I have a ton of old licenses, so I'm not going that route.I definitely don't want to be running XP on anything.
Here's the next question: how many of them have you upgraded to Windows 10? If you're like me, you haven't upgraded any of them and you're not even sure what version of Windows those old machines are running.
I know I have a pile of XP machines, one Vista machine, and a whole bunch of either Windows 7 or Windows 8 machines, not counting all my VMs (which are mostly Windows 7).
While I'm not now using those machines, there's always the chance I'll want to put one back in service.
Plus, given that the free Windows 10 upgrades are expiring in July, it makes sense to move these machines to Windows 10 now. First, there's no guarantee these old boxes will be compatible with Windows 10.
It's a good idea to run the Windows 10 compatibility checker to find out if Windows 10 will work. There is no free upgrade path to Windows 10 from XP or Vista.
For example, some low-end 3D printers and CNC machines require a PC to drive them.
Rather than dedicating an active laptop, I'm much more likely to dig into my storehouse of old machines and press one of them into service.
To upgrade to Windows 10 from a machine running XP or Vista, you either have to buy an actual copy of Windows 10 (in which case, you might as well just keep the old boxes sitting in their bins in the garage) or first upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. It's particularly difficult to get a Windows 7 install disk from Microsoft.
The good(ish) news is you can buy copies of Windows 7 from Amazon and e Bay ranging from about to about , which is still cheaper than buying Windows 10 directly from Microsoft -- although, admittedly, a lot more work.
How many leftover PCs do you have sitting around in closets, on shelves, and in the form of virtual machines?
In my case, I found three mini PCs, a couple of laptops, a netbook, and four towers that are sitting on shelves in the garage.