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I know there are subtle differences like superbar that is so much better compared to what we had so far (taskbar). But as we all know Windows 7 is using the same codebase as Vista.

But since Vista has been a big flop since it came out, I wonder what exactly has been changed/removed from it, so that Windows 7 is so much better (as they say) because I'm still confirming UAC pop-ups. Because I really can't tell.

I don't want this to be something argumentative, that's why my question is very direct that can give direct solid answers.


What exactly has been changed/removed/improved in Vista, so that Windows 7 is so much better that even regular users claim: "This is what Vista should've been from the very beginning".

Provide best improvements/novelties and I'll accept the one that is the most convincing and obvious. So I will be able to say: "Yes Windows 7 is really so much better in this regard compared to Vista".


One of the most obvious things have to be hardware hungry OS features. When Vista was released quite a few computers weren't capable of using its full potential. Windows 7 is the same as Vista in this regard. But in this time machines were either upgraded or new and are now easily capable of running the OS without prob.

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Please see – Dour High Arch Oct 25 '09 at 21:37
Well my question is an opposite of the other one that asks about new things in Win7. My question os about removed old ones. But good info as well. – Robert Koritnik Oct 26 '09 at 12:20
up vote 6 down vote accepted

It has a new name, and three years worth of Vista's self-improvement.

Windows 7 isn't much better than Vista. It's better, certainly, but not massively second-coming-of-christ sort of better. Anybody who truly didn't like Vista for good reasons (and they were there) probably won't find much to love in 7 either, but for those who just disliked vista because, well, it's vista (See: Mojave), Windows 7 provides a fast, solid OS that they don't have to deny themselves.

As an example of something improved, the window drawing code is slightly better, giving everything the appearance of greater speed.

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What Phoshi said. However, the I/O has also been improved. Less thrashing of disk, more focus on startup speed, and (in my opinion) a cleaner UI.

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Windows 7 has big changes in the graphics subsystem. In vista some graphics operations are done by the CPU, some by the GPU. This means vista must keep a bitmap of each window in main memory, as well as a bitmap of each window in video memory.

In 7 much more is done by the GPU which improves graphics speed and also there is no need to keep a bitmap of each window in main memory. If you have lots of windows open this saves a lot of memory. Also GDI+ is now multi-threaded and more than one app can use GDI at once.

More details here:

Also 7 and server 2008 R2 have a completely re-written scheduler which quite likely is leading to some of windows 7's perceved quicker performance.
More about that here:

(I'd make that a proper hyperlink but apparently I can't because I'm a new user :(

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The task bar is a landmark achievement for me. I disabled the quicklaunch bar in every previous version of Windows due to real estate issues - now I can take advantage of its benefits without it always being in the way. Also, since I can rearrange icons, the applications I always have open are always in the same place. It simply feels better.

UAC has been massively improved as well. In Vista, I turned it off, but in Win 7 it's not getting in my way all the time. Shift+Clicking for the extended menu in Explorer has many of the items I used to wish were there (command prompt, run as administrator or another user).

I liked Vista (lots actually), but it wasn't enough to make me switch at home from XP. 1 day of playing with a friend's Win 7 install and I bought it for all 3 of my computers.

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Vista's UAC didn't get in the way all the time either. – Phoshi Oct 25 '09 at 15:44
@Phoshi: For some people it does more than others. I didn't turn it off on other people's machines, just mine. – Sam Harwell Oct 25 '09 at 17:11
@both: In my opinion the only thing UAC was that is actually blocked out everything with a completely different look (no windows underneath etc.). So I would say UAC can't be the ticket to "so much better Windows 7" – Robert Koritnik Oct 26 '09 at 17:58
@Robert: That's why I wrote it as an afterthought. The task bar is what got me to switch - it's seriously an enormous improvement. – Sam Harwell Oct 26 '09 at 18:07
@280Z28: Really? I wonder why aren't you an OS X user then? Because superbar acts very very similar to OS X one. (though I must admit that "hardware reserved" memory problem bothers me a lot, but I don't want to downgrade due to superbar as well). – Robert Koritnik Oct 26 '09 at 18:15

The main difference is a couple more years vendors had to update their drivers. By far the biggest reason of Vista crashes were bad drivers (especially NVIDIA) - here's a link to source. This article sums up my own experiences as well.

Apart from that, there were a quite a lot of minor bugfixes and some improvements which didn't make it in time for Vista, like the superbar and multitouch, but drivers are the main noticeable difference.

Windows 7 lowered the annoyance level of Vista quite a bit, because Microsoft made a lot of effort to listen to the critics. What you're seeing is basically that people are now less annoyed and starting to notice good things which came with Vista but were overshadowed by problems. Everything else is media feeding frenzy and FUD on all sides.

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