Windows 7 is the latest version of Windows. Released in 2009, Windows 7 has been universally praised for being much better than Windows Vista, which was panned by users and critics alike.

Comparison chart

Windows 7 versus Windows Vista comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartWindows 7Windows Vista
  • current rating is 3.68/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(360 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.39/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(220 ratings)
Introduction (from Wikipedia) Windows 7, (formerly codenamed Blackcomb and Vienna) was the latest version of Microsoft Windows until Windows 8, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers. Windows Vista is a line of operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs.
Kernel type Hybrid Hybrid
Update method Windows Update Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services, SCCM
License Trialware, Microsoft EULA Microsoft EULA
Preceded by Windows Vista (2007) Windows XP (2001)
Developer Microsoft Microsoft
Source model Closed source / Shared source Closed source / Shared source
Company / developer Microsoft Microsoft
Latest release SP1 (7601.17514) (November 19, 2010) SP2 2019 Update Rollup (With Server 2008 updates, 6003.20597) (March 12, 2019)
Default user interface Windows Aero Windows Aero
Platforms IA-32, x86-64 IA-32, x86-64
Supported architectures IA-32, x86-64 IA-32, x86-64
Released to manufacturing July 22, 2009; 10 years ago November 8, 2006; 13 years ago
Windows Aero user interface Yes (added Aero Peek, Aero Snap and Aero Shake) Yes
General availability October 22, 2009; 11 years ago January 30, 2007; 14 years ago
Multi-touch supported Yes No
Available User Account Control (UAC) options 4 options (Always notify/Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer/Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop)/Never notify) 2 options (On/Off)
Succeded by Windows 8 (2012) Windows 7 (2009)
Hardware Restrictions Windows 7 Home Premium allows only 16GB of RAM while Pro, Ultimate, Enterprise allows 192GB of RAM Windows Vista Home Premium allows only 16GB of RAM while Ultimate allows 128GB of RAM
Sidebar No (updated without sidebar) Yes

Speed and Performance of Windows 7 vs Windows Vista

Windows 7 has better speed and performance compared to Windows Vista.

User Interface Differences in Windows 7 vs Vista



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. Six new "Aero Themes" are included.


Windows Vista introduced Gadgets and a sidebar which provides the ability to anchor Gadgets to the side of the user's desktop. In Windows 7, the sidebar has been removed, while gadgets can still be placed on the desktop. Windows 7 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


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 Start menu

Windows 7's Start menu retains the two-column layout of its predecessors, with several functional changes:

Windows 7 Taskbar Differences

Window management mouse gestures in Windows 7

New Keyboard shortcuts in Windows 7

A variety of new keyboard shortcuts have been introduced in Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista.

Global keyboard shortcuts:


Font management

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[13] has also been updated to show previews of the font selection in the selection lists.

Device Management in Windows 7 vs Windows Vista

There are two major new user interface components for device management in Windows 7, "Devices and Printers" and "Device Stage". Both of these 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

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. For example, an external monitor connected to the system will be displayed as a device, but the internal monitor on a laptop will not.

This new Control Panel applet also replaces the "Printers" window in Windows Vista; common printer operations such as setting the default printer, installing or removing printers, and configuring properties such as paper size are done through this control panel.

Device Stage

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 task bar, 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.

Touch features in Windows 7

An overview of the multi-touch capabilities of Windows 7, including a virtual piano program, a mapping and directions program and a touch-aware version of Paint, was demonstrated at the All Things Digital Conference on May 27, 2008. A video demonstrating the multi-touch capabilities was later made available on the web.

Windows 7 File System Features

Solid state drives

In order to take advantage of the capabilities and unique performance characteristics of solid-state drives, Windows 7 will turn off Windows Disk Defragmenter, and will make use of the new SSD TRIM command to physically erase logically deleted data more aggressively.

Virtual hard disks

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 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.

Disk partitioning

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.

Removable Media

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 (from a single hub) 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.

BitLocker to Go

BitLocker 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.


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Windows 7 vs Windows Vista." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 10 Apr 2021. < >