which windows?

Richard Holloway

We’re looking for a new laptop for our 5th grader to use with her current copy of JAWS. Her desktop PC running Vista seems to be too worn out to justify any further repair, and she needs to be more mobile anyhow. We do own the current release of JAWS, so that isn’t an issue.

My initial thought was to get the most current OS possible, but a friend raised questions about making the transition from Vista all the way to OS 8 or 8.1. He said 8 is a major change, though he suggested that 8.1 is much better than 8— something about Windows 8’s design being more tablet friendly but having PC issues, and Windows 8.1 resolving some of these issues, (in case we don’t stay with Windows 7). As we are used to Vista, I suspect there will be some adjustment needed for her anyhow. Also, Windows 7 machines seem to be evaporating here lately— fewer and fewer choices are still for sale.

I’m a typically sighted Macintosh user, so I don’t use PC’s very often. My perspective is also that of a sighted user so I’m more focused on visual changes that won’t effect my daughter, plus I don’t use Braille or a screen reader enough to have any real expertise, and I think like a Mac user.

I’m really quite good with Macs (I’ve been using them for 25+ years) but I fumble through using all kinds of Windows, so I’d really like to hear what JAWS users think about the ease of use between Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.

If you have a particular laptop setup to suggest, that’s fine to. My daughter has no light perception at all, so the monitor means very little to her. That’s just a convenience for her friends or family to share things with her or perhaps assist her as needed (and she doesn’t need much assistance, she’s a very bright young lady). Her concerns are more about quality sound, good network connectivity and reliable bluetooth, especially to connect her Focus 40 BT.

I suspect most lower-end laptops would be fine for her. She mostly needs a web browser and word processing. I just want the navigation through JAWS to be a good experience for her and I just don’t know if there is a reason to avoid Windows 8 / 8.1 or not.


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