I'd warn you away from Windows 7 if going high DPI. Windows 7 has the bare minimum support for it possible. Windows 8.1 Update 1 has VASTLY superior High DPI scaling and support. There is also little reason to not use Widnows 8.1 these days. You boot into the desktop by default, which is nearly identical to Windows 7 with a few minor tweaks here and there. The only major difference is the start menu has been replaced with the start screen, however you can get third-party utilities that restore the start menu as well.
Windows 8 boots in seconds, and overall uses far less memory and is generally much faster than Windows 7. It is also far more resource efficient, which increases battery life in a laptop compared to Windows 7. There is very, very little reason to downgrade, and so many reasons to stay with Windows 8. If you go with a 3200x1800, Win 8.1 is definitely the better option.
Good info -- thanks. I've been using Classic Shell on Windows 7 to try to maintain the UI experience I enjoyed with XP for so long, so I'm guessing I can do the same on 8.1. If performance and battery life are that much better, I might just give it a shot. Thanks for the recommendation!
Small Rant to Microsoft:
The user experience, particularly navigation, is sacred. Yes, people can (and must, at times) adapt to new interfaces, but how
we do things is the most important part of the user experience, and for those of us who use their computer for 8-10 hours per day, or more, little annoyances become major pain points (why take away my Up Folder button??? Even "restoring it", it no longer navigates literally UP the file structure on the disk).
If I had one wish for Microsoft to grant for a future release of Windows, it would be this: Make every, single, element, of the user interface customizable. Allow me to drag, arrange, pin, doc, hide whatever I want, wherever I want it. This includes menus, toolbars, taskbars, anything. Let me choose which mode the OS boots/runs in, regardless of the device it's running on. Let me choose how I want the OS to serve me. Don't force me to live with your choices on my behalf. I appreciate the effort to guess my wants and needs, but give me the option to override your choice if it misses.
Feel free to have everything a certain way as a default for beginners, but give UI nuts like me the ultimate in flexibility. I want MY Windows experience to be mine.
Mozilla Firefox almost
got there with the latest version. I can customize and arrange nearly everything about the toolbars, even the contents and order of what's in the menu. The only thing they dropped the ball on was locking the Stop/Refresh button inside the address bar (it's tiny, too) and removing the Separator from the menu of doo-dads you can choose from to customize the toolbar.
One can dream...For now, I'm still getting by with a combination of Classic Shell, Nexus Dock and various registry hacks.
While I'm at it, if I had a second wish it would be: Store the operating system and programs on one partition and all my files on another by default
so re-imaging is quick and easy, without affecting my files/data. I do this manually any time I get a new machine, but I still have to go through and change the default locations of things like My Documents, My Pictures, et cetera. Why mingle all my data on the same logical drive as the OS and programs? If something borks my registry or otherwise pollutes my operating system, I want to just re-image and move on with life.
Whew! Sorry about that, guys/gals. Just had to get that out of my system.