Walt Mossberg

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Waiting for Windows 8


I am in need of a new computer. I currently run Windows XP. When is Windows 8 due and should I wait for it? Should I just buy a new computer now with Windows 7 and upgrade to 8 when it arrives?


Windows 8 will likely be released in test, or beta, form, early in the year, and then in final form by the 2012 holiday shopping season. Whether you should wait depends on how badly you need a new PC. One thing to bear in mind if you do buy now is that while Windows 8 will work fine with a keyboard and mouse, its slick new user interface is designed for a touch screen.


What is the difference between the AMD and the Intel microprocessor chips?


They are different designs from different companies, though Intel is the dominant brand by far. In broad strokes, Advanced Micro Devices’ chips have often claimed better graphics performance and have generally been less expensive. But most computer makers choose Intel, which has lately focused intensely on better battery life without compromising performance.

For average consumers, the most important factor is that Windows runs fine on both, and a typical user doing typical, low-stress tasks might find it hard to distinguish between roughly comparable chips made by the two companies. So, if you are on a budget and an AMD-based machine you like costs less, you are safe to go with it.


I read your article about using Boot Camp to run Windows on a Mac and it was extremely informative. But I did not understand how to create the drivers needed to make Windows recognize the particular features of the Mac hardware.


Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant program, which is used to set up the Windows installation on a Mac, includes a step in which you download and store the drivers on either a CD or DVD, or an external USB drive. This is software Windows needs to properly operate the Mac’s keyboard, mouse, trackpad and camera.

If you just follow the steps in the Assistant software, you should be able to download and install these drivers, which Apple calls Windows Support Software. It’s a good idea to print the Boot Camp installation guide before you start, an option that appears on the first screen of the Assistant program.

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com.

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