One of the confusing choices when it comes to buying a new Windows computer is selecting which version of Microsoft Windows you want installed on your new system. In the Mac world, there is one version of Mac OS X to choose from. So that I don’t inflict too much brain damage here, I will let you know that on a typical online order form Dell, Lenovo, or Vision Computer (the three vendors I would be most likely to steer your toward) you are faced with the daunting task of choosing between Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate and then within each of those designations 32-bit or 64-bit. Wow, that means you will have 6 Windows options to choose from.
Computer operating systems (Windows, Mac OS) are moving toward the 64-bit variety. Think of a four lane highway as a 32-bit operating system. However, the 64-bit option is a 8-lane superhighway. It allows many more paths of data to flow to and from all the internal components of your computer. Ordering your new Windows computer with the 64-bit version of Windows does not prevent you from running most 32-bit programs. However, its important that we use the free tool on Microsoft’s website to check if your other programs and devices (printers, etc.) will be compatible.
As of this time, all new Macs are sold with OS 10.7 which comes in the 64-bit flavor only. Unless you have a very specific reason to do otherwise, with your next Windows computer you should be selecting the 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate option. This will ensure that you ensure that you have all Windows features available to you. In terms of future troubleshooting situations and getting the most enjoyment of your Windows computers, going Ultimate puts you a step ahead of the crowd.
Some Windows computers sold in stores come with the Ultimate version installed, but please choose wisely. Having an expert custom configure the right Windows or Mac computer for you (or doing so online yourself) represents a much more sophisticated option than taking the risk of buying through a big box store.