History: Back in 2015, Windows 7 was superior to Windows 10 but not by a wide margin. Back then, Windows 7 was a mature operating system that ran software well, and in a predictable manner.
It is now 2018. Now Windows 10 is overall better than Windows 7. Yes, Windows 10 does have some distinct flaws but they are no longer show-stopping flaws.
A number of people have held back from updating to Windows 10 because of possible problems, or they are uncomfortable with the new Windows 10 user interface design. This post will compare some of the essential features of Windows 7 alongside their Windows 10 equivalents.
The following summary of core features is what makes Windows 10 what it is:
- Cortana is Microsoft’s version of a digital assistant. It will set reminders, give information, and help you write text messages and emails.
- Windows Hello is a biometric security system that uses facial recognition or a fingerprint scan to log you into Windows 10 and authenticate Store purchases.
- Virtual Desktop allows you to create multiple desktops that you can switch between with the click of a button. You can move windows between desktops and easily keep track of multiple ongoing projects.
- Windows Ink has a growing number of compatible apps that let you edit, annotate, and doodle with a digital pen. It’s incredibly easy to take notes, and you can even create works of art.
- Edge is Microsoft’s signature web browser and its Internet Explorer replacement. It’s designed for the modern internet user. Options are an e-reader function and new extensions.
- Windows Defender is software that protects your computer from viruses and malware. It runs full-time and will let you know if anything suspicious is happening or if it thinks you’re about to do something unsafe. It also receives constant updates to ensure it’s protecting as well as possible.
- Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) offers the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
More like Windows 7
One of the biggest complaints from those upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is the overall look and feel.
See this link for how have Windows 10 look and feel more like Windows 7
Windows 10 Desktop design
With Windows 10 the Desktop has become flat, colourful and squared, whereas with Windows 7 there is more glassy, rounded look and use of colour gradients.
Windows 10 has simplified Icons, but not beyond the point of basic recognition – (swapping the rounded look for something flat).
It does take time to get used to the new Desktop desaign of Windows 10, however, there are ways to bring a taste of Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Windows 10 search
Search has become ever more important in operating systems, as file and folder hierarchies have become less important and searching for a specific filename has become a popular way of finding important files – especially amidst messy desktops and haphazardly organised Documents folders.
Windows 7 had a terrific search function built in the Start Menu, finding files and folders on network shares as well as those stored locally.
Windows 10 searches still hook into the Bing search engine and also look for apps in the Windows Store. Even more annoyingly these results are placed ahead of search results for installed apps, files and folders with no option to change this order. Amazingly, the ability to search your computer and network shares simultaneously is still missing.
However, you can at least easily perform more advanced searches from the Start Menu by clicking on the My Stuff button. This lets you filter by relevance or date, and can also narrow down your search to specific file types including documents, photos, music and settings.
Windows 10 also includes Cortana, the personal assistant feature from Windows Phone.
On Windows 7 you’ would click the Start Button and start searching for content.
On Windows 10, there is a new assistant called Cortana – this Microsoft’s digital assistant.
Cortana appears right next to the Start Button, and it does much more than search your local computer, it can also search the web. Cortana is basically meant as a digital assistant – as well as handling all your searches; it will also keep track of dates and events with alert reminders.
Cortana first appeared on Windows Phone, where it used sophisticated speech recognition via the built-in microphone. Cortana in Windows 10 works with a microphone.
This has become a major part of Windows 10 doing double duty as a web search and a Start Menu/Windows search. Plus the ability to search by voice is both impressive in its accurate transcription and in its usefulness for those less abled.
Cortana can search your PC for files, applications and settings, just like the search tool in earlier versions of Windows, but you can also ask it more general questions and even use it to search the web — just ask it a question, as you would a person. You can also give Cortana commands — try asking it to send an email, or make an appointment for something on a certain date.
Typing is not the only way to interact with Cortana, if your computer has a microphone, you can use your voice, too. Click the microphone icon to the right of the Search box and follow the on-screen instructions to get things working — you’ll need to read a short sentence aloud as part of the set-up. Now, you can then click the microphone icon to talk to Cortana, rather than type. Other than speaking clearly, you don’t need to talk in a certain way to use Cortana — just talk as you normally do.
Windows 10 Start Menu vs Windows 7 Start Menu
The Windows Start Menu was was replaced with a Start Screen back in Windows 8.
Microsoft has brought the Start Menu back for Windows 10, it is, however, a lot more interactive than Windows 7.
