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Need to replace 5-7 year old laptops

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First and foremost, I need to replace my aging early-2008 Mac Book Pro. It's served me very well, and while the idea of getting another MBP is great, I really don't want one without an optical drive. For a few years I've enjoyed looking at the HP Envy and have messed around with them at stores. Specifically, I'm looking at the HP ENVY 17-j029nr and replace its drive with a 256 or larger SSD drive, since the 5,400 RPM drive is a bottleneck. I suppose I can sell the hard drive that comes with it and make some of my money back. Is this a good plan or are there better laptops out there? How is Windows 8 these days, other than being an eyesore? Can I jut downgrade to Windows 7?

I also need to replace two other laptops, I don't recall the models but they're both Core 2 Duos and under 2 Ghz both. I also need to get another laptop for my wife. I bought her one a long time ago which I replaced because it was under-performing (It was an AMD) and bought her one back in early 2009. I'd like something under the following for her:

1. Decently to silly fast so it lasts a few years before becoming too slow for software and heavily scripted sites.
2. Good storage and speed of storage (Any laptops with a dual or hybrid storage with slim profile optics?)
3. Look good
4. This is a huge stretch, but some type of security built in. Hardware encryption, fingerprint reader, etc.

All laptops seem to be coming with Windows 8, and my only experience with it has been with the RCs from last summer. Suffice to say, I don't like it but I'm willing to try it out again.

Ideally I'd like to keep the total budget under $6,300.

I'd like all the laptops to last in performance and viability until 2017 except hers. It'll need replacing sooner than that.

All laptops right now are in rather good condition, and I've swapped out most of the roughed out plates and covers for newer ones over the last two years. Also cleaned the insides. I'll probably use the old MBP as a third computer at work. I don't know about the others. I presume if I swapped out their hard drives for decent 180 GB Sandisk drives they would be blazing fast for their age? Just extend the life of the laptops.
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