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I bought an empty shell what do I fill it with

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Hi I am new here and I wanted to ask which is the best S/W. I bought a dell XP professional from my college and they wiped the entire thing and I am dealing with a completily blank slate I was looking at windows 7 as an operating system but it dosn't come out I guess till october. I have an old almost ful external harddrive and I am going to get wireless internet. I do photoshop but I have an old version and was wondering what was new out there. I am looking at getting microfost office and student the new one. I do alot of music, photos, and watch movies on my comp. It's been about 3 years since I was into all this stuff and I don't know what is the best stuff to get anymore. I don't game or WOW which frees up alot of my memory and server stuff. My techy friend is out of the country and can not be reached by Iphone :) so if you have any heplful info please hoo me up.
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Neil Jones

Neil Jones

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There are at the moment three "mainstream" choices and copious other solutions.

On the Windows side (which is effectively mainstream), you have as follows:

XP - been around years, stable, everything you buy works with it, universally loved. Runs on anything made in the last ten years, newer the better.
Vista - three years old, compatibility and odd stability issues, older stuff doesn't work with it, loathed by all but a hardcore. Runs on new hardware, needs to be a decent system in the first place.
7 - out in October, rock solid, should be better compatibility wise over Vista, those who have tried it love it. Much lighter and faster than Vista, any Vista machine should cope easily.

Then on the other side of the fence you have Linux, which comes in hundreds of different variations. On the plus side they work, they're more secure than Windows and a lot of them look similar to Windows. On the negative side, can be awkward to install, can be awkward to maintain and some of your favourite software probably won't work in it anyway.
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