Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Windows History

Windows 7 And Windows Vista: Performance Compared
By

The following chart lists the consumer Windows version since Windows 95. System requirements are based on our experience and do not equal Microsoft’s official requirements, which are lower, but often result in serious system performance issues.

Version
Code name
Introduction
Key Features
Requirements
Comments
Windows 95
Chicago
August 1995
32-bit preemptive multi-tasking with 16-bit kernel, long file names, new shell, 32-bit disk access

486 CPU

8MB RAM

120MB storage
Internet Explorer 3.0 and FAT32 file system added later, USB support added later (OEM SR2 – Detroit)
Windows 98
Memphis
June 1998
first to use WDM (Windows Driver Model), Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

Pentium CPU

32MB-64MB RAM

210MB storage
Second Edition (SE) in May 1999
Windows ME
Millennium
Sept 2000

.Net framework supported,

Windows 2000 TCP/IP stack with NDIS 5.0, System Restore, DirectX 7.1, compressed folders, USB mass storage

Pentium II CPU

128MB RAM

320MB storage

With Internet Explorer 5, Media Player 7, Movie Maker, DOS mode dropped,

Dubbed “Mistake Edition” by PC World
Windows XP
WhistlerOctober 2001
Windows NT 5.0 architecture, product activation, faster, user switching, multiple editions, 32- and 64-bit

300 MHz CPU

256MB to 1GB RAM

1.5GB-2.5GB storage

Internet Explorer 6,

SP1 in 2002: USB 2.0, 137+ GB HDDs
SP2 in 2004: new Firewall
Windows Vista
LonghornNovember 2006
Aero GUI, new Explorer and shell, Sidebar, Indexing, SuperFetch, ReadyDrive, ReadyBoost, User Access Control, IPv6 support, DirectX 10, virtualization support

800 MHz CPU

1GB RAM

15GB storage

DX9 graphics

Internet Explorer 7, Media Player 11, DVD Maker, simple file and media sharing, .net framework 3.0, Backup and Restore

Extras such as BitLocker encryption
Windows 7

Blackcomb/

Vienna
October 2009
Performance benefits, new Superbar taskbar, multi-touch support, home group networking, SSD/TRIM support

1 GHz CPU

1GB-2GB RAM

20GB storage

DX9 graphics
Extras such as Calendar, Mail, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery available through Windows Essentials (free)


While Windows Vista introduced a number of improvements over Windows XP, Windows 7 was primarily designed to be “more user-centric” (Bill Gates), faster, and more broadly compatible. Still, there are several enhancements that should be mentioned.

Touch (referred to as multi-touch technology) and handwriting recognition have been improved, which should come in handy for tablet PC and keyboard-free PC solutions, such as kiosks, ATMs, and the like. Windows 7 also implements heterogeneous graphics card support, which allows users to run multi-monitor setups with completely different graphics processors (such as one card from Nvidia and another from AMD). The WindowsSecurityCenter, which wasn’t very popular, has now become the WindowsActionCenter. It includes security settings and general system management. Instead of the old taskbar, which allowed users to add application shortcuts, we now have application “pinning” into the Superbar, which helps simplify access to common applications and reordering of task buttons.

Windows 7 also implements the TRIM feature. This is a valuable add-on for solid state drive (SSD) users, allowing the operating system to tell the SSD which blocks are no longer needed. This is important because SSDs can write only 4KB blocks at a time. Deletion requires much larger block sizes. Once the SSD knows which blocks can be flushed, the entire write process of read, erase, modify, and write can be done much quicker and eventually help to maximize and maintain SSD performance.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 102 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    shubham1401 , December 11, 2009 7:07 AM
    brockhI'll never understand why someone that considers themself a "gamer" would still being using Windows XP. First off, if you're really a gamer your hardware should be at least relatively new; second off, you should be interested in both DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 by now. How can a "gamer" with relatively new hardware justify to themselves that Windows 7 may take up some more of their hard drive space or memory? 4.00 GB is almost a standard these days, not to mention Windows XP 64-Bit Edition was and is still trash.



