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Comparing Windows 7 VS Windows XP

written by: Terry Caron•edited by: Brian Nelson•updated: 5/20/2011

Maintaining over 95% market share with anything technology related is a feat in itself. Microsoft has been doing that for a number of years but staying on top is more than just outdoing the competition. In technology you have to continually outdo yourself. How has Microsoft managed to do this?

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    Microsoft’s main competitors in the operating system battle are Apple with OS X and the many variants of Linux. Not to mention continually having to outdo themselves with each successive operating system they manage to push out. Let’s take a look at how they improved on Windows XP with Windows 7. We will look at the strengths and weaknesses in a comparison of the goliaths.

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    The Proving Ground Standards.

    In order for a comparison to provide accurate results it must be completed on common ground. Let’s take a laptop with a 1.73 GHz processor and 1 gigabyte of ram to start with. Performing clean installs of each operating system. Windows XP Professional and Windows 7 Professional with an installation of Office 2007 Ultimate which will give us a true test of system performance in a real world environment. Now that we are using equal ground for testing let’s take a look at the results.

    Start-up and Shut-down times.

    Two points of great discussion when it comes to operating system performance is the start-up and shut-down. Both of these areas have a tendency to test ones patience when working with PC’s so let’s see how both of these powerhouses faired in this realm.

    Windows XP Professional

    Startup Time :49 - Shut Down Time :17

    Windows 7 Professional

    Startup Time 1:03- Shut Down Time :11.5

    As we can see here Windows XP has a commanding lead in the start-up but Windows 7 takes the lead for shut-down. Overall Windows XP takes less time for both at a total of 1:06 and Windows 7 has a total time for both at 1:14.5. Unless one has a major preference towards one or the other the overall winner in this would be Windows XP Professional.

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    Other Benchmarks from Cinebench

    Cinebench is a free benchmarking utility that will test a computers performance through everyday use. This test is typically comprised of the processing power and the ability to render graphics along with tests for multiprocessor systems. In the first test a 3D file is rendered to test the ability of the CPU and its rendering capabilities under an operating systems. The results of the test area as follows.

    ASUS Ess PC 1005HA – Windows XP 884 ASUS Ess PC 1005HA – Windows 7 880

    (CPU Score – Higher is better.)

    The results of this test give a marginal higher performance for Windows XP.

    Based on the preceding tests alone it appears that Windows 7 isn’t fairing well against its predecessor Windows XP. It’s a given that Windows XP is a powerful operating system for its time however, over the last decade there have been so many technological advances that Microsoft was not allowed to work on power as much as capability.

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    New Features in Windows 7

    Jump List 

    The New Taskbar.

    Microsoft has done much more than just a few cosmetic changes to the taskbar. The Windows 7 taskbar has features that allow the user to easily customize the taskbar by pinning commonly used program shortcuts to the taskbar with the click of a button. By scrolling over this shortcut with the mouse Windows will provide a preview of the most recently opened instance of that application for a quick peek at what is there. For a program that is used frequently, simply right click on the programs icon and choose “pin to taskbar”. There will not be an easy to use shortcut to the application on the taskbar.

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    Pin and Jump lists.

    pin to taskbar With pin and jump lists Windows 7 provides unprecedented ease of access to files and programs its predecessors did not have. With jump lists one can right click on an icon on the taskbar and Windows 7 will instantly provide a list of the most often used application for that program. For example if you right click on internet explorer, you will be provided a list of the most recently visited websites that have been viewed. No more digging through history files to find it. The explorer shortcut will provide a list of the most recently and often used folders for easy location. All of this with a couple clicks of the mouse.

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    Snap Peek and Shake.

    snap2 The Snap, Peek and Shake features allows for much easier management of multiple open windows. Being able to snap windows to full size, peak at windows through other transparent windows and shaking other windows to bring the one we want to the foreground and many others.

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    These and many other Windows 7 features like a totally rebuilt kernel structure and bit locker security have paved the way for Microsoft to begin working with the newest technology that is sure to be in the foreground of development for any Operating System developer. As we can see Windows 7 has been focused on productivity and ease of use to compete with both itself and other operating systems along with setting the foundation for many exiting enhancements and features for the future of the Windows family of operating systems.