Windows 7 May be Newer, but is XP Still Better?Posted: November 30, 2011
I must admit, I love XP! In fact, I have often said there will never be a better OS out there, and in a lot of ways I still believe that. XP is extremely stable and, to this day, is still the most popular OS. XP held the majority of the market share for 10 years before it was barely overtaken by Windows 7 in April of this year, by the meager margin of 31.71% to 31.56%. An OS that’s 10 years old, and still popular is unheard of (10 years old is “Ancient” in the technology industry). This would be the equivalent of a 105 year old man driving teen girls nutty; along with their cougar mothers, a rate that puts that pouty Edward dude from the Twilight movies to shame.
For an OS that’s a decade old to even still be in circulation is impressive enough, but to still, overall, be the people’s choice is mind blowing! Alas, however, XP is aging and technology is not; plus, Microsoft is pushing their newest OS, Windows 7, into the forefront and forcing XP into the retirement home. This brings us to the question of the day, “Windows 7 may be newer, but is XP still better?” The answer to that question is a bit convoluted – it’s yes and no. It really depends on what angle you approach the question from. If we approach it from a consumer preference standpoint, XP is still the dominant player. In fact, I can confidently say if Microsoft, equally supported both Windows 7 and XP; and brought back XP 64-bit, XP’s market share would be at least 10% higher than 7’s. However, that is not the reality, as Microsoft has the bulk of its resources firmly behind Windows 7.
Another perspective to approach this question is your PC’s physical setup. For example, if you have a lower end PC setup (1GB RAM, 200GB HDD, and a Pentium 4 processor), XP is the OS for you. It is lightweight and capable of running on very little resources; whereas, the more resource intense Windows 7 is not. On the other hand, if you have a higher end PC setup (6GB+ RAM, 1TB HDD and a Dual Core Processer) Windows 7 is the OS you need; as XP isn’t capable of utilizing that large amount of resources. Although the fact is, it’s between these 2 extremes that the average Joe resides, with their middle of the road PC. So, for the average PC (4GB of RAM 500GB HDD and a dual core processor) which OS is the best?
It’s undeniable that Windows 7 is a very solid and stable OS. In truth, if we approach this question from the perspective of functionality; which is the most logical perspective, we will clearly see that, while still close, Windows 7 is actually the better choice of the two. In order to accurately approach the question from this perspective we need to define what pieces most significantly characterize “functionality”. While, there are numerous different facets that compose functionality, for this question we want to focus, only, on the most significant of these – which are – “Performance, Networking, Security, Mobility and Reliability.” Let’s look at how each one fares in the categories,
Of all the significant aspects a PC offers; speed is the most sought after capability of any PC setup. In the same way we live our lives; we don’t want to wait on anything, our PC must respond the same way. And when it comes to speed, Windows 7 takes the top spot. With Windows 7, it is literally seconds from when you press the power button to having your browser up and surfing the internet. XP can take up to, as much as, an entire minute or more to do this, depending on the level of temp files and malware infections you may have.
Another significant performance ability our PC’s have is file transfer speed. File transfer speed determines
how long you have to wait for those photos to upload to Facebook, the time it takes to attach a file in an email, or how long it takes to dump pictures from your camera onto your PC. Without question, Windows 7 is, again, is the clear winner over XP.
Here’s something else to ponder on; how many times have you opened a large spreadsheet, Word document or PowerPoint presentation, only to sit and watch the Office splash screen for about 40 seconds, or so? Remember, we are a people who need things 5 minutes ago. Fact is, XP actually struggles in this area, but not Windows 7, which yet again, accomplishes this task, with amazing speed. Suffice to say, when it comes to speed performance – Windows 7 is the clear choice for the person with the average to high end PC. Although, the people with the lower end PC, should probably hang on to XP – at least until April 14th, 2014. So after round 1 Windows 7 leads XP, by a score of 1-0. Let’s see if XP can rebound in round 2.
When it comes to networking, XP and 7 are virtually neck and neck. Of course, when it comes to sheer speed, Windows 7 is the clear winner. Still, XP is much more versatile than Windows 7, because XP was made for robust networking; whereas, Windows 7 prefers to use home groups, and templates. Now, in an enterprise environment, Windows 7’s infatuation with templates isn’t an issue; as Domain Controllers (DC’s) run the show. Yet, the home network is where the general population dwells, and XP can make setting up a home network much easier on someone than can Windows 7. However, that is merely a temporary snag, because once the network is setup; network performance is where the real significance is found. This is where Windows 7 resumes control. The truth is Windows 7 is robust enough, that it makes the slight advantage XP held in setting up the home network seem insignificant, because when that’s over a Windows 7 home network will run laps around XP’s. Based on that, I would have to give the edge to 7, strictly due to the performance factor. Although, you should definitely note that network speed will vary a great deal depending on what type of network hardware you use, so be aware there are other outstanding factors to account for as well. Nevertheless, as it pertains to this topic, it appears Windows 7 has jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over XP after just 2 rounds. Although, there are still 3 rounds to go, and if you have ever watched any of the Rocky movies you know there is still time for XP to gear up its drunken muffled sounding Adrienne chant. C’mon XP don’t go out like a punk!!!
