After Windows 7 and 8.1, Microsoft has finally announced the next operating system, Windows 10. When we compared Windows 10 with Windows 7 and Windows 8, we found that Windows 10 looks more like Windows 7 than Windows 8. The new operating system, Windows 10, will have a number of new features, usability enhancements, and improved performance which will make it stand out and distinguished from the previous versions of Windows. Windows 10 also addresses the shortcomings in the user interface changes introduced in Windows 8.
Microsoft has already ended the support for its old operating system Windows XP. The mainstream support for Windows 7 will end in January 2015 while Microsoft will provide extended support for Window 7 until January 2020.
If your PC has Windows 7, Windows 8, or any previous version of Windows installed on it, and you are thinking to upgrade your PC's operating system to Windows 10, or planning to buy a new desktop, you should check the compatibility and minimum requirements of Windows 10 and the relative similarities and differences between Windows 10 and the previous versions of Windows.
In this guide, we will show you a detailed comparison of Windows 10 and Windows 7 operating systems. The comparison is based on fresh and default installations of Windows 10 and Windows 7 on the same machine with no additional apps installed on any of the operating systems.
Windows 7 vs Windows 10
Startup and Shutdown time
When we compared the startup and shutdown times of Windows 10 and Windows 7 operating systems, we found that Windows 10 took much less time to start and shutdown compared to Windows 7. This marked improvent in the startup time might be attributed to the use of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) integration in place of the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) and Hybrid Boot which was introduced in Windows 8 to help computers to start quickly.
In simple terms, when you press the shutdown button on your computer, the Hybrid Boot feature does not shutdown the computer in the traditional way. Now, it logs out the users, closes the applications, and partially hibernates the computer so that it would be able to start quickly the next time you use it.
A computer which starts up quickly will give you more time to focus on important things than waiting for your computer to get everything ready for you. Windows 10 has evidently enhanced startup and shutdown performance when compared to Windows 7.
Windows 10 is also very likely to have the Secure Boot feature enabled by default which was introduced in Windows 8. The Secure Boot feature is available on UEFI based desktops and laptops. Secure Boot prevents unauthorized softwares from running on a PC while it boots up.
Windows 7 vs Windows 10: Performance and speed
In Windows 10, Microsoft has revamped the operating system under the hood in addition to the changes in the user interface. This resulted in an overall faster and efficient computing experience even on low-end laptops and desktops. When compared to Windows 7, this is a slight improvement.
The Aero theme of Windows 7 which features a translucent glass design with subtle window animations, live window previews, and Aero Flip 3D is removed in Windows 10. Windows 10 has a plainer design with simple colors which takes less memory, and helps in improving the overall speed and performance of the system.
After Windows Vista, Microsoft has acknowledged the necessity for a faster and more efficient Operating system. As a result, both Windows 7 and Windows 10 are very fast and responsive to the user's command. On the whole, Windows 10 is less resource intensive, is a bit faster, and slightly more performant in comparison to Windows 7 on modern PCs.
Windows 7 vs Windows 10: User Interface
In Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to blend the best of the desktop system and the best of touch screen devices. In a first view, we found the grapical user interface of Windows 10 looks like a fusion of Windows 7 and Windows 8. The user interface of Windows 10 has a number of tweaks, which we have listed below, to make it more usable and convenient.
Let's look at what new things you will find in Windows 10 when you first switch it on. The boot screen of Windows 10 is slightly different from the boot screen of Windows 7. When Windows 10 is starting up, you can see the new logo of Microsoft in the middle of the upper part of the screen and a new startup animation in the lower part of the screen.
After the computer has started, both Windows 10 and Windows 7 greet the users with a familiar desktop screen. At the bottom of the start screen, you can see the typical Windows taskbar. The Start button is placed at the leftmost part of the taskbar in both the operating systems.
While the Windows 7 taskbar has the shortcuts for Internet explorer, Windows explorer, and Windows media player by default, the default taskbar of Windows 10 is a bit different from Windows 7. In Windows 10, the taskbar contains the shortcuts for the Search tool, Task View, Internet explorer, File explorer, and Windows store app. Task View is a new feature added in Windows 10 which can be used to easily switch between currently opened windows and apps. Using Task View you can also create and manage multiple virtual desktops.
If you want to know about Windows 10 features such as Task view and virtual desktop in detail, you can see Windows 10 features you want to know.
The manner in which Windows 10 shows currently opened applications and windows in the taskbar is almost similar to what we have seen in Windows 7. Multiple File explorer windows and application windows are organized in stacks in the taskbar in both Windows 10 and Windows 7. When you take the mouse over the stack, a preview of each open window is displayed, and you can close any of the windows directly from their previews.
