5 Ways Windows 7 Beats Windows Vista

Windows 7 is faster, and has less bloat than its predecessor.

Windows 7 Starter Edition splashscreen
Microsoft

When Windows 7 released in October 2009 it performed well in the market almost right away thanks to the widespread dissatisfaction with its predecessor, Windows Vista.

The dirty little secret of the two operating systems, however, is that Windows 7 is really just a tuned-up version of Vista that improves on the earlier operating system's deficits. Regardless, there's no denying that Windows 7 rocks. Here are five ways it's superior to Vista.

As of January 2020, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

We're keeping the article about Windows 7 relative to Windows Vista for historical reference only. We do not recommend remaining on Windows 7 or Windows Vista.

Increased Speed

Windows 7, unlike previous versions of Windows, didn't demand increased hardware requirements to run smoothly—a trend that Microsoft has held onto with Windows 8 and 10. On the same hardware, Windows 7 can run significantly faster than Vista.

Many people noticed a significant improvement in how fast applications open and close, and how quickly their laptops boot. In both cases, the speed is at least double what it was under Vista—although Windows 8 and 10 are even faster to boot than Windows 7.

Windows 7 can even run on some computers that ran Windows XP; this practice isn't recommended but it can work for some people with tight hardware budgets. This flexibility in hardware demands demonstrates how much leaner Microsoft made Windows 7.

Fewer Non-Essential Programs

Microsoft cut out a lot of the fat with Windows 7 by dropping programs that were included with Vista—programs the majority of us never used. All those programs – Photo Gallery, Messenger, Movie Maker and so on – were available if you needed them through Microsoft's Windows Live Essentials website. 

A Cleaner, Less Cluttered Interface

Windows 7 is easier on the eyes than Vista. To take just two examples, both the Taskbar and the System Tray have been refined, making your desktop more efficient. The System Tray, in particular, has been cleaned up. It doesn't string out dozens of icons across the bottom of your screen anymore and it's easy to customize how those icons are displayed.

"Devices and Printers" Section

Windows 7 added a new, graphical way to see which devices are connected to your computer—and it includes your computer as a device, too. The Devices and Printers windows can be accessed by clicking on Start/Devices and Printers (by default on the right-hand side, under Control Panel).

It was smart of Microsoft to make it easy to find this information, and the images are helpful in identifying each device. No cryptic names or descriptions here. The printer device looks like a printer!

Stability

Windows 7 is more stable than Vista. At its launch, given the massive under-the-hood re-engineering between Windows XP and Windows Vista, Vista had a nasty tendency to crash. It wasn't until the first service pack (a big package of bug fixes and other updates) came out that the operating system stabilized.