There are a multitude of reasons to like XP, but quality security definitely isn’t one of them. While XP SP3 still receives regular security patches – at least until April 14th 2014 – it still doesn’t have the superior security improvements that come with Windows 7. Consequently, XP is nowhere near as safe to take online as is Windows 7…Well, I suppose, as safe as a Microsoft product can be online…anyway.… Now, before we go any further, I need to address that grumbling I keep hearing….Oh, don’t you play coy with me…yes, I know I can’t really hear any grumbling, because this is a blog and it’s just words – no voices…Ours is a relationship without vocal inflections…Nonetheless, I still have no doubt some of you who are reading this, has already shot out (or at least thought) the glaring counter argument that is so common with Windows 7. It goes a little something like, “XP is less irritating, because Windows 7 has that dag-blasted User Account Control (UAC) feature that constantly pesters the @#$%& outta you with that same ole broken record question, ‘Are you Sure You Want To Do That?’ Spare me!” So, let me address that by first saying, yes I agree the UAC IS VERY annoying, but the UAC; annoying as the UAC may be, it still makes it safer for you to be online by limiting what Malware can do to your account. UAC also sets strict boundaries on your web browser, preventing it from accessing the majority of your HDD or Registry. Finally, keep in mind that this isn’t Vista, where the UAC was more annoying than a bunch of Jehovah’s Witnesses beating down your door like some zombies in a George Romero movie. Nope, this is Windows 7, and the UAC is adjustable, so you can set it where you never even know it’s there all while still being safe from 3rd party meddling. More relevant to the topic at hand, however, is the fact that the UAC is a direct solution to XP’s biggest security hole that made it a cake walk to hack the admin account. There’s no question that Windows 7 is more secure than XP. Ummm…After 3 its Windows 7 3 and XP…nothing….but don’t get leave your seats yet, I have a sneaky suspicion XP is about to Hulk up a bit…just call it a hunch…
To clarify when I say mobility I am actually referring specifically the laptop. I don’t think there is any danger we’ll be discussing the qualities of a Windows Smartphone in the near future, any more than we’ll see the Zune make a comeback and become the new iPod…Just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page here…let’s move on…Mobility is where XP finally takes fights back. Typically, a laptop doesn’t have quite the processing power that big brother, the PC has; this is where you would benefit more from the lightweight functioning capability of XP. Of course, there are some who will argue Windows 7 is better for battery life; thus making it clear winner. While that is a feasible argument, I will have to disagree with that. There are FAR too many variables that go into the battery life equation to produce any solid evidence in favor of that. I see too many holes in that argument to pin it solely on the OS.
That being said, I am giving the “mobility award” to XP due to its light resource usage. XP is much more suited for extended periods of on the go usage from a device with a slightly lesser amount of muscle. Okay Folks, don’t change that channel just yet, it appears XP is beginning to fight itself out of the corner. XP finally gets on the board, making it 3-1 after 4. While, it appears it may be too late to win it all, it certainly isn’t too late to finish strong. Headed into the final round we have,
“Reliability”, when it comes to the OS is a very broad term. There are several factors at play here, but we can work up an adequate working definition, can’t we? Let’s define ‘Reliability’ as, “A well-built, solid OS whose durability is well known by developers and is widely accepted among the general population.” Based on that, I feel it is pretty clear that XP is, again, the victor and finishes up only training the mighty 7 by a score of 3-2; not too shabby for an OS that is a decade old….
After all is said and done, Windows 7 is stronger, faster….and yes….better, than XP; which isn’t a knock on XP. If anything this XP’s Hall of Fame Speech. I’ll say it one last time, a 10 year old Operating System, in this industry should have been in the garbage 7 years ago; instead of giving a pup OS all it wanted am totally convinced if XP were pampered the same 7 has been, XP edges out 7. Alas, a perfect world we live not….Therefore, XP will continue to age and will eventually retire from the support cycle. It’s actually a positive when you think about it, because Microsoft has finally given the long-standing XP user a valid system move to. Could’ve been worse, because we all know Microsoft could just as easily have dropped another doo fest on us….just something to think about.