5 Ways Windows 7 Beats Windows Vista

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

Windows 7 Starter Edition

UPDATE: Windows Essentials has been discontinued by Microsoft. This information is being retained for archive purposes.

When Windows 7 came out it started doing very well in the market almost right away thanks to the widespread dissatisfaction with Windows Vista. Whether that was fair or unfair the reality is that most people hated Vista and poured out a lot of love for Windows 7.

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.

1. Increased Speed. Windows 7, unlike previous versions of Windows, didn't have 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.

I've noticed a significant improvement in how fast applications open and close, and how quickly my laptop boots up. 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 isn't recommended the practice, but it can work for some people. This flexibility in hardware demands demonstrates how much leaner Microsoft made Windows 7.

2. Fewer non-essential programs. Microsoft cut out a lot of the fat with Windows 7 by dropping a number of programs that were included with Vista – programs the majority of us never used. Did you ever use Windows Live Writer, Microsoft's blogging tool? Me neither.

All those programs – Photo Gallery, Messenger, Movie Maker and so on – were available if you needed them through Microsoft'sWindows Live Essentials website. 

3. 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 (and better-looking, in my opinion).

The System Tray in particular has been cleaned up. It doesn't string out 31 icons across the bottom of your screen anymore, and it's easy to customize how those icons are displayed.

4. "Devices and Printers" section. Windows 7 has adds 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!

5. Stability. Windows 7 is more stable than Vista. At the outset, 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 I started recommending Vista to others. I have no qualms about recommending Windows 7, however.

There you have it. There are many other improvements Windows 7 has over Vista, but those are five key ones. This isn't to say that Vista is terrible, because it really isn't. It's just that Windows 7 is far more refined. It keeps the good and deletes the bad from Vista, and adds some much needed improvements to Windows overall. However, Microsoft officially ended support for Live Essentials on January 10, 2017.