Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
Windows 7 Features Not Found In Previous Versions

To be exact: What are the biggest pros (for superuser) of migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7?

share|improve this question
2  
This is really crying for community wiki. –  alex Jan 10 '10 at 22:21
    
Well there are some advantages, which aren't really debatable. And I don't consider this a dupe of the question on differences between Windows versions. That question was more general about features you would lose or gain –  Ivo Flipse Jan 15 '10 at 10:37
    
This question is as vague as the dupe: superuser.com/questions/4287/… How is a feature not a pro? –  random Jan 15 '10 at 15:50
add comment

marked as duplicate by random, alex, fretje, Diago Jan 16 '10 at 10:10

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

9 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Improved Memory Management: RAM is cheap and plentiful - 7 will use your RAM to speed up program loading and executing, which has a huge effect on system performance.

Improved UI: The new taskbar is more application orientated, rather than document orientated - XP's UI made sense at the time, but the world has moved on, and being able to more easily switch between many programs is a huge advantage.

Improved Search: I almost didn't put Improved in there, because XP's search... didn't really work, and when it did, it wasn't fast. 7's search is accessible from either the start menu, or any explorer window, and searches files, folders, and subfolders almost instantly. Much better.

Improved Driver Structure: This is 90% of the reason Vista was received badly - the way drivers interact with the OS was completely overhauled. The effect a few years down the line, is that drivers have a much harder time crashing your PC, making:

Improved Stability: Bringing down a Windows 7 system isn't easy. XP is quite stable, but 7 is solid as a rock.

Improved Security: The dreaded UAC, is in fact not as bad as it's made out to be. In the *nix world, nothing runs as root unless it has to - with UAC, neither do applications on windows. It's not perfect (far from it, Vista's was much better), but every little helps.

Improved Desktop Drawing: The Desktop Window Manager, responsible for all of the fancy glass effects, is a much faster way of drawing windows - meaning you spend less of those annoying moments where it takes half a second for the window below another to redraw - with 7, it's already there, instantly. It's also responsible for powering Aero Peek, the window previews you get when you hover over a taskbar preview.

All in all, 7 (and indeed, Vista) is a huge improvement over XP (because really, it's what? 8 years old now? It can't be expected to keep up with the times - it's is over), and is a hugely recommended upgrade for just about anybody - including netbook users.

share|improve this answer
4  
+1. Also for pointing out that Vista made great progress in many points here already which almost went by unnoticed due to its bad reputation. –  Joey Jan 10 '10 at 14:41
    
Yeah, if the question had have been the biggest pros relative to Vista, I'd have the new UI and very little else. –  Phoshi Jan 10 '10 at 15:08
1  
"Bringing down a Windows 7 system isn't easy" ... obviously not for this fella :) superuser.com/questions/93903/minidump-folder-cannot-be-found –  Molly7244 Jan 10 '10 at 17:11
1  
haha, we can't all be perfect :P –  Phoshi Jan 10 '10 at 19:05
    
The Improved Desktop Drawing came with Vista, I think, when Windows switched from a stacking window manager, GDI+ I believe it's called, to a compositing window manager. –  Nathaniel Jan 11 '10 at 0:23
show 2 more comments

Security is very much improved. This makes installations and upgrades far more bearable. XP is a 9+ year old OS. Linux is way better on old hardware.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I would say that UI is the killer feature. Even though speed has increased dramatically in comparison to Windows Vista, speed of Vista was not much of an issue if you have enough ram >=2gb. Windows 7 runs fine on 1 GB RAM too. My personal best is Aero snap that can open two windows side-by-side. Once you get used to it, you can't work on any other OS ;) Apart from that Superbar, Libraries, Aeropeek etc are some other to mention.

share|improve this answer
add comment

My favourite is User mode drivers. I have an ATI card in my laptop, and when their driver crashes(which happens more often than I'd like), the OS acts almost like I'm changing my theme and 5 seconds later I can continue with my "work".

share|improve this answer
    
Doesn't it mean ATi will be even more careless about the stability of its drivers? –  grawity Jan 10 '10 at 19:31
    
ATI's drivers have been, in my experience, better than nVidia's (not that that's saying much), but the death of a driver on win7 is still very noticable - it just doesn't take the system down. –  Phoshi Jan 10 '10 at 21:00
    
