I’m not sure how many people feel the way I do, but I have had this desire to upgrade to a new operating system for some time. The fear that I have in doing this, after spending money on something that I don’t really need, is that the hardware that I have spent good money on over the years and which works well, and with which I am familiar, will now be unsupported by the operating system. I have run into this problem several times and it makes me very reluctant to make changes.
Now, one might say that the hardware is old and needs to be changed but I am not talking about the computer itself (which is capable of running even the latest offering from Microsoft). I am talking about peripherals such as two scanners, two printers, a blood monitor, a voice recorder, at least two digital cameras and a couple of GPS units. In order to replace these perfectly functional devices with equivalent (compatible) hardware, I would be spending more than 10x the cost of the operating system upgrade.
At present, in order to continue supporting these devices, I have three computers, two of which I have been given by people that were upgrading. As it stands, my main system is running Vista 64 Ultimate (since 2008) and I have no complaints with this, apart from the fact that it does not support all of my peripherals. Therefore, I have a secondary system running XP Professional, which supports most of the rest of the hardware and even allows me to run older games which I enjoy playing from time-to-time. A third system running Ubuntu fills in any gaps that have been left by the other two systems.
I tested the preview version of Windows 8 for a few weeks and do like the speed and the underlying system but not the interface for a desktop. Alternatively, I would very much like to move to Windows 7 but am concerned that I would be dealing with even more compatibility problems.
I think that if I want to reduce the number of computers that I maintain, I will be spending significant cash to change many of the peripherals as well. Unfortunately, older computers and peripherals have almost no market value these days and would not help with the cost of upgrading. There has to be a better way – but – until something breaks (hopefully not), I guess I will be sticking with Ubuntu, XP and Vista for the foreseeable future.