Swipe Right

Swipe from the bottom or top edge for app commands
App commands are revealed by swiping from the bottom or top edge. You can swipe from the top to the bottom of the screen to dock or close the current app.

Mouse equivalent:
Right-click
the app to see the apps commands.

Swipe from bottom
Swipe in from the left to switch apps
Swiping in from the left reveals thumbnails of your open apps so you can switch to them quickly.

Mouse equivalent:
Place the mouse pointer in the upper-left and click to cycle through apps or lower-left corner of the screen to see the start screen.
Swipe Left

Drag an app to close it
You don’t have to close apps. They won’t slow down your PC and they’ll close on their own if you don’t use them for a while. If you want to close an app, drag the app to the bottom of the screen.

Mouse equivalent: Click the top of the app and drag it to the bottom of the screen.
Drap App

Swipe in and out on the left brings up previously used apps
Swiping in and back out on the left brings up the most recently used apps and you can select an app from that list.

Mouse equivalent: Place the mouse in the upper left and slide down the left side of the screen to see the most recently used apps.
Swipein&Out

Press and hold to learn
You can see details when you press and hold. In some cases, pressing and holding opens a menu with more options.

Mouse equivalent: Point to an item to see more options.


Press and Hold
Slide to drag
This is mostly used to pan or scroll through lists and pages, but you can use it for other interactions too, such as moving an object or for drawing and writing.

Mouse equivalent: Click, hold and drag to pan or scroll. Also, when you use a mouse and keyboard, a scroll bar appears at the bottom of the screen so you can scroll horizontally.
Slide to dragPinch or stretch to zoom
Zooming provides a way to jump to the beginning, end or a specific location within a list. You can start zooming by pinching or stretching two fingers on the screen.

Mouse and keyboard equivalent: Hold down the control key on the keyboard while using the mouse wheel to expand or shrink an item or tiles on the screen.
Pinch

Tap to perform an action
Tapping something causes an action, such as launching an app or following a link.

Mouse equivalent:
Click an item to perform an action.

TapRotate to turn
Rotating two or more fingers turns an object. You can turn the whole screen 90 degrees when you rotate your device.

Mouse equivalent: Support for rotating an object depends on whether the specific app supports it.
Rotate

If you want to ...Choose ...
Use your PC for web surfing.Windows 7 Home Basic
Use your PC primarily for entertainment, in addition to web surfing,
gaming and productivity. (Enjoy and share your favorite TV shows, photos,
videos and music.)
Windows 7 Home Premium
Use your PC both at home and at work. (Enjoy all the multimedia and
entertainment features of Windows 7 Home Premium, plus business
relevant features, such as Location Aware Printing and Windows Mobility
Center Presentation Mode.)
— Need Windows 7 Professional today but may want to use Windows 8 Pro in the future
— Want to enable your Downgrade Rights* as defined in the Windows 8 EULA*. What is it: This offering* is a License of Windows 8 Pro, with the installation of Windows 7 Professional. This does not have a license of Windows 7 Professional.
Windows 7 Professional
Have it all — the multimedia benefits of Windows 7 Home Premium,
plus the business features of Windows 7 Professional. (Get added
security features and the flexibility to work in multiple languages.)
Windows 7 Ultimate

Note: The system you are configuring may or may not include all of the options listed here.

Footnote:

  1. Some product features may require advanced or additional hardware.
  2. Downgrade Rights enable a customer who purchases a Windows 8 Pro license to utilize a different operating system in the place of the licensed OS. Specifically at Dell, we are enabling Windows 7 Professional in the place of Windows 8 Pro. The PC licensed for Windows 8 Pro may only have 1 Operating System installed at a time, so the customer may utilize a Windows 8 Pro Operating System or Windows 7 Professional. With this offering we are installing Windows 7 Professional in place of Windows 8, but providing the license to Windows 8 Pro in the BIOS so that when the customer chooses to upgrade to Windows 8, the customer will have a licensed and activated Operating System installed on the PC.
  3. The EULA is the End User License Agreement. This is an agreement between the PC Owner and Windows that enables the PC Owner’s right to use either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Pro. For reference this document can be accessed from the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/IntellectualProperty/UseTerms/Default.aspx (Instructions: Choose Pre-Installed on your computer from the computer manufacturer, Product Name: Windows, Version: 8 Pro, Language: your choice)
  4. To enable downgrade to Windows 7 on this system the BIOS settings on this system were changed to boot into legacy BIOS mode. If the BIOS setting is not changed to native UEFI mode boot prior to installing, Windows 8 Pro [update] Product or Windows 8 Pro will install; however, the following Windows 8 Pro [update] Product, Windows 8 Pro functionalities will not work as they rely on a native UEFI mode boot:
    • Secure Boot
    • Seamless Boot experience
    • Network unlock for Bitlocker for systems with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
    • eDrive support

 

Ubuntu is an open-source linux-distribution operating system created by a global community of IT professionals and enthusiasts. Dell offers the Ubuntu OS on select products as an alternative to commercial operating systems.

Features

  • Ubuntu is modern, stylish and easy to use. Its user-friendly design makes learning new applications a snap.
  • Ubuntu can have a low total cost of ownership over the life of your computer. There are no licensing fees for Ubuntu or for the thousands of free applications available through the Ubuntu Software Center.
  • An office productivity suite, LibreOffice, also comes bundled with Ubuntu.
  • Ubuntu is safe and secure. With a trusted application software repository, data encryption and built-in protection from malware and viruses, you can be protected.
  • If you are a corporate customer, Dell offers ProSupport for Ubuntu to help with any OS questions or issues you may have.


Which should you choose?

You might prefer Ubuntu if:

  • The applications you use are mostly web-based, for example, using a browser. Web-based applications run well with Ubuntu.
  • You are not already dependent upon applications based on other operating systems.
  • You are comfortable with open-source software.
  • You want to customize your operating system.