“I just bought a new computer.  Why doesn’t it have everything I need on it?”

Well, yeah.  That stinks.  Chances are the last time you bought a computer, it either came with Microsoft Office (Word and Excel) or you have simply forgotten that you did install things on it…..maybe several years ago.  Chances are, also, that even if you still have your installation CDs, that your old programs that you bought for a previous version of Windows will no longer work with the most current version of Windows.  (We’re talking about Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.  Don’t confuse Windows with Microsoft Office versions.  Office, Office 97, Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 365)

Confused yet?  That’s exactly why I’m writing this.

Let’s look at the economics of Microsoft software.  The most recent full version of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, Power Point, etc.) retails for around $400.00.  This is for ONE license….in other words, it can be installed it on ONE computer.  Windows itself has historically sold for about $150 per license.  Again — ONE computer.  So, let’s say you have just one computer, and have paid to upgrade it through the years, both Windows and Microsoft Office.  You would have gone through NINE windows upgrades at $150/each and an ADDITIONAL NINE upgrades of your office software at $400/each.  That’s a total of $4,950 just to update your one computer.

Fortunately, there are alternatives.  The one I use is called Ubuntu – while many people prefer a more Windows-looking version called Linux Mint.  Both versions are absolutely FREE and include an office suite similar to Microsoft’s Office suite that even opens Word, Excel, Power Point and Access files.  You can use it to make changes to those files, save them, and collaborate with others using whatever version of Microsoft Office they have.  The beauty of it is that you no longer care.  You get to just use a computer and not hassle with anti-virus software, Windows updates, and blue screens of death.  If you’d like to see more for yourself, check out these screenshots or these videos.

Not wanting to take the plunge and leave Microsoft just yet?  That’s okay, you can still at least have the advantage of the free Office suite by downloading OpenOffice from http://www.openoffice.org or LibreOffice from http://www.libreoffice.org/.