Differences between Windows 7 Vista and XP

This article was modified on 2012-02-09 18:05:55

It`s not a secret that Windows Vista didn`t had the same success as XP did. I want to be honest and I would like you to know that this article is about Windows 7 compared with Windows Vista and Windows XP. I will try to show you the advantages of Windows 7, the bad parts that most people hated at Windows Vista and also the necessity to switch from Windows XP to Windows 7.

What is Windows 7 ?

If you`re going to ask me, I really think that Windows 7 is what Vista should have been. After two years since Windows Vista was launched, Microsoft comes with a different operating system called Windows 7 which should erase the negative image of previous operating system - Windows Vista.

What went wrong to Windows Vista ?

Sometimes this operating system used a lot of system resources, a lot of drivers were not working on Windows Vista and finally Vista was not the system that everyone was expected to be. The best proof: a lot of users that purchased their notebooks with Vista wanted to downgrade back to Windows XP.

Why choosing Windows XP instead of Windows Vista ?

I`m talking about Windows XP SP 3, the latest version of Windows XP which has fixed a lot of security issues and bugs. Let`s face the truth, Windows XP SP 3, it`s easier to use, it`s pretty stable, you can find drivers that will work and it uses less more system resources when compared to Windows Vista and even Windows 7 in some special cases but that`s not entirely true.

How do I know which Windows is the best for me ?

Right now I am using both Windows 7 and the old XP SP 3. After using Windows 7 for a while, tt may be a good switch if you are moving from Windows XP. Let`s compare them and see which one is the best.

Windows 7 : It`s the latest version, it`s like buying a new car, you don`t know what could go wrong but you trust it since it`s something new.
Good :
- It`s more secure when compared with Vista and XP
- Has more features then Vista and XP
- Support for this OS will be longer than Vista.
Bad :
- Some applications that doesn`t work on Windows 7 and you need to search on the Internet for solutions however this is not true for popular software versions.
- It claims to run on the same computer resources like XP SP 3 but from experience I can tell that it`s not true.
Vista : The predecessor of Windows 7, the second most hated OS after Windows Me.
Good :
- A lot of drivers available
- More secure when compared with older versions of XP
Bad :
- Uses a lot of computer resources
- Too many disappointed users
XP SP 3 : It requires less system resources, it`s easier to use and if you know how to ``secure`` this operating system then you don`t need Vista.

Good :
- It`s not using a lot of RAM or CPU memory
- Pretty stable and very easy to use
- There is a version called Windows XP 64 bit launched in 2005 which supports more than 4 GB.

Bad :

- Microsoft said that XP SP 3 is the latest version that fixes security issues and there will be no other security updates
- You won`t find new drivers that will work with this OS in future.

Ok, so which Windows should I choose ?

A. If your computer has a slow CPU ( under 1 GHz ) and has less RAM ( under 1 GB ) your only choice would be Windows XP or maybe a light version of Windows 7 but never tried this.

B. If your computer is powerful enough go ahead and choose Windows 7

C. If your computer runs on Vista the good news is that you can run Windows 7

A. If your computer is too old to support newer versions of Windows, other than XP SP 3 and you don`t have the money to purchase a new, better computer then you need to focus on security. This will be the biggest challenge for you. To keep your Windows XP SP 3 as clean as possible. As a golden rule, make sure to use a good antivirus and also a firewall. Second, make sure to use the latest version of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome. You will also need to make sure that you keep all of your programs updated and I am talking here about Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader or any other type of similar programs that will interact with the Internet. A good advice would be to run a scan on your computer on a daily basis or at least once a week after browsing the Internet with a free software such as SpyBot Search and Destroy. I am not saying that Windows XP SP 3 will run forever but you can keep it on your computer for a couple of years. I mean, if you`re driving an old car that has 7-8 years old it`s not the same like driving a new car ( such as Windows 7 ) which comes with new security features or other improvements but you can still drive it as long as you will take good care of it.

B. If Windows Vista can run on your computer then I am pretty sure that Windows 7 will run just fine or even better. I know, it`s only one problem, the money spent on a new license for Windows 7. The same thing, if you are forced to keep Windows Vista, then make sure to repeat all the security steps that I described at Windows XP and you will be fine ( take a look at A. )

C. You have a powerful computer and you also have the money for a new license but not convinced yet about Windows 7 ? Sure, you can take a look at Windows 8 but that`s another story. Let`s see why everyone says that this is the best Windows.
Note: I am sure that almost anyone, already used Windows XP ( including XP SP 3 ) or Vista but you probably don`t know why Windows 7 is the best one. Since you`ve already tested XP and Vista, I think it`s worthless to mention here all the features that comes with them so I am going to skip directly to Windows 7.

It has the most dynamic desktop
Two years ago Windows Vista made a major change regarding the Windows interface. With the introduction of Aero, the windows located on the desktop were now transparent with interesting animation. So the difference between Vista and XP regarding the graphics were quite significant. Windows 7 comes with a better graphic management meaning that it is faster and it uses less system resources. Also because of the Aero Peak, new Ribbon ( the new menu bar ) and new redesigned taskbar, the user can see in a faster way all the changes and also helps to identify in a easier way a task.
Drivers compatibility especially with those from Vista
When changing the operating system with a newer one, the drivers seems to be a real pain. For example when the change was done from XP to Vista a lot of devices were suddenly left without support. In the meantime, things were fixed and the drivers database that comes with Windows 7 ( over 20.000 drivers ) will take advantage from those information and theoretically any device with Vista support should now work under Windows 7. In case that a driver is not recognized, Windows 7 should give you a precious information, an address from where you can download the unrecognized driver. For example, it will give you the address from where you can download the Windows 7 drivers for your notebook, in this case probably an address with your notebook manufacturer`s website. Another important detail that should be mentioned here is that the drivers for the video subsystem ( responsible for the most computer blocking issues on Windows XP ) are now out from the kernel mode and passed on the user level ( sounds like an Linux strategy ). As a consequence you can notice that when there will be problems, Windows will restart the driver that encountered the problem and you`re back to work without doing the traditional ``Alt+Ctrl+Del`` or worst, being forced to restart the computer.

