Help Me Choose: Operating Systems

The operating system is one of the most important programs on your computer.

— Every PC must have an operating system to run other programs.
— Operating systems perform basic tasks such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the monitor, keeping track of files and directories on the hard disk, and controlling devices such as optical drives and printers. 
— Operating systems also manage how your computer accesses available networks.
In addition to the core features of Windows 7, Windows 8 offers exciting new features such as the Windows Store and touch support.
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 boot-up
  • 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 FeaturesWant more personalization optionsSet 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 AppsApps 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 SkypeNothing 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.

What is Windows 7?
The Windows 7 OS is designed to be reliable and responsive, making it easy for you to do the things you want to do.

  • Simplify everyday tasks — With less clicking, fast searching, easy browsing and simple ways to connect, there’s less between you and what you want to do.
  • Work the way you want — Windows 7 is designed to improve the performance of your PC, so it’s fast, secure and reliable.
  • Make new things possible — With Windows 7, you’ll discover easy and exciting new ways to have fun and get things done with your PC.

Which edition is right for you?
Each edition of Windows 7 includes refinements — both large and small — to help simplify your PC experience.

  • Windows 7 Home Basic — Combines the latest in reliability and responsiveness with the familiarity and compatibility of Windows.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium — Get an incredible entertainment experience on your PC. Windows 7 Home Premium can make it easy to enjoy, and share your favorite TV shows, photos, videos and music.
  • Windows 7 Professional — Get everything you need for work and home. Windows 7 Professional offers the features you need for business along with the great media and entertainment features of Home Premium.
  • Windows 7 Ultimate — Designed for people who want it all. Windows 7 Ultimate delivers all the entertainment features of Home Premium and the business features of Professional — with added security and the flexibility to work in multiple languages.

With the different editions of Windows 7, you can move up and do more with your Dell PC. Here’s how to choose the one that’s right for you.

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

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.)

* 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.

** The EULA is the End User License Agreement. This is an agreement between the PC Owner and Microsoft 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: (Instructions: Choose Pre-Installed on your computer from the computer manufacturer, Product Name: Windows, Version: 8 Pro, Language: your choice)

*** 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
Windows RT is a new Windows-based operating system that's optimized for thin and light mobile devices and tablets that have extended battery life and are designed for life on the go. Windows RT only runs built-in apps or apps that you download from the Windows Store.

Windows RT includes some different features from Windows 8:
  • Windows Update and Windows Defender are always on and up to date to help make your mobile device or tablet more secure.
  • Enhanced data protection using BitLocker® technology to help keep your information more secure.
  • Your Windows RT PC or tablet can turn on instantly with connected standby (not all Windows 8 PCs have this capability)
  • Comes with Microsoft® Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview, providing you with touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel®, PowerPoint® and OneNote®.

Touch, keyboard and mouse: seamless integration

Windows 8 is hands-on 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 or 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 keyboard
layout 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 type
and 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 RightSwipe 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 LeftDrag 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.
Drag 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 pps 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&outPress 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
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.
SlidePinch 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. 

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.

Android is a leading mobile operating system developed by Google primarily for touch screen mobile devices like phones and tablets. Android devices are thin, light, highly mobile with outstanding battery life. Android has large selection of applications available through the Google Play Store.

What are the benefits? 

  • Designed and optimized for touch
  • Preloaded with a full suite of Google apps including Gmail, Maps, Google+ and YouTube
  • Sandboxed application to help prevent malware and viruses
  • Access to over 1 million+ apps, including entertainment, productivity and games
  • Access to the Android ecosystem of devices, peripherals and accessories