Myths About Windows 7

Even before Microsoft released its flagship version of Windows, there was a lot of talk about Windows 7’s shortcomings. Some people don’t know whether their decision to upgrade from Vista was well-made, but even more people who currently own Vista refuse to upgrade to Windows 7 because of all the myths going around about it. Others have even switched away from the operating system because of what they’ve heard. It’s always good to run an alternative OS and learn the ropes, but you should consider that some of what’s said about W7 is just hype.

Windows 7 was released in 2009, 2 years before the date this was written. It seems odd to write about myths involving a W7 upgrade when the OS version has been around for that long. Still, many people haven’t upgraded to Windows 7 because of fear. Windows Vista left a mark on everyone, and some, to this day, haven’t taken the step towards upgrading to Windows 7. It’s been seen as a risk, and Vista seems to have taught everyone a lesson. You’re missing out on a lot if you’re sticking to XP or Vista. I cannot stress enough for you to upgrade, since “Seven” will beat both of its predecessors even on your current hardware.

First, I must stress the fact that Microsoft has observed the unfortunate turn that Vista has made. Vista was a hog in every sense of the word. You needed at least 2 GB of DDR2-3 RAM running at 1333 MHz to get the mammoth going. It was one of the most painful upgrades ever put upon the public and, earnestly, it made me want to barf on my keyboard. Tons of hardware had to be invented to properly run on this operating system.

Windows 7 fixes all of this and runs much faster than its predecessor. Many people believe, however, that Windows 7 is slower than Windows XP. Others think that Windows 7 is faster than XP only on higher-end computers but doesn’t make good use of lower-end hardware. Neither of these statements have a drop of truth. A benchmark test by ZDNet puts Windows 7 in a superior position both on the low end and on the high end. Myth busted!

Hardware compatibility was bad in Vista. Some still have the impression that it would be worse if they’d upgrade to Windows 7. With Windows 8 around the corner, they’re about to be two operating system versions behind (3, in some cases). It’s not bad to stick to an older system, but why stick to one that is more backwards than Windows 7? While Vista caused some serious headaches about hardware, Windows 7 has made significant strides towards compatibility with older hardware that ran on XP. Software is also more compatible with Windows 7 than it would ever be with Vista.

windows7-myth
Some graphics cards, networking adapters, and sound devices had issues with Windows Vista.
windows7-myth-run-dialog
Windows 7 and Vista look similar, but what runs behind all that visual candy is what makes W7 a powerhouse.

Lots of people believe that Microsoft just slapped a “7” to the operating system’s name, made the interface prettier, and offered a couple of little gimmicks here and there. People fail to realize that what’s beneath the surface is much more important, especially in Windows 7. Yes, the operating system is based on the Vista core, which would work well if it weren’t for all the resource hogging. That’s exactly why W7 was created. The speed offered by the newer version of Windows beats Vista by a long shot, performing almost twice as fast, sometimes more. Think of it: You can either spend hundreds of dollars upgrading all your hardware to run on a bulky operating system, or spend a bit over a hundred bucks to upgrade the operating system and run it on your old hardware.

If you haven’t installed Windows 7 even now, and all the myth busting didn’t convince you, let me ask you a question: Do you have a smartphone or other mobile device? If you answered “no”, then you might get away with an older version of Windows for some years until programs start ignoring the need to conform to XP’s standards. For those of you who answered “yes”, though, you’re going to be left behind rather quickly. Windows 7 supports certain application programming interface (API) functions that Windows XP cannot and will not have because of the way it’s constructed. Many of these API functions will be called by phones without regard for operating system version.

Windows 8 is going to come and Microsoft isn’t stopping there to wait for you. After you fall behind another notch, you might as well be running Windows 95 because mobile devices have a tendency to cater to the two most recent operating system versions. After they finish their interfaces and release their software, some of it might work with older versions of Windows, but, believe me, that wasn’t their intention. Any compatibility with an older OS will just be a coincidence, since mobile developers are always competing ahead, not behind.

