Microsoft appears to be forcing its customer base onto subscription modes for both it OS and its Office software. The Win10 model is "free" for a year for those who choose (are coerced/forced) to upgrade via hidden 'security patches' to Win7 & 8/8.1.
Win10 does not have voluntary/user enabled security updates. Everything now comes via unspecified 'in the night' downloads. There's no option to pick and choose, or refuse the 'user experience enhancement' additions to Win10.
After a year's free ride, one might expect that the free ride will end, and subscription fees will apply. At this point, a typical Windows OS/Office subscriber will have lost all control over their desktop/laptop (short of wiping the drive.)
For some folks, this may be the rose-petal path to Nirvana. Pay the monthly fees, or accept a one-time 'bargain' annual payment, or choose the super-saver option of four-year's cash up front. And accept whatever MS installs at any given point into the future.
There is a $75 alternative, sans MS.
1. Buy a lease-return laptop from a reputable reseller. Yes, there are good ones. Check eBay and read their user ratings. (I got a lovely IBM ThinkPad T-60 in mint condition, barely used, for $65 plus shipping.)
2. Research the Distrowatch website and become informed about which Linux distribution suits your tastes. (If you later become unhappy with that choice, wipe it and install another ... and another ... until you're happy. Total cost? The price of a blank DVD to burn the .iso file you'll download and burn.
3. Software: notice that most Linux distros now include LibreOffice as their MS Office 'substitute'. This has become the 'lingua franca' of universal office software. So you now have a free office suite already installed in your Linux distro, ready to go. There's also a good text editor or two included.
4. Go to the Literature and Latte website. Download the FREE beta copy of Scrivener for Linux. It expires at the end of 2015, but the owner/developer has publicly promised that the Linux version will be updated and extended, so not to worry.
5. I've never found a great or good or even acceptable research/scrapbook/notebook app on Linux. There are a couple that claim to be, but they're not. Hot Tip: use Scrivener for research notes, graphics, filing, scraps, lists, tracking, scribblings and such. It has the two main sections in its 'binder' column on the left side, which is actually an outliner index. Use it. The 'special' area in this index is the 'Research' portion which is programmed to receive graphics and other binary (non-.rtf text) files
Cost so far? Laptop: $65; Software: $0.
6. Need a free stand-alone word processor? Abiword is free and included in many Linux distributions, or is available for download from the software repository.
7. I"ll admit, this isn't for everyone. And Linux ain't Windows. And some folks are terrified of used or old laptops. And others are just terrified of leaving the herd. So don't.
8. If there's an old laptop gathering dust in the family that still works, chances are it's just perfect for new life running Linux and the software I've listed above. Linux is famous for having versions that run very well (fast!) on old machines. Do a little online research to find which Linux has the 'desktop' interface that is 'lightweight' (less demanding). KDE is a graphics-intense desktop environment for newer, faster machines. XFCE is far less demanding, has much less 'flash' and eye-candy, and is superb for older machines. That's just a hint to help get started.
Please note that my suggestions above are for setting up a dedicated writing machine, that will also do all the common file manipulation, internet browsing and upload/download functions, and can also be enabled for most anything else needed (with a learning curve involved).
Hope this helps.