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Should I jump from XP to Windows 8?

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(and why am I getting a 404 trying to reply to Deadly Ernest?)

Win 7 has Home Basic, Professional, and Ultimate. The major (maybe only) difference between Pro and Ultimate is BitLocker encryption baked in. Of course, that may matter. Then again, I got Ultimate, and have never used BitLocker (my laziness overpowers my paranoia.)

I've got Pro at work, and it's fine. Home Basic is a little too stripped-down for me. On that note, though, you'll likely need a PC from a business line to get Pro or Ultimate. Not a bad idea anyway, if you're going with one of the major OEMs - their home machines are crap, quite frankly.

Another option is to order the machine without Windows - whether it be FreeDOS (as Dell does now), Linux (not likely), or nothing. Then buy a retail (or cheaper system builder/OEM) license. Major bonus there is, no wasting an hour uninstalling all the crapware the machine will be loaded down with if you get Windows pre-installed. A clean install of Win7 on fresh hardware is a beautiful thing.

As to the upgrade - tread lightly. I took 8 for a test drive (granted, it was the Developers' Preview) and hated it. I like my task bar, I like my start button, I don't mind chrome on my browser, and I don't need the Ribbon on Explorer. However, it has been announced that there will apparently only be two versions of Win8 - Home and Pro. The upgrade from 8 Home to 8 Pro (needed if you want Media Center) will be $15 - a damn sight better than they've handled upgrades in the past, imo.

But, I highly recommend getting a Win7 machine - I resisted for over a year, as I'd spent a lot of time tweaking XP to be just the way I liked it. A year later, I hate working on XP machines. 7 is, to me, by far the best OS MS has ever released. They seem to alternate by version - 98 good, ME terrible, XP good, Vista terrible, 7 best ever...see where this is going?