Cool Tech Reviews

Just Cool Tech

July 16, 2008

Can you still you buy a new PC with Windows XP preinstalled?


Windows-XP Yes, you can still buy a new PC with Windows XP installed on it. Windows XP ceased to be available at retail on June 30, 2008 but there are a number of exceptions. The relevant exception for a consumer or a small business owner is that "OEMs can downgrade Vista Business or Vista Ultimate licenses to Windows XP Professional or Tablet PC versions for customers indefinitely," where OEMs are the large PC manufacturers.

However, there’s a difference between "can" and "will" or "will with no hassle" so Christopher Null at PC World tried to purchase a PC with XP from Dell, HP, Gateway, Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Asus and reports on the very mixed results. Hit the article for the full details on each, but the best bets for an machine with XP preinstalled are:

Consumer PC: Toshiba, Fujitsu, Lenovo

Business PC: HP, Fujitsu, Lenovo

If you are willing to pay extra or install XP from a CD, the choices are even more numerous. Also Asus has its line of Eee ultra low-cost PCs (ULPC) which come with XP under a different exemption in the rules.


Posted at 11:33 am. Filed under Acer, ASUS, Companies, Dell, Desktop PC, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Laptop, Lenovo, Notebook, Tablet PC, Toshiba, Windows XP

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May 18, 2008

Make your XP system look like Vista


Adam Pash at Lifehacker makes some interesting suggestions on how to Get Vista’s Best Features in XP. The sad part is that there is so little there beyond eye candy of dubious utility or applications for very specialized niches. In the latter category, I liked:

Take Quick and Easy Screenshots: PrtScrn has been around forever, but it’s never been the most user-friendly way to get a screenshot. In Vista, Microsoft threw in a screenshot utility called the Snipping Tool. Fact is, if better screenshots are important to you, there are gobs of excellent free screenshot apps available for XP like Screenshot Captor (original post), Clip2Net (original post), and Jing (original post), among many others.

Choose Clip2Net or Jing if you want to share your captures on the Web or Jing if you want to grab a screencast, but for my usual chore of taking screenshots and saving them on my PC, Screenshot Captor does the job and more. Screenshot Captor is for Windows only and is donationware.


Posted at 11:29 am. Filed under Operating Systems, Software, Utilities, Windows Vista

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April 28, 2008

Introducing Linux to new users: The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment


Linux is never going to make it as a consumer PC operating system until the average user can comfortably use it. The Content Consumer checks it out in the The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment:

I’ve toyed with Linux since 2002, when I first installed Mandrake. With the latest release of Ubuntu, I was interested to see how far Linux had come since then in terms of being used easily by the mainstream. So, I tricked my grudging girlfriend Erin into sitting down at a brand new Ubuntu 8.04 installation and performing some basic tasks. It’s surprising how many seemingly simple things become complicated and even out of reach for someone without a knowledge of Linux. There are a lot of little things that could be done to make the experience a lot more friendly for non-computer-literate people – some of them easy to implement, others not at all.

Click through to read the full test (it’s not tedious at all) and I think you will agree that 1) Erin is unusually savvy for a philosophy major, 2) things aren’t as bad as the introduction would lead you to believe.  Still, after reading it, I’m not sure Linux would do very well in a Great Ubuntu-Grandma Experiment.


Posted at 3:04 pm. Filed under Linux, Operating Systems

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