A new DirectX 10 and 11 plus new elements for the Windows kernel

We all know or at least heard of DirectX and I remember how enthusiast I was when a new game required the latest version of DirectX. DirectX offered a great help for those who created games and multimedia applications. With Direct3D running on Windows 7 there is a major difference between Vista and XP and that`s because it can perform a better management regarding the process allocation and the optimization of programs that runs in a multithread manner. What does this mean ? It means that when you will run on your computer an antivirus, you will browse the web and you will listen songs on your favorite multimedia player you will notice a better management on Windows 7 when compared with XP or Vista ( this is available for all that uses a multi-processor such as those from Intel (Core Duo, Core 2 Duo etc. ). You should also notice that after installing Windows 7, the loading boot times will be shorter.

Multimedia, multi-touch

Search capabilities are now even more powerful. The Search box is provided in all views of Windows Explorer which means that now you can search in Control Panel, Network, Computer, Desktop, Public, and Recycle Bin. Regarding the multimedia, from now on there is a better, improved support for all audio/video formats. Starting with video formats such as H.264 at high resolutions and even to classics MP3, 3GP and MP4, Windows Media Player can actually play them very well. Also, the new redesigned interface is even more simple to use and comes with new features added.
Network and file-sharing

From now you can configure your Wireless network easier, the entire setup process is more intuitive. Whether your computer is part of a domain, workgroup, or home-group, Windows 7 supports two file-sharing models: standard folder sharing and public folder sharing. With standard folder sharing, you can share files from any folder on your PC. Because you don’t need to move files from their current location, standard folder sharing is also referred to as in-place folder sharing. Windows 7 can use both sharing models at the same time, and you also have several new sharing options that you won`t find them at Windows XP. A key part of this is a home networking feature called the home-group. Within home-groups, you can share your libraries automatically which is another useful feature.
Several business elements

Huge steps were made in the business area. For example, starting with the Windows platform ( PowerShell ), Windows has a complex scripting environment which is ( again ) pretty similar with the one from Linux. Not to mention here the security control elements, the new and simple encrypted connection plus several elemens from Vista ( such as the BitLocker encryption ). Sure, those elements are not for regular users but their inclusion in the operating system will be useful somehow.

Windows 7 editions
Compared to Windows Vista when we had 4 standard editions, Windows 7 comes with 3 commercial editions. There are other 3 OEM versions - those are pre-installed versions used by the PC/netbooks and laptop shops. The similar version with Home Basic has disappeared and the Business version is now the Professional. We should mention here that there are other build versions, created for the countries in European Union which comes without Internet Explorer browser and the multimedia player - Windows Media Player.

Exception : Windows 7 Starter and Home Basic
It`s the smallest edition of Windows 7 that comes pre-installed on PC`s/netbooks/laptops. This version was created for netbooks where computer resources are limited and there is a need for a better optimization. Probably this is the version that can compete with Windows XP SP 3 regarding the system resources although I am not yet convinced.

Home Premium ( 1 )

Probably the best version for the typical user. It has all ( important ) elements such as the Aero interface, Pin, Jump List, Snap, Windows search, fast connection to wireless networks and mobile phones, MP3 players etc. Windows Media Center is also present and you can run movies in DVD format.


Professional ( 2 )

This version is the one that comes with all the necessary elements for a regular user ( Home Premium version ), plus the ones from the business area. Besides that you can install and run the virtual environment for Windows XP Mode, the backup and restoration operations can be done on the network and there are secured connection elements in corporate networks through Domain Join.


Ultimate ( 3 )

As the name suggests, this is everything that Windows 7 can offer. It contains all features starting with Aero interface, index support, business support, virtual machines and advanced security elements. Pre-installed codecs, Windows Media Center and the option to change the language interface through a language pack.
Final conclusion: This is not a secret, Windows 7 is the successor of Windows Vista. If you`re not convinced about the differences between Windows 7 and Vista I guess the best example would be to think at the differences between Windows 98 and Windows 95. The good news if you liked Windows XP is that Windows 7 is a better and improved version of the Windows XP family, preserving many of Windows XP’s corporate networking and security features ( that could be a conclusion of Microsoft if we are looking back at the ``failure`` of Vista ) but also carries many multimedia capabilities from his predecessor - Vista, including support for digital projectors, slideshows, movie making, and DVD burning. Probably those who are using XP want to know if Windows 7 can use programs that runs on XP. The answer is Yes...Microsoft, added a Windows XP compatibility mode that you can install into some Windows 7 versions (Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate) to run your favorite Windows XP programs. That means that soon, in the future, Microsoft’s vendors will upgrade all of those programs and Windows XP will be history, until then, this feature will doubtless be a lifesaver for many who were forced to stick to XP just because a driver for Windows 7 was not yet released. Definitely the winner is Windows 7 and if you have the money to purchase a version, perhaps you may want to download Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, install it and test to see if your computer is compatible with the latest version of Windows. I said the latest version of Microsoft Windows because at the time that I wrote this article, Windows 8 is in the beta stage and the first version should be released in the autumn of 2012.

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