Say "no" to O/S "edition" upgrades

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

Q: Should we upgrade our Windows 7 and Vista computers to Windows 8?

A: I don’t recommend updating older computers to newer operating systems because, in my opinion, you are better off buying a new computer. My reasoning is that the Windows operating systems installed on your older computers were most likely tweaked and tested by the manufacturers to make them run more reliably with each computer’s motherboard, RAM, video card, and other components. If you upgrade the computer using a newer, off-the-shelf edition of Windows, it won’t be customized for your computer’s hardware configuration. This issue, coupled with the lower costs of new computers, supports my belief that you are better off buying new computers preloaded with new operating systems specifically tweaked for those computers.

Side note: While I buy myself a new desktop computer about every other year, I don’t buy new monitors that frequently; instead I use them until they expire. The same goes for my 12-year-old HP LaserJet 4300dtn printer, which has produced more than 1.8 million pages and is still going strong.

J. Carlton Collins ( carlton@asaresearch.com ) is a technology consultant, CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2013, 2010, and 2007 versions, unless otherwise specified.

Submit a question
Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to jofatech@aicpa.org. We regret being unable to individually answer all submitted questions.

VIDEO

Excel walk-through: Sparklines

Want to liven up your spreadsheets with some color and graphical elements? Kelly L. Williams, CPA, Ph.D., shows how to use Excel sparklines, which illustrate data trends and patterns via small charts that fit in a single Excel cell.

PODCAST

What’s next for potential CPA licensure changes

A new model proposed by NASBA and the AICPA is designed with an eye on the future for newly licensed CPAs. The AICPA's Carl Mayes, CPA, provides background on the project and a look ahead to 2020.