    Why? A person having old rig but plays games can't call himself a gamer?
  • 16 Hide
    nzprogamer , December 11, 2009 6:35 AM
    Good review there but i still runing xp pro. how about XP Pro VS Win7 Ultimate. i believe there are still lots gamer still running XP Pro.
  • 10 Hide
    geekrick , December 11, 2009 7:20 AM
    When Vista first came out I switched to vista and never found it as bad as it is generally perceived to be in the first place.In fact the more I used it the more I started to like it.As per my experience the immediate advantages of Vista were- the aging effects were less prominent than that of XP and the backdoor was much more secure than XP,and you got less infected with malware. However as soon as windows 7 went to public beta I started using it.Since then I haven't looked back.It may be just an incremental evolution from Vista but it carried all the good points of both vista and Xp .
    7's UI is just awesome.It is more faithful to FITT's laws of UI design and increases productivity.
    Well XP's functionality and supporting services are much less(read less secure,less efficient)so no wonder it runs very very fast.
    Win7 on the other hand has all the latest technology but also runs very fast because it uses the available resources more efficiently .Providing all the goodies at almost the same speed as Xp is one hell of an achievement in itself and makes Xp look prehistoric.That's the reason I have at last upgraded my old P4 system from Xp to 7(dual booted with UBUNTU 9.04) and to be true I don't miss XP at all anymore.
    Windows 7 is really great like this review testifies and more.
    Not only the generic tasks are performed more efficienty , it helps to improve the efficiency of the user by its UI enhancements thus enabling a significant productivity boost.I think this part should have been elaborated in the article.However a very good article.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    noob2222 , December 11, 2009 5:21 AM
    boot and shut down times are the main reason I put 7 on my laptop. Vista was getting soo slow, I would turn it on and walk away for 10 mins, and it would still be loading stuff into memory. If i sat there, I couldn't open IE for at least 3 mins from bios post, and 1 min after the desktop was showing.

    I can run 7 basic on my laptop with all the bells and whistles turned on.

    On my desktop, windows 7 seems snappier, even compared to xp. Large file games seem to load quite a bit faster on 7, wish it was included in this review. Also left out was the first thing I noticed with 7 vs Vista, IE unloads from memory more than Vista. on a limited system, unloading fully is critical.
  • 2 Hide
    tacoslave , December 11, 2009 6:07 AM
    noob2222boot and shut down times are the main reason I put 7 on my laptop. Vista was getting soo slow, I would turn it on and walk away for 10 mins, and it would still be loading stuff into memory. If i sat there, I couldn't open IE for at least 3 mins from bios post, and 1 min after the desktop was showing.I can run 7 basic on my laptop with all the bells and whistles turned on.On my desktop, windows 7 seems snappier, even compared to xp. Large file games seem to load quite a bit faster on 7, wish it was included in this review. Also left out was the first thing I noticed with 7 vs Vista, IE unloads from memory more than Vista. on a limited system, unloading fully is critical.


    mine never got that slow besides im still running vista because i need to put that money elsewhere IMO where it really matters a new graphics card.
  • 16 Hide
    nzprogamer , December 11, 2009 6:35 AM
    Good review there but i still runing xp pro. how about XP Pro VS Win7 Ultimate. i believe there are still lots gamer still running XP Pro.
  • 1 Hide
    kettu , December 11, 2009 6:40 AM
    "Here’s a real life result: Far Cry runs faster on Windows 7."

    I disagree that this is a 'real life' result. Not at medium quality and 1280x800 resolution. In my opinion if you include gaming benchmarks you should use more realistic settings.
  • -9 Hide
    brockh , December 11, 2009 6:54 AM
    nzprogamerGood review there but i still runing xp pro. how about XP Pro VS Win7 Ultimate. i believe there are still lots gamer still running XP Pro.


    I'll never understand why someone that considers themself a "gamer" would still being using Windows XP. First off, if you're really a gamer your hardware should be at least relatively new; second off, you should be interested in both DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 by now. How can a "gamer" with relatively new hardware justify to themselves that Windows 7 may take up some more of their hard drive space or memory? 4.00 GB is almost a standard these days, not to mention Windows XP 64-Bit Edition was and is still trash.
  • 26 Hide
    shubham1401 , December 11, 2009 7:07 AM
    brockhI'll never understand why someone that considers themself a "gamer" would still being using Windows XP. First off, if you're really a gamer your hardware should be at least relatively new; second off, you should be interested in both DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 by now. How can a "gamer" with relatively new hardware justify to themselves that Windows 7 may take up some more of their hard drive space or memory? 4.00 GB is almost a standard these days, not to mention Windows XP 64-Bit Edition was and is still trash.



    Why? A person having old rig but plays games can't call himself a gamer?
  • 0 Hide
    bodyknight , December 11, 2009 7:12 AM
    Quote:
    I'll never understand why someone that considers themself a "gamer" would still being using Windows XP.


