Pros and cons.
.. Has much better default drivers,
.. generally easier to install
.. Has much better security, and less prone to BSODs.
.. If less than 2 Gigs ram, windows XP may be better choice
.. May not work with some older hardware such as scanners and printers.
.. Windows XP may be faster if on say a 5 year old low end CPU and less than 2 gigs of ram.
As stated above OEM is OK. But a OEM windows 7 is Tied to the Computer first installed on. You can not say upgrade MB and reuse your OEM version.
If You own a copy of XP, THAT is NOT inuse. You can buy the Upgrade win 7 version and do a clean install
DO a google search on "using win7 upgrade to do a clean install.
I was a die hard XP initially, but love win7 (vista was OK for me)
But if you want to stick with a finished OS then Win 7. The OEM version is the same software just no free support and you can only install it on the same machine so no changing the motherboard and cpu. But it's the same OS for a LOT less. On modern hardware, Win 7 is so much better than XP, I don't even want to get started.
Forget Vista, go for the win 7 OEM
Much better on line support, You may not get Telephone support, but you still have access to online support such as KBs
Ex. You goof up and use IDE and want to convert to AHCI. You can still go to Microscoft KB xxxx (Forgot Number) and click on the link "Let MS fix the problem.
MS support (ie updates) is better. I think MS would just prefer that vista would go away.
Only other negative (minor one) is that windows 7 does NOT include a email client.
1) They are tring to move more toward "cloud" computing, ie You can use microsoft Life.
This is even more pronounced with windows 8.
2) They stuck all the email program files in windows 7, But then DISABLED IT. I think the main reason is the legal problems, but also as stated in #1.
.. Alternatives are (A) Microsoft live, (B) 3rd party email programs and (3) what I did for wife's system, ported Vista win mail over to win 7 - Difficault but doable.
Two other distinct advanges of win 7 over both Vista, and XP.
(1) Better support for SSDs, Win 7 has trim cmd, vista/XP do Not.
(2) MS has added a Backup program (in control panel) to alow imaging the C drive, and restoring this image - EXCELLENT program. For Vista and XP need a 3rd party program for this.
Added, Win 9
1) this only delays paying for it
2) This is still Pre release so more than normal first release bugs, may have problems with some drivers.
3) Windows 7 was really a Vista overhaul with a new name, Windows 7. MS had to get rid of the name VISA as Busseniss community would NOT buy. Most Companies skipped Vista and went from XP -> Win 7. Windows 8 is a Major jump, and from what I've read so far is that this may be shuned by the bussiness workld just like ME and Vista.
4) Myself, I downloaded and installed windows 8. Played with it for two days. Removed from computer and trew the DISK in the trash. Only really great thing was increadable boot time, as to the rest of it, well If I wanted a tablet, windows 8 would be OK, O'Hel* I have a tablet and do not need a Hugh NON-PORTABLE tablet!!!
As said by others, depends a little bit on the hardware. Are any of your family in school or higher education? You may be able to purchase it as an academic licence at a substantial saving (full product to if I recall, no oem restrictions).
i have ubuntu 12.04 right now and i am disliking it due to software compatibility but my family is on a budget and windows 7 is a bit much but would xp be worth it? whats your guys opinions?
On another note, if you need assistance with Ubuntu you could post questions in the linux forum here on on ubuntu forums as well. Even though I have a windows 7 license, I dont even have it installed on my computer. Been using Linux happily since 2008.
I always use OEM, never ever a retail version.
The only difference between the 2 is the extra $200plus overprice and the cardboard box.
Get Win 7 64bit even if low in memory because then you will be able to upgrade your memory in the future.
Worried about some software or games compatibility?
After installing you OS go to Microsoft and download Windows Virtual PC, now you will be able to run anything that you did on XP and is FREE.
About OEM, I always do upgrades from time to time, and sometimes a little "too many"
according to Microsoft, but a simple CALL to Microsoft solves this problem if you run into it. I have sometimes even go as far as changing motherboard and ALL other major components, so if they ask you, just tell them the truth, you ARE upgrading.