Windows XP/Widows update v Mac
I currently am using Widows XP on my desktop and Widows 7 on my laptop. Since Microsoft will no longer support XP I would need to upgrade to either Windows 7 or 8. I am not familiar with Windows 8 and have never liked Windows 7 so I will be faced with a choice. My CPU is old and will not be compatible with either upgrade so I would not only need a new operating system but also a new computer. If I were to switch to a MAC would I be able to transfer programs from my XP? I am mainly concerned with word processing documents, photographs, and Quicken files. Is there a way for me to determine compatibility issues in advance? Thanks for any assistance that you can provide.
As far as I know, you won't be able to do this. You will need to install it back but not directly since the Mac won't recognize it. You will need to use a virtual environment like Parallels Desktop on the Mac to run the Windows apps.
It's best to see if there is an alternative program available for the Mac instead. If you wish to run Windows apps on a Mac, use either Parallels Desktop (which allows you to run a Windows system "within" the Mac OS) or setup a dual boot with Windows and Mac so you can boot directly into Windows.
So to answer your question, you can not run a Windows program directly on a Mac. You will need Windows to exist in some shape or form and then you will need to install those programs back again within Windows on that new Mac.
Is there a reason you want to switch to a Mac? If not, go stick with a PC. I personally like Windows 7 and usually skip a version as I have done in the past. I see Windows 8 as a "beta" operating system for the next version.