Of course it's noticeable. The software which manages your display hardware just failed. You cannot go around that. But at least it doesn't take long and isn't too different from changing between Aero and Aero Basic. –  miloshadzic Jan 11 '10 at 16:04
add comment

the Windows 7 taskbar is quite impressive and offers some useful features indeed but i like to keep things simple and i'm more of a keyboard jockey anyway, so a flashy UI doesn't really do anything for me, besides most of these so called innovative improvements have been made available by 3rd party developers for XP, using far less resources than their Microsoft counterparts (e.g. AeroSnap, WinFlip and especially ViStart which is running circles around Windows Desktop Search).

on machines with more than 4 GB RAM i opt for Windows 7 x64 because it certainly is a major improvement over older 64-bit Windows operating systems, on other machines i'm perfectly happy with 32-bit Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server (still my favorite!) and i have yet to see programs XP can't run as good as Windows 7 (since i'm not much of a gamer i couldn't be bothered with DirectX 10 or 11).

share|improve this answer
1  
To be fair, WinFlip isn't anywhere NEAR as fast - and the MS counterparts are doing a lot more than just providing fancy visuals. –  Phoshi Jan 10 '10 at 15:10
    
and Windows Search isn't anywhere NEAR as fast as ViStart, nevermind Everything. as i said, strip off the fancy stuff (which i don't really crave for) and there ain't much left that would make me want to change. –  Molly7244 Jan 10 '10 at 15:21
    
Everything is lovely and fast, true, but one simply ends up bogging their system down if they install enough of these "lightweight" features - and you still can't emulate security or stability. –  Phoshi Jan 10 '10 at 15:50
    
for "security and stability" give me a No-BS server OS, but don't bother me with consumer stuff, will ya? :) and your praised security and stability (where did you pick that up? some commercial ad? :) depends foremost on the folks who are using it and their responsibility, i have seen windows 7 machines thoroughly effed up within the hour they have been connected. –  Molly7244 Jan 10 '10 at 16:15
1  
every little helps :) –  Molly7244 Jan 10 '10 at 19:15
show 1 more comment

I migrated from Vista to Win7 for one reason - improved taskbar. I often have around 20 windows open and I use "Switcher" which acts as "Expose" on Mac but it becomes more difficult to look for window with several windows... the Win7 taskbar tidies up nicely and lets me view all windows of each application rather than all windows of all applications. Desktop Window Manager is also much more robust.

Unexpected benefit is the search - it finally works! It looks what you're expecting for it to look for and that's significant if you have several thousand of files to deal with.

As for stability, since installing Windows 7, I don't recall a crash but I would never say it never crashes - all operating systems crash because they're written by humans making mistakes or that there's a defect in hardware but I can say that I don't have crashes as far as I remember.

Speed is slower although it may seem "faster" but that's the graphics doing the work. I suspect if I upgrade graphics card, it'd even be "faster" yet the overall CPU performance may be slower since Win7 has a lot more code to execute.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Most of the answers here have focused on UI improvements, which I would agree are awesome additions. I think there are quite a few changes other than the UI which are noteworthy, too:

  • Networking: gone is the confusing "simple file sharing" from Windows XP. You can adjust custom options on network shares, or use a simple sharing wizard. You also tell Windows what type of network you're on when you connect to a new network, and it configures settings accordingly, so that your shared folders are available on your home network, but not on the network at the coffee shop's wifi.
  • Troubleshooting: a lot of things can basically "fix themselves" now. The built-in troubleshooter seems to work pretty well for some hardware problems and such.
  • Installation: You won't be installing windows all the time, but the process is much more user-friendly. Also, windows updates can be applied during the installation process if the computer's connected to the internet, making things easier. More devices get their drivers installed automatically now, too... rarely do you have to hunt on the OEM's website.
  • Stability: Windows XP was pretty stable, but Windows 7 is even more so, from my experience, and this is on the exact same hardware I used to have XP on.
share|improve this answer
add comment

The killer feature for me on my laptop is crazy fast hibernations. Yeah, it has a lot of other cool stuff, but nothing that I couldn't live without on XP or Vista. But hibernation on XP was basically broken and on Vista it took forever and a day. In Windows 7 I can hibernate and wake up in < 10 seconds which all of the sudden makes my laptop much more useful in a whole bunch of new ways. I can take notes and quickly run out to do something else, or use it to quickly look something up as needed. This is my favorite feature of Windows 7.

share|improve this answer
    
And the fact that hibernation just works. I press the power button on the front of the box: it goes to sleep in seconds. I press it again: it wakes up in seconds. Haven't rebooted or logged off since I got the machine a few weeks after the Windows 7 launch, unless asked to do so by Windows Update. –  Lunatik Jan 10 '10 at 23:19
    
Sweeeetness! That sounds super nice. –  Nathaniel Jan 11 '10 at 0:24
add comment

Two words: speed, stability

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.