I recommend Windows 8.1 Home (not 8.0) or higher, compatibility issues you hear about are usually with application software such as Microsoft's Office 2013 versus Office 2003 not the actual Windows Operating System. After April 8, 2014, Windows XP is no longer suppported by Microsoft and you should plan an upgrade accordingly. Some much older softwares (generally 10+ years) may not run on the most current operating systems so you will want to check out specific software compatibility with the software vendor.
We are operating on the Windows 7 platform in our ITS public computer labs environment and are planning to move to Windows 8.1 for Fall 2014. I believe getting the newest operating system with your new computer is generally a smart move. I make this analogy, “Why buy a new car with an old engine?”
We currently have Office 2010 in our public computer labs. Students/faculty/staff can purchase the Office 2013 product online via their MyUNIverse account under Computer Resources. For those users of earlier versions of Office (XP & 2003) install the Compatibility Pack, see
For your information, yearly we renew our bid specifications for computer lab windows desktop machines and several versions of laptops and expect the vendors to extend that pricing to UNI Students/Faculty/Staff/Emeritus. Pricing can be extremely good on the models we request though we only pursue business level computers. Purchase opportunites for both PC and Apple Macintoch systems are available. We announce bid results via MyUNIverse News and UNIOnline plus through freshman and parent orientation sessions and provide current information on our purchasing website at http://www.uni.edu/its/services/pc-purchasing-support  .
Tom Peterson, ITS Director of User Services
February 21, 2014