Windows 8 and MSOP 2013+ - consultant's dilemma

I have been gainfully employed as an outsourced IT support person for mostly non-profit associations with 10-20 employees for many years. I am a Dell reseller and have been very happy with them. Enter Windows 8 and Microsoft 2013 and beyond. I can't find a reasonably priced upgrade path from MSOP 2010 to MSOP 2013, I don't like Windows 8 or MSOP 2013 or beyond, my clients' users are mostly not in their 20's or 30's, ergo they're not fond of major changes, Dell will sell Windows 7 or 8 on new orders, but only MSOP 2013. I have had success with for purchasing, downloading, installing, activating, and updating MSOP 2010 at very reasonable prices, but have heard the voice of a tech friend that doesn't think MS will not put up with that for long.

Found this to be quite interesting: 

I have never been one to go to school, take online courses, or obtain certification for the MS products I support. Googling and Dell tech support have usually been sufficient for my needs. However, I do need to be reasonably up to speed on the products I support. I currently use a Windows 7 Dell OptiPlex 980 as my main workstation, have an old Dell Dimension XP workstation I RDP into when I need to refer to a Windows XP/Office 2003 setup, and an old Dell Latitude D830 laptop I have upgraded to Windows 8 and MSOP 2013, but I mainly use it while watching TV in the recliner. I feel the need to be using Windows 8 Pro and MSOP 2013 as my primary systems. Should I buy another box to be a strictly Windows 8 Pro/MSOP 2013 system and RDP into my Windows 7/MSOP 2010 box when necessary? I still have 206 GB free on my OptiPlex - is there a way to virtualize some of that space or buy another hard drive, set it up with Windows 8/MSOP 2013, and switch back and forth easily. I also have an MS Partnership account, so can download any software I may need.

Thanks for your advice.
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I very much agree with "most" everything Thinkpads_User said.  I forced myself, and I mean forced, to use Win8 x64 Pro on my laptop.  It took about 2 weeks and now I love it.  I still don't like the Start Menu "Metro UI" but rarely use it.  I find Win8 orders faster in every respect.  Since the only detractor is the start menu rearchitecture (and that can be fixed by StartMenu8) I find it a move forward overall.  The ribbon menu bar is integrated pretty much everywhere now but that I like as well.  you can add all of the common things you use to the title bar in the quicklaunch area like you can in MSOP making most items quicker to access.  The only other major change is the unifying of the interface cross platform so all the graphics look "flatter".  Apparently that is the current new fad though.

Win8 also comes with Hyper-V.  This is the area where I slightly disagree with Thinkpads_User but most likely because I haven't used all virtualization tools to the same extent.  I am a VMware fan but find it hard paying the upgrade fee all the time.  I have found Virtualbox to be quite solid and much more user friendly now than it used to be.  While Hyper-V comes with Win8, I found it still didn't support all Linux based OS's near as well as VMWare (Virtualbox I'm sure will support them better too).  However if you're only going to virtualize Windows then this may be the best route as its built into Win8.

Most of all though that I agree with Thinkpads_User, as a techie we should always strive to stay ahead of the curve.  Otherwise when we finally get around to adopting it, we're going to find ourselves behind the curve.

Just my 2 cents anyway.
You should definitely use Virtual systems.   With Virtual systems there is no need for all the extra hardware.   I use Virtualbox and have Windows 8, Windows XP Pro, Ubuntu setup and can boot them whenever i need.   I use Windows 7 as the host (my primary system).    I've even setup Android on a Virtualbox.

I have a preference for Windows 7.   I think 8 is a step backwards or an underdeveloped new idea.   I have the Virtual Win8 for learning about it.    It's very easy to backup boxes with snapshots.    When installing software that i'm unsure of, i can either use Acronis Try & Decide Mode or install into a Virtualbox.  You can also run older software and browsers for testing.  Virtualboxes are handy and Virtualbox is free.
pcladylrAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your response! I have installed Virtualbox and receive this message:
FATAL: No bootable medium found! How do I get to it to install Windows 8 Pro?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have been running my own consulting business for over 11 years now.

I recently needed to replace my ThinkPad T61p with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. I elected to get a ThinkPad X230 with Windows 8 Pro 64-bit.  It came with Office 365/2013 and I elected the one year subscription. This gives me all the same applications as Office 2010 Pro did on my Windows 7 machine.

First: Adapting:
I can work for hours on end and never leave the Windows 8 Desktop. I do not use the funky Start Menu except rarely. So I have adapted. Office 2013 is similar enough to Office 2010 that it did not take much effort to work the way I need.

Second: Tools:
I had already taken care to keep my applications up to date. With the exception of iTunes, everything works on Windows 8 and I upgraded to Companionlink to look after Calendar, Contacts, Notes and Tasks on my iPhone.

Third: Supporting old systems:
I use VMware Workstation. It is best in class and worth the small amount of money. No errors at all.

I have a Vista Business/Office 2007 machine, an XP/Office 2003 machine and some older machines with older Office systems. I have a home desktop with Windows 7 and Office 2010 if I need that for support but I will soon get a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit license to make a virtual machine and put Office 2010 on it.

Despite what you said, sooner or later, things will change and move. To be ready, your primary system should be Windows 8 Pro 64-bit and Office 365/2013 32-bit.

Good luck. .... Thinkpads_User
You need to setup the CD ROM in the settings,
CD ROM SettingsChoose the ROM that contains your Windows CD/DVD, then start the particular Virtualbox
pcladylrAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all of you for your excellent feedback. I played with VirtualBox a little but backed off. I have decided to buy a new Dell OptiPlex 9010 with Windows 8 Pro and will download and install Office 2013 Plus with my MS Partnership package. It will be my major workstation and I'll RDP into the Windows 7/Office 2010 system as needed. Your comments and suggestions were just what I needed to get on with making that decision.
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