You still see lists of software and files, but alongside them are Live Tiles of apps.
Windows 10 Action Center
The Action Center in Windows 10 keeps hold of all notifications, whether it’s about a system error or an simple notification. On the taskbar, look for the action center icon.
The Windows 7 action center is still present – it has been renamed to Security and Maintenance.
In Windows 7, system alerts for events disappear after several seconds – at least with Windows 10 you can view them anytime in the Action Center.
The new Action Center will show some options you never had before, such as battery saver mode and tablet mode.
Launch the Action Center by clicking the square box with three lines in the taskbar. A number will be displayed next to it if you have any unopened alerts.
It’s split into two, with notifications at the top and quick actions at the bottom.
When you get a notification, click the down arrow to view it or click the X to dismiss. Alternatively to remove them click Clear all.
The Edge browser
With Windows 10 Microsoft introduced a brand new browser “Edge”, promoting it as being better suited to the modern web.
Edge is fast, with a elegantly visual design, and features a variety of advanced capabilities such as being able to annotate web pages and then send the image to others, it has Cortana integration, a new simplified reading mode that clears out the clutter on a screen, and a number of other improvements.
In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has added extensions, web notifications and the option to clear your browsing history on exit, making it a more modern web browser over Internet Explorer.
Edge is fully intended to replace Internet Explorer; see support ending on most versions of Internet Explorer, however the moment you use both browsers on Windows 10.
There is no Edge offer for on older versions of Windows, so you need Windows 10 to use it. Edge has a clean new look, as well as a tidy area for downloads, history, favourites and a reading list.
Edge’s security blanket: WDAG
One key feature which has finally reached Windows is Windows Defender Application Guard, a sort of browser “super sandbox” which was restricted to enterprise versions of Windows, but has now been added to Windows 10 Pro in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.
Windows 10’s “Windows Defender Application Guard” feature runs the Microsoft Edge browser in an isolated, virtualized container. Even if a malicious website exploited a flaw in Edge, it cannot compromise your PC.
Note: Application Guard is disabled by default.
WDAG creates a virtual sandbox for your Edge browser, although you’ll need to turn on the feature within the Control Panel (Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows Features On and Off). If you’re browsing the risky ‘dark depths’ of the Web within Edge, do it with WDAG enabled.
SECURITY FEATURES: Comparing Windows 7 to Windows 10
Microsoft praises its Windows 10 as being the most secure operating system that it has ever created. It seems that statistics performed by various analytic companies have reached the same conclusion as well.
Windows 7 has been the most successful and ubiquitous operating system in Microsoft history. While it has served us well for the last five years, the
reality is that it doesn’t offer the level of protection you need to deal with the new security threats that we’re all facing. Although you can add layers of
defense with 3rd party products, keep in mind that all of the organizations we’ve been reading about in the news already did that and it wasn’t enough.
These modern challenges require a new platform. Here are some of the ways in which Windows 10 provides that platform.
Webroot reported that only 15 percent of the total known malware files in 2017 were found on Windows 10 systems, while 63 percent of the known malicious files were found on Windows 7 systems.
There are a number of reasons for this pronounced imbalance, but a major difference is that Windows 10 forces automatic updates, while Windows 7 allows users to fully control when updates are installed.
There’s no doubt that Microsoft attempted to “harden” Windows 10 against many of the known exploit strategies used by malicious code writers, which is also a likely contributor. A great example of this was seen during the WannaCry ransomware attacks last year, as the vast majority of victims were running Windows 7, and Windows 10 users were completely unaffected.
Malware occurrence statistics at 2017
Malware occurrence for Home users was 0.07% for Windows 10 users, 0.16% for Windows 7 users, and 0.17% for Windows XP. Webroot’s conclusion is that Windows 10 on business devices is more than 50% more secure compared to Windows 7 on Home devices.
It’s always up to date
Much has been made of the way in which users can’t opt out of Windows Updates with Windows 10, but that’s hardly a bad thing. While a rogue update can certainly cause problems, these are minor when compared to the benefits this new approach brings.
With Windows 10, it’s no longer possible to forget to run Windows Update, which means you’re much less likely to miss a critical operating system patch that fixes a serious security problem.
Even if you’re on the ball with security, it is likely other Windows users won’t be. People who switch off Windows Update in Windows 7 because they find it ‘annoying’, for example, pose a major security threat.
By forcing all Windows 10 users to stay up to date, everyone’s online safety is improved, since it reduces the risk of a PC being compromised by a hacker and becoming part of a botnet that could be used to attack your PC.