The decision to upgrade or not should be more based on desire rather than any idea of a lack of necessity. Would you still use Windows 3.0? Is it still relevant today? I didn’t think so! Windows 7 outperforms anything else from MS you’ve tried since 2001 and even offers a juicier interface that competes well with other OS’s. Windows 8 promises much more than that, but there’s still very little clarity on how it will perform on its release. Post any rambles, rants, comments, questions, or additions down at the comments area. I’m more than happy to hear feedback! :)

Photo credit: flickr

12 comments

  1. Windows 7 was indeed a huge improvement over Vista.   I’ve not had even one BSOD since using it.  Under Vista I had MUCH trouble getting games to run.   Windows 7 has been able to run 99% of them without even needing compatibility mode.

  2. The very existence of a serious post like this is enough to make one wonder why anyone would use any Windows OS at all.

  3. I used Win7 for about a year or so, it flew on my machine an Athlon Xp with a gig of Ram. Had no crashes or problems at all. However once i installed Service Pack 1 i never got it running properly again, even a with a fresh install, latest drivers, etc, as soon as you put Sp1 on you lost the graphics. I tried a couple of different graphics cards as well ! Black screens all the way.
    Shame really, but it’s the last time i buy any Microsoft operating system. It’s Linux for me now.

  4. The biggest single improvement in Win7 over Vista was the rework of the Display subsystem to stop double buffering the screen (primarily of benefit when switching screens when doing presentations) .  This reduces the real world memory requirements for Win7 to 3-4GB.  Vista had basically required 6GB to perform optimally.  That has resulted in Win7 having improved performance on the average workstation due to memory being utilized better.  Hardware has also improved dramatically since Vista (and its slower Ring3 driver model) released to make Win7 much more viable.

    So today, I use Ubuntu as my primary bare metal OS. This is largely due to the Vista debacle and easier interfacing with work related Linux servers as well, but I run Win7 in VirtualBox on each system for compatibility with a few Windows only apps.  I’ve found that Win7 actually runs better and more stable in a VM than it does on native hardware (except for Games…).  The caveat there is you need a modern processor like a Phenom II or i5/i7 which support full HW assisted virtualization (and have it turned on in the BIOS).  XP doesn’t run as good in a VM due to the drivers being RING0 (kernel level), which is also why a bad video driver causes a blue screen in XP.  Much of Win7’s drivers run in RING3 (application level) which is more friendly to virtualization, and also why when a video driver crashes the screen just blinks rather than losing all your work.  This is also why Win7 runs slower on real hardware than XP.  That is mostly an issue on older hardware though.

    Win7 is very stable and a good choice overall, and if staying with Windows, is a mandatory upgrade from XP (or older) and Vista.

  5. Still don’t see why the world couldn’t happily just stay with XP (although I obviously understand why MS needs to turn out new products every now and then). XP never crashes (anyone claiming it does is obviously not using it), does the job very well on older hardware, and there is a decade’s worth of software and utilities out there made for the system that may (or may not) work on other platforms. I’ve been using (still am) all kinds of systems (XP, Vista, W7, OSX, Ubuntu, …), and XP is still by far the best alternative out there for the user. Ubuntu is still a halfbaked product (astonishing how bad it is really) and all Ubuntu users inevitably waste huge amounts of time trying to make graphics, wireless, scanners, printers, etc. work properly with their systems (and software for certain jobs are still lacking, such as a decent alternative to Acrobat Pro). Ubuntu users may not see this as “wasted” time since they tend to love fiddling with their computers, but wasted time it is all the same… OSX is just too slow and awkward (always was) and, like Ubuntu, the lack of software and utilities is still a major problem on this platform. Just finding a decent alternative for the sub-standard search utility Spotlight is impossible, or try to find a free Mac utility to manipulate pdf files (e.g. add/remove/turn pages in a document). W7 is good and snappy with new hardware, and will obviously replace XP at some point, whether we want this to happen or not. Many (but certainly not all) older programs will run fine on it. However, beyond some included security features that any XP user could cover with free third-party utilities anyway, the system offers no real advantages to the ten year old XP.

  6. Windows 7 is not and probably never will be compatible with my video card. I have to use a specific version of the XP driver for it to work.

    • SimAnt isn’t compatible with Windows 7, either. The world sometimes moves on. It’s unfortunate, but the reason you need XP drivers probably has to do with how old the video card is. Heck, I’m all for attempting to preserve reverse compatibility. Microsoft doesn’t afford this capability to everything, and I believe it’s kind of upsetting also. :)

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Stories