The Start menu of Windows 10, which looks like a blend of the Start menu of Windows 7 and Windows 8, also includes live tiles for Metro apps. The Start menu of Windows 10 contains shortcuts to PC settings, File Explorer, and some folders such as Documents and Pictures. It also shows some frequently used apps and an All Apps button. You can click on the All apps button to see all the installed programs and applications. On the right side of the Start menu, you can see customizable live tiles of Metro apps. If you want, you can add more apps to the live tiles region. Live tiles for some applications may be quite uesful for you, for example, when you want to take a quick look at the weather, news, emails, etc.
Except for the live tiles, the Start menu of Windows 7 is not very different from Windows 10. On the right side, Windows 7 Start menu has links to your personal folder, Documents, Pictures, Music, Games, Computer, Control Panel, Devices and Printers, etc. On the left side, it contains shortcuts to the programs which are pinned to the Start menu, frequently used applications, and All Programs.
In Windows 10, at the top of the Start menu, you can see a power button which contains the options to Sleep, Shut down, and Restart your computer. In Windows 7, the Shut down button is located at right-bottom part of the Start menu, and if you take the mouse over the arrow next to the Start button, it shows options to Switch user, Log off, Lock, Restart, Sleep, and Hibernate.
Both Windows 10 and Windows 7 contain a search tool at the bottom of the Start menu. The Search tool of Windows 10 is a quite advanced and it can search for apps, files, settings, and the Web using the Bing search engine. In Windows 7, it was not possible to search the Web using the search tool in the Start menu.
With Windows 10, Microsoft has bridged the gap between the experiences on touch enabled devices and mouse and keyboard systems by allowing modern apps to run in similar windows as desktop applications.
Windows 7 vs Windows 10: Security
Security is one of the most vital issues for both individual and business users alike. Since Windows is the most popular operating system, it is understandably also the most vulnerable operating system to security threats and other types of intrusions.
On the security front, Windows 7 offers features that remain unmatched by the previous versions. Windows 7 simplifies computer security, makes it easier for the end users to reduce the risk of damage caused by viruses, malware, spywares etc. It also features an improved backup system to keep your valuable information safe. Using the Windows 7 Action Center in the Control Panel, you can quickly take a look at the configuration and the state of firewall, antivirus software, update settings, etc.
In Windows 7, you have the option to encrypt your Windows hard disk using the Bitlocker Drive Encryption to keep your important data safe. Microsoft Security Essentials is also available as free download in Windows 7 which helps you in protecting your computer from viruses, Trojans, worms, and other malwares.
While Windows 7 is a highly stable and secure operating system, Windows 10 comes with many enhancements and new security features for both individual and enterprise users. In Windows 10, Microsoft has taken Bitlocker to a new different level. Windows 7 Bitlocker only protects your data when it resides on your computer, and when the data leaves your computer it is no longer protected. In Windows 10, there will be an additional layer of protection using containers and data separation at the file and application level. This new layer of protection follows and secures your data whenever it moves from your computer or tablet to a USB drive, email, or cloud.
This protection at the file level is quite useful because it is easy to use and you don't have to install special programs and applications or move your data to a separate and secure environment.
In Windows 10, businesses and enterprise will have options to finely control the rate at which their systems receive updates, and they can opt to receive only security and critical updates to their systems.
Windows 7 vs Windows 10: Features for businesses and enterprise
For enterprise customers, Microsoft has built more features in Windows 10 than Windows 7. These features include enterprise grade security, identity and information protection, reduced complexity, in-place upgrades from Windows 7 or 8, and better experience for modern needs of business. For keyboard and mouse users, the user interface of Windows 10 is quite familiar and they are not required to learn new ways for doing many new things.
With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to extend and bring Mobile Device Management capabilities to traditional laptops and desktops. Windows 10, with the help of services like Windows Intune, will empower users to work virtually from anywhere. Windows 10 enables businesses to remotely manage PCs, tablets, smartphones, etc.
The new Windows app store will also support desktop apps in addition to the modern apps. Within the public app store, there will be an option for organizations to create their own store where they can put their own list of public apps as well as business apps for their employees. Businesses will be able to purchase apps, deploy them, and manage their licenses in bulk with the new volume-purchasing program.
In Windows 10, you can use your Azure Active Directory identification to log into your device without a Microsoft account. Now, system administrators have a fine-grain control over remote access to applications, and they can restrict the remote access to the applications they want to protect.