Want a stable well built operating system that will keep you on the move no matter what you are working on and make managing and navigating between multiple programs a breeze? If you want all this and much more, then read on and see what Windows 7 has to offer any user. Whether this is your first time using a computer or you have been a computer fanatic for years, this operating system (OS) will not disappoint.

Those of you who are familiar with Windows Vista are not going to see a lot of graphical changes since Windows 7 is a cleaner, more stable version of what Vista should have been. It is designed to accommodate the everyday user or large corporate offices. This OS will make everyone happy with stunning visuals, helpful snaps, pins, snipping tools and much more. The amount of RAM needed to run Windows Vista at a reasonable rate didn’t sit well with most users. Windows 7 has the same requirements for top performance; most computers these days come with at least 2GB of RAM so this should not be an issue for anyone.

Microsoft has learned from their mistakes and has made perhaps their most stable operating system. Your computer is still going to crash and run into occasional problems now and then, but the overall stability is improved. If your system does crash, Windows 7 has the capability to analyze and figure out what caused your system failure to help prevent the same type of system failure from reoccurring.

If you have ever downloaded a file and forgot where you saved it, you know how frustrating it can be. With Windows Search you can find any folder or file, even if you don’t know or remember its original name. You can also search for help topics from the same search bar for a little extra help.

Standout Features

  • Live Taskbar Previews
  • Snap windows for quick comparisons
  • Pin your favorite files to the taskbar
  • Search for any file with Windows Search
  • Share anything and everything with HomeGroups
  • Open anything quick with Jump Lists
  • Calculator and Paint Upgrades
  • Touch Screen Support
  • Minimize all but one program with Aero Shake
  • And much more!
Home and Office Use
Compare
10/10
Windows 7
XP Professional
XP Professional x64
Vista
XP Home
XP Media Center
10
10
10
9.5
5
2.5

Microsoft has condensed the amount of versions available for Windows 7 into three easy to use operating systems. Windows 7 Home Premium will come with most computers. This version is designed to please the average user, with the ability to run most any program, access the internet and run any of the popular applications. Its parental controls are similar to Vista; however, with a few updates parents can now go even more in depth into what is accessible for each user on the computer and who is managing each. With activity reports, online contact management and much more you will never have to worry about what your children do when you’re away.

Some of the more advanced features such as Domain Join, BitLocker, Windows XP Mode and a few others are only accessible on Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate. These two versions of Windows 7 were created for anyone who wants to do a little more than the average user. Businesses and advanced computer users will find the extra security, advanced networking and even language options they need to keep moving in the Professional and Ultimate versions.

Windows 7 Ultimate is intended for large, global organizations and includes all the features in the Professional version. To increase compatibility, it can work with Windows XP to run any program Microsoft has to offer without the use of multiple operating systems. Like Vista Enterprise, Windows 7 comes with multiple language interfaces for access to any of the 35 languages; this allows users to switch between languages without additional add–ons.

Multimedia
Compare
10/10
Windows 7
XP Professional
XP Professional x64
Vista
XP Home
XP Media Center
10
2.5
2.5
9.5
5
10

HomeGroup is a new multimedia feature in Windows 7. With this simple tool, you will be able to connect with anyone on your network, share images, movies, music and any other media you desire. With new formats for playing movies and music such as H.264 video and AAC audio files, Windows Media Player 12 is now ready for most anything you can throw at it. With the new Jump List you can access your favorite multimedia files without ever even opening the program. Another fun HomeGroup add-on is the ability to have a TV tuner card installed in your system. Never miss your favorite shows again.

Security
Compare
10/10
Windows 7
XP Professional
XP Professional x64
Vista
XP Home
XP Media Center
10
8.8
8.8
9.4
6.3
7.5

Microsoft addressed the over extensive use of UAC (User Account Control) everyone ran into when trying to do pretty much anything on Vista. Everyone remembers the annoying pop up window every time you wanted to download something, install a new program or any other task. Microsoft had the correct idea for keeping your system safe and secure; they came about it in the wrong way. With Windows 7, you can manage how often these annoying popup windows appear or if they appear at all with the configuration slid bar that allows you to choose from among four levels of UAC protection. You will also be able to manage user accounts with much greater detail for children and others that may use the same computer.

