Every time you buy a new laptop you usually get an OS such as Windows 7 or Mac OS. After all, what good is any computer without an OS? However, consider the fact that the OS actually adds a cost to the system and you’re paying a “hidden” tax any time you buy a PC. Microsoft haters call this the “Windows tax”. If you’re intention is to run Linux (not recommended for the average user) or you already have a copy of Windows 7 you paid for earlier, then you’re essentially paying for something you don’t need. So is there any way to avoid this? Well if you’re buying a Lenovo ThinkPad, a reliable line of laptops I highly recommend, then they do have an area to purchase a ThinkPad without Windows but DOS installed instead and it can sometimes really help out on price.
Below is a screenshot from the Lenovo site where they have the DOS loaded ThinkPads listed. You can see that the ThinkPad T420 starts at $620 with an Intel Core i3 processor, whereas at the time of this writing the T420 starts at $799 with Windows 7 installed, a savings of $179. The ThinkPad X220 without Windows starts at $650, whereas the X220 with Windows it starts at $799, a savings of $149. The W520 is $1,185 without Windows while the W520 starts at $1,299 on Lenovo.com with Windows 7 right now, a savings of $114.
So buying a ThinkPad without Windows is another way to save money outside of using the Lenovo EPP or Lenovo student discount that’s available. One thing to note is that the Lenovo coupons sometimes available do not work on these Window-less models, so shop around and compare what deals are available before assuming that buying a ThinkPad with DOS is definitely the best deal.
Now, for those of you asking “what the heck is DOS and Linux?” this might not be a good option even if you do save money. DOS is an operating system, but it has no graphical user interface and you have to use command line prompts to get anything done. Not a great way to be productive! You will need to install some version of Linux, a free OS, or a copy of Windows XP/Vista/7 that you already have. This can be time consuming because you’ll then have to go and install all of the right software drivers from Lenovo.com for the computer to function properly. This is fairly straight forward for Windows, but with Linux some drivers are harder to find or require a little more work to get working properly. Bottom line, a Window-less system is not recommended for the average non-techy user, but if you’re an engineer or simply a PC enthusiast that really knows you’re way around computers and plan on using Linux then the task of getting a Window-less ThinkPad setup will not be any harder than other tasks you will have already done with computers.