    The answer is: because of ArmA2.
  • 10 Hide
    geekrick , December 11, 2009 7:20 AM
    When Vista first came out I switched to vista and never found it as bad as it is generally perceived to be in the first place.In fact the more I used it the more I started to like it.As per my experience the immediate advantages of Vista were- the aging effects were less prominent than that of XP and the backdoor was much more secure than XP,and you got less infected with malware. However as soon as windows 7 went to public beta I started using it.Since then I haven't looked back.It may be just an incremental evolution from Vista but it carried all the good points of both vista and Xp .
    7's UI is just awesome.It is more faithful to FITT's laws of UI design and increases productivity.
    Well XP's functionality and supporting services are much less(read less secure,less efficient)so no wonder it runs very very fast.
    Win7 on the other hand has all the latest technology but also runs very fast because it uses the available resources more efficiently .Providing all the goodies at almost the same speed as Xp is one hell of an achievement in itself and makes Xp look prehistoric.That's the reason I have at last upgraded my old P4 system from Xp to 7(dual booted with UBUNTU 9.04) and to be true I don't miss XP at all anymore.
    Windows 7 is really great like this review testifies and more.
    Not only the generic tasks are performed more efficienty , it helps to improve the efficiency of the user by its UI enhancements thus enabling a significant productivity boost.I think this part should have been elaborated in the article.However a very good article.
  • 3 Hide
    Herr_Koos , December 11, 2009 7:55 AM
    Your comparative chart seems to be missing DX10 for Vista and DX11 for Win7...
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , December 11, 2009 8:15 AM
    I ditched XP for Vista as soon as I got my hands on release candidate 1 and never looked back. For me (with the system I have and my presonal taste), I see little reason to switch to Windows 7.

    But, maybe I'm an oddball
  • 4 Hide
    ravewulf , December 11, 2009 8:17 AM
    Herr_KoosYour comparative chart seems to be missing DX10 for Vista and DX11 for Win7...

    But DX11 IS on Vista too. Released October 27 as part of the Platform Update for Windows Vista

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_Update_for_Windows_Vista#Platform_Update
  • 2 Hide
    ravewulf , December 11, 2009 8:21 AM
    amgsoftAfter the installation of Windows 7 I got the expression, that I have got a new PC. Windows 7 cannot be compared to Vista at all. In my case it takes 2 hours to "boot" a vista PC, well the GUI is up and running in 1 minutte, and then it spends 1-2 more hours crunching my harddrive som some reason, even if indexing is disabled and the antivirus does not start scanning. In the mean time my 4 kernels processor reacts like it was the smallest Atom processor on XP. After 3 or 4 hours the system is finally ready to be used by the user. The Windows 7 turned my Q6600 CPU to a real processor.It takes aproximatelly the same time to boot vista and windows 7. The difference is, in Windows 7 case, it can be used immediatelly after, in vista case you have to wait 1-2 more hours. I think that MS should fix problems with start up of vista.Finally I would like to know when MS finally stops with the elevated mode. The only result of the elevated mode is disturbing the user with stupid questions, because every user get used to click on "continue" button as he/she is asked every time he/she is starting any program. I can remember a single incident, when I didn't want to continue, because thats was exactly what I was asking for. Windows 7 is only party irritating.

    You should look into that more. Takes me 5 minutes at worst with indexing and antivirus on full plus loading up Live Mesh.
  • 0 Hide
    Herr_Koos , December 11, 2009 8:25 AM
    ravewulfBut DX11 IS on Vista too. Released October 27 as part of the Platform Update for Windows Vistahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platf [...] orm_Update


    True, but the chart only shows DX9 for both Vista and 7.
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , December 11, 2009 8:27 AM
    noob2222boot and shut down times are the main reason I put 7 on my laptop. Vista was getting soo slow, I would turn it on and walk away for 10 mins, and it would still be loading stuff into memory. If i sat there, I couldn't open IE for at least 3 mins from bios post, and 1 min after the desktop was showing.I can run 7 basic on my laptop with all the bells and whistles turned on.On my desktop, windows 7 seems snappier, even compared to xp. Large file games seem to load quite a bit faster on 7, wish it was included in this review. Also left out was the first thing I noticed with 7 vs Vista, IE unloads from memory more than Vista. on a limited system, unloading fully is critical.

    I went to Win7 on my laptop for the same reasons. My desktop still runs Vista though. Only reason I might switch to 7 on that too is for the better support of CableCARD and QAM TV tuners
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , December 11, 2009 8:28 AM
    Herr_KoosTrue, but the chart only shows DX9 for both Vista and 7.

    Whoops. My bad. I didn't catch that ^^;
  • 5 Hide
    Herr_Koos , December 11, 2009 8:50 AM
    I've never ever had a BSOD with Windows 7, and I'm still using the RC. Time for a clean install, Mr Space Eagle!
  • 4 Hide
    amgsoft , December 11, 2009 9:02 AM
    ravewulfYou should look into that more. Takes me 5 minutes at worst with indexing and antivirus on full plus loading up Live Mesh.


    Well I did. However Vista is made by a genious man knowing more then us normal mortal people, so instead of showing which program is running, it shows you, that 20 or 30 svchost.exe program are running and on top of it 30 other System images all of them using the harddisk. Sometimes it followed with even more sexy information attached like LocalServiceNetworkRestricted. That kind of information from MS is very usefull. I don't know any other system which show more totally useless information then Vista.
Display more comments