I\u2019m not a Microsoft hater by any means, but I really do hate Windows 8. We\u2019ve spent years working in the flawed but familiar world of the Start menu, but Windows 8 (and 8.1) pretty much toss that out. The downfall of Windows 8 is Microsoft\u2019s attempt to have on a computer an operating system that's quite similar to one engineered for smartphones and tablets. Simply put, it\u2019s a Frankenstein.\n\tYou can learn to use Windows 8, of course, but you\u2019ll find the learning curve pretty darn steep. So what makes sense if you need a new computer? Here are some suggestions.\n\tBuy a PC that comes equipped with Windows 7, a much more familiar operating system that works quite well. Although manufacturers push Windows 8 laptops (I\u2019m assuming you\u2019re not interested in a desktop), there are still plenty of Windows 7 machines for sale. Lenovo, for one, has a decent selection; HP does as well. Or simply check out the offerings in retailers such as Best Buy, where you\u2019ll find many Windows 7 PCs.\n\tMy advice is to buy one with Windows 7 Home Premium, but the Pro edition would be fine too, if a bit more expensive. I know some people will argue that buying a Windows 7 machine means you won\u2019t get a PC with the latest generation of Intel\u2019s chips known as Haswell. That\u2019s true, and it\u2019s too bad, because the Haswll (or 4th generation core) chips save power and are fast. But the 3rd generation core chips are just fine. I\u2019d recommend buying the i5 if you care about performance; if you want to save money, go with the i3. The i7 is expensive and really suited for gamers and people doing video editing and such. Opt for 8 GB of memory, if you can afford it; since it yields much more performance than a system equipped with just 4 GB.\n\tMake the shift to a Mac. Yes, that\u2019s a big leap for people like me who have used Windows for years, but people I know who have converted (yeah, like leaving a religion) have been very happy once they climbed the learning curve.\n\tDespite what you\u2019ve heard, the Mac OS isn\u2019t so intuitive that you\u2019ll just jump in without a care. You\u2019ll also spend more money and maybe need new peripherals, such as a printer. Even so, moving to the Mac platform can be well worth the trouble and expense, because once you\u2019re up and running, chances are you\u2019ll be happy with the experience.\n\tHold your nose. If you simply must have the latest and greatest PC, which means Windows 8.1, buy something with a touchscreen, because the new Windows isn't designed to work by mouse and keyboard alone. Beyond that, there are a number of good add-ons that make Windows 8.1 less obnoxious. In general, they add a start menu and keep you from falling into the Metro interface, which is the one with the really big tiles. Our colleagues at PCWorld have a good roundup of helpful Windows 8.1 add-ons. I\u2019d also buy a book. One recommendation is Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual, by David Pogue, who's very adept at explaining tech to non-techies.