Microsoft provides automatic updates so you can manage the security of your system and be on top of things every time you start your computer. An advanced feature for extra security is BitLocker Drive Encryption; this protects data in the event of a PC or laptop theft. Windows also updated BitLocker to include BitLocker-to-GO which allows users to encrypt data on a USB thumb drive or other portable device.

Networking
Compare
10/10
Windows 7
XP Professional
XP Professional x64
Vista
XP Home
XP Media Center
10
10
10
10
2.5
2.5

Windows 7 has made networking easy for everyone, not just the computer savvy users out there. Locating and accessing networks is no longer a huge process. With Windows 7‘s new ability to locate networks you will find them quick and be able to connect with no problems; however, if you do encounter a problem, follow the step-by-step wizard for locating and establishing a network.

Libraries are another new feature that allows the user to add the word Personal before each folder to distinguish between public and personal documents. You can then take these personal and public documents and add them into a single directory for a much cleaner looking and more manageable network.

HomeGroup is another feature that makes networking simple and fun. You can install and use printers with a few clicks and share any media file through a home network. We didn’t like that everyone using HomeGroup has to be running Windows 7 or they can’t access your information.

If you work for a company that allows you to work from home by remote access, you shouldn’t have any problems accessing Windows 7. You can remote in no matter what OS you are running; we tested the remote access running a XP and Vista version of Windows with no problem. You will not be able to use some of the ease of use features such as the Aero Shake and other Windows 7 only features. However, the overall performance when you remote in is very smooth, most programs have no problem running and there is very little delay.

Ease of Use
Compare
8.8/10
Windows 7
XP Professional
XP Professional x64
Vista
XP Home
XP Media Center
8.8
7.5
7.5
5
7.5
10

Windows 7 was made to be a user-friendly, easy to use operating system that anyone can figure out and use without any previous computer skills. One of the standout features that makes Windows 7 so easy to use would be the Snapping tool, a tool that allows you to drag any window to one side of the screen or the other to make it half the size of the screen. Those of you who like to do comparisons, write articles or do anything that requires multiple programs to be open at once, the snapping tool will be a life saver.

Another feature that makes Windows 7 so user-friendly is the ability to pin any program to your start menu or to the taskbar, this allows for quick access to your most used programs. Along with the ability to pin your favorite programs, we loved the Jump List feature, this feature allows you to right click any program on your taskbar and Jump Lists will take you right to the documents, pictures, songs, or websites you have used most recently or ones you use most often.

One thing that Microsoft brought back from Vista that simplifies the search process is the Windows Search feature. Find any file on your system, from music to a paper you finished writing for school, searching for it the same way you would search for anything on the web and Windows 7 will do the rest.

Technical Help/Support
Compare
9.5/10
Windows 7
XP Professional
XP Professional x64
Vista
XP Home
XP Media Center
9.5
10
10
7.5
8.8
5

Everyone has looked over Windows 7 with a fine tooth comb. No one wants to get the latest and greatest OS and find out it is a disappointment. From the first day of beta testing until its final release date questions and concerns have been pouring into Microsoft’s office. There is a response to any question you may have and if there isn’t, well there are plenty of ways to get a hold of someone and find the answers you seek. Along with phone numbers, email, online help, internal help and wizards you should have no problem getting the answers you seek.

Windows 7 Summary:
9.9/10

If you want an operating system that has been worked over until it runs like everyone thinks it should, than Windows 7 is the OS for you. With amazing features that makes work a breeze, integrated help for ease of use and a more stable and reliable OS, there isn’t a better choice than Windows 7. It is here and is turning heads around the world. However, if you are not convinced that Windows 7 is the operating system for you, make sure to check out our other Windows operating system reviews.

 

Windows 7 Home Premium

Top Ten Reviews no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in March 2014.