Performance tests have shown that Windows 10 is faster across the board than earlier versions of Windows. Windows 10 boots, goes to sleep and wakes from sleep marginally faster than Windows 10 on a PC of the same specification, which means less waiting around when you want to do something.
Application performance is more of a mixed bag, with tests showing Windows 10 to be faster than Windows 7 with some apps and slower with others. Bear in mind that Microsoft will update Windows 10 regularly, though, while Windows 7 is now essentially frozen in its current state after ‘mainstream’ support ended in January 2015.
Most of the newer CPUs and chipsets are not supported by Windows 7 or Microsoft updates anymore.
Microsoft cautions that Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have limited support when running on new processes and chipsets from manufacturers like Intel, AMD, NVidia, and Qualcomm. Users should be aware of the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) support period, as this can hinder performance.
The ‘Unsupported Hardware‘ error message that people are starting to see is shown above.
Skylake CPU home-build PC users will face a similar problem in 15 months time if they are running Windows 7 or 8.1. From 17th July 2018 Microsoft will stop providing OS updates to such PCs, “likely” (seen) accompanied by an error message like the one above.
More important is the addition of DirectX 12 support, a low-level graphics API designed to increase 3D graphics performance with lower overheads while giving developers more control over how hardware is used.
Further, Windows 10 provides better built-in support for newer types of hardware including secure boot capabilities with UEFI, USB 3.0, Bluetooth adapters, high-definition screens (ie better scaling), and solid state drives (eg NVMe).
With UEFI, Windows 10 machines boot up and resume from sleep dramatically faster than Windows 7. Almost instant-on was needed for smartphone and tablet use, of course, but it still benefits PC users.
Windows 10 apps
With Windows 10 there are Apps that are similiar to the Apps on smartphones and tablets.
Windows 10 feature a Windows Store where you can download an array of apps (just like with your smartphone or tablet).
These apps are for things like Facebook, because it makes accessing the social network quicker and easier. There are many apps to choose from, be it for news or games – many of which are free.
On Windows 7 you’re confined to the standard applications available on all Windows platforms.
There are some challenging software losses with Windows 10 however, such as lack of DVD playback support.
Why has Microsoft removed DVD support on Windows 10?
The exact reason is unknown but it may be a licensing issue. By having no DVD support, the company can save money on certain permissions required to play DVDs. Instead, Microsoft is offering an app that allows users to play DVDs called Windows DVD Player.
According to Microsoft you are eligible for the free Windows DVD Player app if you upgraded from Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate, and Windows 8/8.1 Pro with Media Center.
Windows 10 Versions
There are now three different versions of Windows 10 for buyers to consider: Home, Pro, and the newer 10 S.
Windows 10 Home
Home users will also be able to utilise the all-new Virtual Desktops option and Snap assist feature with up to 4 apps on one screen. Furthermore, they can also give a whirl to Continuum, a flagship feature of Windows 10 that lets you quickly switch from desktop mode to tablet mode. You are also bestowed with Microsoft Edge, the brand new browser in town.
The Home edition also supports Windows Updates (automatic updates from Microsoft) – and also provides security measures such as Microsoft Passport.
Windows 10 Pro
The Pro edition of Windows 10, in addition to all of Home edition’s features, offers sophisticated connectivity and privacy tools such as Domain Join, Group Policy Management, Bitlocker, Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE), Assigned Access 8.1, Remote Desktop, Client Hyper-V, and Direct Access.
Windows 10 S
Windows 10 S is a new version of Windows that Microsoft designed to run on lighter devices: That ‘S’ doesn’t have a specific designation, but Microsoft generally surrounds it with words like security, streamlined, superior performance … you get the idea. This is a version of Windows 10 with a lighter footprint, which allows it to work faster on cheaper laptops (thus competing more directly with Chromebooks, a key purpose of Windows 10 S). This makes 10 S an alternative for individuals and companies that can’t afford to spend a lot on expensive laptops or tablets but still need Windows 10.
Windows 10 Version Feature Summary
|Windows 10 Home||Windows 10 Pro||Windows 10 S|
|Cortana||Yes||Yes (including O365 integration)||Yes|
|Windows Hello Sign-In||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Virtualization Services||No||Remote Desktop, Client Hyper-V, Shared PC||No|
|App Availability||Windows Store and Third Party||Windows Store and Third Party (subject to administrator control)||Windows Store|
|Browsers||All available, including Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari||All available||Edge|