Well, do you see the screenshot of the desktop above? That’s the crystal clear and the clean Windows 7 right there! This superb OS is running on my laptop computer, and it has been running successfully since I purchased the laptop preloaded with Windows 7 in 2011.
Windows 7 beats the other modern operating systems including the metro based Windows 8 and 8.1 and the newly launched Windows 10 technical preview in all fields such as performance, model, speed, networking and enhancements. According to the surveys collected by Microsoft, Windows 7 is the most used and preferred OS, with a market share of 50.2%.
The next best is the teenage old OS, Windows XP, with a market share of 26%. Windows Vista and Windows 8.1 operating systems’ shares have registered a steady increase after the retirement of Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Both these operating systems have registered their shares between 15-20% respectively as of 31st October 2014.
Personally, I have used Windows Vista and Windows 7 the most, as compared to Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows XP. I will rate Windows 7 as number one in my preferred OS list and Windows Vista at the bottom above 95, 98 and XP. So, in short I will mention the differences between a more prospering OS and a less prospering OS.
- Support for themes has been extended in Windows 7. In addition to setting the colors of the window chrome and desktop background, themes in Windows 7 include a sound set and desktop slideshow settings. The default theme is titled Windows 7, which consists of a single desktop background codenamed Harmony and the same sound set as Windows Vista. Also, six new aero themes has been included.
- Windows Vista introduced Gadgets and a sidebar which provides the ability to anchor Gadgets to the side of the user’s desktop. But in Windows 7, the sidebar has been eliminated and gadgets can be placed on the desktop as it is. Windows 7 also adds a Windows Media Center gadget to the default collection, while removing the Contacts and Notes gadgets. Unlike Windows Vista, all gadgets run in a single process, which saves memory and the process is not run at all if the user has no gadgets on the desktop.
- Windows Explorer in Windows 7 supports Libraries, which are virtual folders that aggregate content from various locations and present them in a unified view. Searching in a library automatically federates the query to the remote systems, in addition to searching on the local system, so that files on the remote systems are also searched. Unlike search folders, Libraries are backed by a physical location which allows files to be saved in the Libraries.
- Windows 7’s Start menu retains the two-column layout of its predecessors. The classic version of the Start menu from Windows 95 is no longer available. Also, The Documents, Pictures and Music buttons now link to the Libraries of the same name. Additionally, a Devices and Printers option has been added that displays a new device manager.
- The shut down icon in Windows Vista has been replaced with a text link indicating what action will be taken when the icon is clicked in Windows 7. The default action to take is now configurable through the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window. Also, The search box, first introduced with Windows Vista, has been extended to support searching Control Panel items.
- The taskbar is 10 pixels taller than in Windows Vista to accommodate touch screen input and a new larger default icon size, and a smaller taskbar size is also available. Running applications are denoted by a border frame around the icon. Also, the Quick Launch Toolbar has been removed. The Windows 7 taskbar is more application oriented than window oriented as applications can now be pinned to the taskbar, allowing the user instant access to the applications they commonly use.
- Thumbnail previews which were introduced in Windows Vista have been expanded to not only preview the windows opened by the application in a small-sized thumbnail view, but to also interact with them. The user can close any windows opened by clicking the X button on the corresponding thumbnail preview. The name of the window is also shown in the thumbnail previews. Another new feature added is the ability to get a peek of the window by hovering over the thumbnail preview by using the Aero effect.
- Jump lists are menu options available from right-clicking any of the icons on the taskbar or by holding the left mouse button and sliding up on an icon. Each application will have unique jump lists which will correspond to the features unique to the application. It has been improved for Windows 7.
- In the previous versions of Windows, the taskbar ended with the notification area on the right side. However, there is now the Aero Peek button. If the button is clicked, all applications are minimized, and when clicked again, they are restored. Also, Windows can be dragged to the top of the screen to maximize them and dragged away to restore them. Dragging a window to the left or right of the screen makes it take up half the screen allowing the user to tile two windows next to each other.
- The Notification Area has been redesigned in Windows 7. The Volume, Network, Power and Action Center status icons are present, but no other application icons are shown unless the user has chosen for them to be shown. A new Notification Area Icons has been added in the Control Panel. In addition to being able to configure whether the application icons are shown, the ability to hide each application’s notification balloons has been added. The user can then view the notifications at a later time.
- The user interface for font management has been overhauled. As with Windows Vista, the collection of installed fonts is shown in a Windows Explorer window, but fonts from the same font family appear as stacks instead of as individual icons. The font dialog box has also been updated to show previews of the font selection in the selection lists.
- There are two major new user interface components for device management in Windows 7. These are Devices and Printers and Device Stage. Both of them are integrated with Windows Explorer, and together provide a simplified view of what devices are connected to the computer, and what capabilities they support.
- Devices and Printers is a new Control Panel interface that is directly accessible from the Start menu. Unlike the Device Manager Control Panel applet, which is still present, the icons shown on the Devices and Printers screen is limited to components of the system that a non-expert user will recognize as plug-in devices. This new Control Panel applet also replaces the Printers window in Windows Vista, and common printer operations such as setting the default printer, installing or removing printers.
- Device Stage provides a centralized location for an externally connected multi-function device to present its functionality to the user. When a device such as a portable music player is connected to the system, the device appears as an icon on the taskbar, as well as in Windows Explorer. Opening the icon presents a window that displays actions relevant to that device. Device status information such as free memory and battery life can also be shown.
- The Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows 7 incorporate support for the Virtual Hard Disk(VHD) file format. VHD files can be mounted as drives, created, and booted from, in the same way as Windows Imaging Format(WIM) files. Furthermore, an installed version of Windows 7 can be booted and run from a VHD drive, even on non-virtual hardware, thereby providing a new way to multi-boot Windows.
- The default disk partitioning structure in Windows 7 is to create two partitions- the first for booting, Bitlocker and running the Windows Recovery Environment and second to install the operating system. Additionally, BitLocker Drive Encryption brings encryption support to removable disks such as USB drives. Such devices can be protected by a passphrase, a recovery key, or be automatically unlocked on a computer.
- Windows 7 has also seen improvements to the Safely Remove Hardware menu, including the ability to eject just one camera card at the same time and retain the ports for future use without reboot, and removable media is now also listed under its label rather than just its drive letter like it was in Windows Vista.
Well, that all sums up the advantages of Windows over Windows Vista. Hope that you would brush through the advantages and think twice what OS you want to install and use it. Henceforth, in short, I would say that Windows 7 is a safe, fast, clean, popular and an excellent OS, having superb performance improvements. Please note the following excerpt below:-
Additionally, the mainstream support for this OS ended on January 13, 2015. Don’t get alarmed, folks? It means that no more features will be added or removed and no service packs will be issued by the Microsoft. However, the OS will continue to get its security hotfixes and critical updates. Windows 7 will continue to work wonders for another five long years, which is the extended support. Windows 7 will pull out its plugs officially on January 14, 2020. For now, sit back and relax and relish the performance of this sleek OS for another five years.