Windows 8/8.1 has had a difficult time capturing the hearts and minds of PC users as a result of its steep learning curve and major UI overhaul. Unfortunately, PC users can no longer purchase new Windows 7 installs or downloads, but that doesn't mean Windows 7 is gone for good. Shoppers in search of Windows 7 can still buy an up-to-date notebook that comes preloaded with the OS, but only if they know where to look. These are the best Windows 7 laptops you can buy today.
HP ZBook 15
The HP ZBook 15 is expensive, but it's built to handle the most demanding computing tasks. That explains the workstation's Intel 2.7-GHz Core i7 Haswell processor with Nvidia Quadro graphics, 16GB of RAM and Thunderbolt port for extra-speedy data transfers. It also justifies this 6.2-pound workhorse's arsenal of special features for the mobile professional set, such as support for up to three separate hard drives, a back-lit keyboard, 1080p anti-glare display and nearly 8 hours of battery life.
More: HP ZBook 15: Full Review
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
One of the best laptops for the conference room, the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s also comes configurable with Microsoft's previous-gen operating system. In addition to Windows 7, jet-setting professionals get a notebook with a best-in-class keyboard, three USB 3.0 ports and a high-capacity battery that lasted more than 14 hours during our testing.
Lenovo ThinkPad X240
The 12.5-inch ThinkPad X240 takes portable productivity to the next level with a powerful Intel 4th Generation Core Series processor, a tough carbon-fiber design and an optional full-HD touch screen. Better still, with its extended battery, this Ultrabook lasts longer on a charge than any other laptop on the market (20 hours and 28 minutes), making it ideal for on-the-go users.
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E431
Many businesses are hesitant to make the jump to Windows 8, which means that business-notebook makers like Lenovo are continuing to produce Windows 7-powered laptops. The relatively inexpensive 14-inch ThinkPad Edge E431 offers a wonderful typing experience, an accurate pointing stick and a convenient docking station. And while the display's viewing angles could be better, we were pleased with its ability to produce vibrant colors.
Alienware has chosen to offer a Windows 7 option for its latest generation of gaming laptops. The Alienware 17, which slots in between the Alienware 14 and Alienware 18, is an outrageously powerful gaming rig with a gorgeous display and thunderous sound. An Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M processor help this Windows 7 rig really flex its gaming muscles.
Dell Latitude E6430
Dell's Latitude E6430 is an attractive, Windows 7-powered notebook that offers an incredible 10 hours and 37 minutes of battery life thanks to its nine-cell battery pack. Its responsive keyboard and wicked-fast solid-state drive make the E6430 a business notebook you can be proud to call your own.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 1
When we first reviewed the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, we said it "sets a new standard for business ultraportables." That statement still rings true today. Sporting an impossibly thin design, the 3-pound Z1 Carbon manages to pack a comfortable keyboard, beautiful display and strong battery life into a 0.74-inch thick chassis. If you're looking for an incredibly portable Windows 7 notebook, look no further than the X1 Carbon.
HP Pavilion 15t
HP is bringing back Windows 7 "by popular demand," offering the older operating system on many of its PCs. If you want to pack a stylish punch with your laptop, check out the striking HP Pavilion 15t. Starting at $749, this 15.6-inch notebook packs a 4th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 750GB of ROM. It also comes with an optical DVD drive, HDMI and Ethernet ports.
Toshiba Tecra R940
A refresh of the Tecra R840, the R940 is a 14-inch notebook with a 1366 x 768p display that packs a 2.0-megapixel webcam. The 4.19-pound notebook carries 3rd-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, ATI Thames Pro 64-Bit graphics with 1GB of VRAM, and an army of connectivity ports. It even sports a fingerprint and SmartCard reader. Fans of pointing sticks will appreciate the Accupoint nub in the middle of the R940’s matte keyboard.
More: Best Laptops 2014